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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Friday, March 18, 2005

SHF 6: Chocolate Caramel Slice



These are another very popular addition to Australian bakeries and cafeterias, and very rich and gooey they are too; a crispy, coconutty base, a gooey filling of caramel and a layer of chocolate to cover. I know Caramel Slice is popular in the UK as well, but they tend to use a shortbread biscuit base. In Australia the base we use is usually made with brown sugar and coconut, which makes it a bit more interesting, in my opinion.
I made these in response to an email I sent to A. asking for any favourite caramel recipes. I had immediately thought of an Engadiner Nusstorte (caramel and walnut tart) for this theme...the problem being that I made it for a Sugar High Friday a few months ago (for the nut theme)!! Darn! But, A wrote back and noted that he always loves a good caramel slice (and I can attest to that, having watched him eat an enormous gooey slab of one for breakfast a few weeks back...aiee!), It didn't take long to find a recipe, as I remember my cousin giving me one about 15 years ago; it had been pasted into my childhood recipe book, and despite a few splotches and age spots here and there, her perfect teenage printing was intact. I have no idea where she got it, but it was probably from am Australian Women's Weekly magazine.
I altered the recipe slightly to accomodate adult tastes, and a less-fatty style of cooking. The chocolate layer called for compound cooking chocolate and copha (a vegetable shortening made from coconut, used a lot in Australia). Bleeeachh - no compound chocolate or copha for me thank you - I'm going for deep, bitter, dark chocolate to offset the temple-aching sweetness of the caramel. Additionally, I had run out of Golden Syrup making my chocolate gingerbread a few weeks ago, and only had treacle, so I substituted that, with no problems; it probably just made the caramel even more intensely flavoured. Also, I was lucky to find a tin of skim condensed milk (it uses skim milk rather than full fat), which made the caramel filling far less unhealthy and fatty than it would usually be; combined with cutting down a on the butter called for in the base below, I think I created a lighter version of this rich recipe, which still tasted full fat!
I felt that the filling didn't make quite enough, and would possibly double it next time. What happened was that after baking the filling, a lot of it was absorbed into the base, and after adding the chocolate, it created something that was more 2 layered, rather than 3 layered.
I also made a few mini tart versions of this slice (pictured below) just for an experiment, and these were also extremely successful. I lined a fairy/patty cake tin with the filling, and proceeded the same way as for the slice. It made something that looked a little more elegant and suitable for bringing along to a dinner party (which is exactly what I did with them). I recommend it.
However, these were still receive with great enthusiasm and enjoyment; in fact I don't think I've had such a positive reaction to something I've made....ever. Goes to show really, the simple things can often be the best!
Read on for the recipe:

Chocolate Caramel Slice
Cooking time: 25-30 min and 15-20 min
Base
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
125g melted butter (this can be reduced a lot. Just make sure it's wet enough to line a base easily)
Filling
60g butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup (or treacle)
1 can condensed milk (400g)
Topping
125 grams dark chocolate

-Grease a slice tray 17x25 cm, light oven to 180C.
-Prepare base: Sift flour, add sugar and coconut. Melt butter and add to dry ingredients.
-Push into pan and even out, bake in oven until golden brown and set.
-Prepare filling: Melt butter and syrup, add condensed milk.
-Pour over base and cook 15-20 minutes. Cool slice.
-Prepare topping: Melt chocolate and pour over top of slice.
-Refrigerate until set, and cut into fingers.


14 Comments:

  • Yum, both look really, really good.

    By Anonymous Alice, at 3/19/2005 02:17:00 am  

  • Niki - Normally I'd take a vanilla slice over a caramel one in a heartbeat, but I love the way you managed to lighten the dessert! It sounds like it would be much more flavorful than usual with your recipe. And those tarts are adorable!

    By Blogger Nic, at 3/19/2005 04:41:00 am  

  • yummm!!! those look so good! my shf item had the same flavor combination.. caramel + coconut + chocolate. sooo good. :)

    By Blogger Emily, at 3/19/2005 05:03:00 pm  

  • Both look fab, Niki- great entry and excellent substitutions on the recipe!

    Moira

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/19/2005 09:13:00 pm  

  • Niki, these look really delicious -- and the tartlets are adorable. Seems as if a lot of us made slices for this go-round -- but I particularly love the sound of these coconut ones,and will have to give them a try.

    By Anonymous Julie, at 3/20/2005 12:20:00 am  

  • Oh my! These look so good! I am getting a sugar high just reading about your entries! I can hardly wait to sample them!

    By Blogger chronicler, at 3/20/2005 03:14:00 pm  

  • Thank you everyone! The substitutions were a good idea that worked well, but still made it taste rich and sugary. I wonder though, if using the skim condensed milk made a thinner caramel that soaked into the base a bit more. I probably recommend using full fat condensed milk next time!

    By Blogger Niki, at 3/21/2005 02:57:00 pm  

  • Niki - I made these recently for a brunch party and they went over like crazy. I think I actually ate about four before people arrived and was literally shaking from the sugar and chocolate combination. They are amazing with coffee though and oh so scrumptioius. I love the substitutions you made though and I might just use THIS recipe next go 'round!

    Thanks!

    By Blogger Jennifer, at 3/21/2005 11:59:00 pm  

  • The way to a man's heart is with chocolate and caramel! These look wonderful!

    By Blogger Carolyn, at 3/22/2005 06:48:00 am  

  • this is the best recipe ever!!! we cooke dsthis at sxchool the other week and love dit!!!! a tip for topping: drizzle with a little bit of honey jst before serving...its the best!!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/16/2006 02:19:00 pm  

  • I know its been a while, but do you think the treacle substitution is still the way to go? I am an Australian in the US and there is no where I can buy Golden Syrup!

    By Blogger Mark, at 7/25/2008 04:30:00 am  

  • Hi Mark,
    I think for the small amount needed (only 2 tablespoons) that it wouldn't matter if you used treacle because treacle is just darker, stronger golden syrup (conversely, golden syrup is "light treacle"). You could probably even use a strong honey if needed, or molasses or dark corn syrup.

    By Blogger Niki, at 7/27/2008 12:16:00 pm  

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