1st November 2012
With the children home from school on half term I had already baked some banana & fudge cupcakes this morning (yet again I had over ripe bananas – I’m not going to purchase as many from now on) and was unsure whether or not to ice them. My son, having taken the dog out for a run for me came back to find them hot out of the oven and decided that they were fine just as they were – I think icing them would have made them a bit too sickly, as the fudge inside had just begun to melt and they were sweet enough already. So without any icing to do (and the fact I had just realised I had completely run out of icing sugar) I had a quick flick through the ‘Bible’ to see what I could bake next.
I did fancy some shortbread, but thought it was a bit too quick to make and wanted a bit of a challenge this morning so decided upon the Millionaires’ Shortbread. This would be a good one today as I had a couple of other things to do, so as the recipe is basically in three parts, I knew I would be able to get on and do these things in between assembling the various parts of the ‘cake’.
The first thing was the shortbread. I was surprised to see that you needed a Swiss roll tin for this, I honestly didn’t think it would make that much – but I’m sure my husband and son won’t complain as I know they both love them!
The oven was put on and the Swiss roll tin lightly greased.
Step One – Into a bowl went the plain flour, softened butter and caster sugar (3:2:1 ratio). I must admit the butter wasn’t that soft as I personally like the butter quite firm when you have to rub it into the flour and sugar. Once rubbed in and looking like breadcrumbs it was kneaded together until it formed a dough. I was pleased to see that no rolling out was required of the shortbread dough, it was a case of putting it into the tin and pressing it into the base. At first I didn’t think it would cover the bottomo of the tin, but it did and was actually quite thick. The final thing before putting it in the oven was to lightly prick it all over with a fork. This was put into the oven for 20 minutes after which time it was a very pale brown and firm to the touch. I left the shortbread in the tin to cool.
Step Two – Once the shortbread had cooled it was onto the caramel topping. I can vaguely remember cooking this at school many years ago, but must admit I don’t think I have ever made it again since. A saucepan was put onto the hob and into this went the butter, light muscovado sugar and two cans of condensed milk – this was going to produce a lot of caramel!
The mixture was gently warmed until the sugar had dissolved. Once the sugar had dissolved the heat was turned up and the mixture brought to a boil. It is at this stage that you have to stir the mixture continuously. Once boiling, the heat was reduced and the mixture simmered very gently – again stirring all the time (if you don’t stir the mixture it will catch on the bottom of the pan and burn). After about five minutes the mixture began to thicken, so at this point it was removed from the heat and poured over the shortbread. Mary doesn’t actually say anywhere in this recipe whether or not to remove the shortbread from the tin, but I assumed that it should be left in the tin, otherwise I could see the caramel running off the edges. The caramel was poured over the shortbread and it literally came to the top of the tin. This again had to be left to cool and set, so whilst it was cooling I went for a lovely walk in the sunshine (although it was cold) with the dog.
Step Three – Once back from walking the dog it was onto step 3 of the bake. For the top I decided to do a marbled chocolate top (Mary’s tip at the bottom of the page!), rather than just either plain or milk chocolate. I found my hidden stash of chocolate (I have to hide it from my son, otherwise when I come to need chocolate in a recipe, I find he’s been nibbling on it!) and broke 100g of milk chocolate into a bowl and 100g of white chocolate into another bowl. These were melted very carefully in the microwave!
To produce the marbled effect I spooned the chocolate out over the top of the caramel (which I was pleased to see had set), and spread the chocolate into alternate rows of white chocolate and milk chocolate. I then used the end of a skewer to quickly marble the edges together.
This was put into the dining room, out of the way, to set. Once set it was cut into pieces and I’m pleased to say came out of the tin with ease. I was slightly concerned it wouldn’t when I tried to take the first piece out, but it did. My slices weren’t very even – I did make 24 in total, some were squares, others were rectangles.
It tasted very, very sweet – probably a little bit too sweet for me. However, my husband and son both loved it. My daughter is the same as me, she found it too sickly and she also isn’t very keen on shortbread. My husband took some into work the next day and I’m pleased to say it went down very well with his workmates.
I would make it again, it did look lovely and if you’ve got a very sweet tooth it’s one that you will definitely enjoy!