Saturday, November 6, 2010
I tweeted this recently:
Lugged 10 heavy cookbooks from the library back home. Gonna s-l-o-w-l-y relish every page of food porn! *rubs hands in glee*
Now that the school year is finally coming to a close (in my mind, it already has!), I can happily bury my nose in cookbooks for a good dose of much-needed inspiration.
I looked at my library haul and realised - without much surprise - that out of the 10 books, a whopping 6 were on cakes, 1 on eggs, 1 on tapas & 2 on cooking. Clearly, I was thinking with my sweet tooth. :)
Here's the first recipe I tried - a dessert, what a shocker - Millionaire's Shortbread. It's a lethal combination of sandy shortbread, creamy caramel and smooth chocolate. In other words, a glorified Twix bar. Really.
Rough around the edges. Uncut.
(from Small Cakes by Roger Pizey)
Makes 16 bars
For the shortbread base
- 200g (scant 1 cup) unsalted butter
- 100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp double (heavy) cream
- 225g (2 cups) plain all purpose flour
For the caramel
(I halved the measurements)
- 180g (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
- 75g (6 tsp) caster sugar
- 50ml (3 tbsp) golden (light corn) syrup (I omitted since I didn't have any, and the quantity is so little)
- 350ml (scant 1 1/2 cups) condensed milk
Note: I added a splash of heavy cream to dilute the caramel a little.
For the topping
(I halved the measurements)
- 250g (9oz) 60% cocoa dark (bittersweet) chocolate
Note: Please do use a good quality, bittersweet chocolate. I used Valrhona Equatoriale 55% and it made ALL the difference. Else, you might as well eat that Twix bar.
- 50g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
1. Preheat the oven to 170 C/340 F/Gas 3. For the base, cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, then add the egg yolk and double cream. Stir in the flour. Using your fingers and thumbs, work the mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Bring together and work a little on a floured surface. Wrap in a clingfilm (plastic wrap) and place in the fridge to rest.
2. To make the caramel, melt the butter in a pan, add the sugar, golden (light corn) syrup and condensed milk, and stir continuously on a low heat until it turns a caramel colour. Remove from the heat and leave the mixture in the pan. (It is worth testing a small amount to see if it will set in the fridge before removing completely from the heat). This mixture can catch very easily, so take care - if you notice small dots, change your pan, as this means the mixture is catching, which will spoil the flavour.
3. Roll the shortbread mixture to 1-cm (1/2-inch) thick and press it down into a 24-cm (9 1/2-inch*) square non-stick tin**. Bake on the middle shelf until light brown. Leave to cool. Pour over the warm caramel, lightly shaking the tin to ensure an even covering. Leave to cool, then put in the fridge to set.
* Smart-aleck me used a 6-inch tin, which resulted in the shortbread being extra high and cooking unevenly - you can see from my pics. Meh. Please use less shortbread dough if you plan on using a smaller pan.
** I would highly recommend lining the tin with overhanging sides, for ease of removal from the tin.
4. For the topping, melt the chocolate and butter in a mixing bowl over a bain-marie (water bath). Pour over the chilled caramel and shortbread. Place in the fridge until set, then slice into bars.
You have to admit, these Millionaire Bars do make quite a statement. :) Their humble Twix cousins will surely protest! Proof that presentation makes a huge difference, doesn't it?
All I did was dress them up with a few sheets of sultry red foil (recycled from my heart-shaped chocs here) and let them shine. If you really want to gild the lily, you can add some edible gold flakes on top. But I figured less is more when you're dealing with a good-looker. ;)
Now, let the holidays begin! *BEAM*