Judging by the stats from last week, you have absolutely no desire to join me on my sugar-free venture. Those fried apple pancakes with butterscotch sauce were by far the most popular recipe.
Okay, I hear you, I hear you. You want sugar.
I was saving this recipe for Easter. I thought it would be a good way to
overdose celebrate my ability to eat the sweet stuff again. However, you have persuaded me to post it earlier.
Also, I have realised that I have made a bit of a boo-boo. You see, this sugar-free lark is all very well and good, but if I am going to post Easter related items (read: sugar laden and chocolate based), well, I have to make them before Easter. Because they have to be tested and tasted, don’t they? I mean, there are some recipes that are already tried and tested that I could post. So I could make them and photograph them and share them. But then what? They still need eaten.
Gah! I feel as if I have failed before I have even begun. Maybe this is just going to have to be a reduced sugar stint instead. I’ll go sugar-free for as long as I can. Either that or I will have to force feed people the things I make.
Stupid Kirsten. Didn’t think this all the way through before I started, did I?
If only I could send out samples to all of you. That would help. Does anyone live locally to me? You can become official taste-testers!!
Anyway . . .
I made this millionaire’s shortbread towards the end of February, for my Dad’s birthday. He is not really a cake person, so I thought this would be a good alternative. And I added macadamia nuts to the base, just to make it a little different and they add a lovely buttery quality. Although you can leave them out if you want.
The caramel is really chewy and will give your jaw a good workout. Always a good thing when it come to caramel. But it is not so chewy that you worry about it removing any dental work you have had done.
This is just a suggestion, but use the darkest chocolate you can bear for the top (I used 74% cocoa, although I will quite happily munch on 90%), it will make all the difference and offsets the sweetness of the shortbread and caramel layers perfectly. A little almond oil added to the melted chocolate will make it easier to cut when it is cold and prevents the annoying ‘snapping’. If you have ever made something like this before, you will know what I mean. You take the largest, sharpest knife you can find, score lines in the chocolate, visions of perfect neat squares in you mind. And then crack snap. The chocolate splinters and starts to resemble crazy paving and there is caramel oozing all over the place and your visions of perfection are, quite literally, shattered. Save yourself the heartache and add the oil. If you don’t have any almond oil to hand, then by all means substitute it with another flavourless oil, such as a very mild olive oil or groundnut.
Macadamia Millionaire's Shortbread
- 100g macadamia nuts
- 200g butter, chilled and cubed
- 90g icing (confectioner’s) sugar
- 115g cornflour
- 50g sweet (glutinous) rice flour
- 40g rice flour
- 60g ground almonds
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 Celsius / 160 fan / 350 Fahrenheit. Grease and line a 12″ x 9″ / 30 x 24 cm baking tin with non-stick baking paper.
- Place the macadamia nuts in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until roughly chopped and then set aside.
- Put the remaining ingredients into a food processor and whizz until it forms a soft, pliable dough. Add the chopped macadamia nuts and blitz again until roughly distributed through the dough.
- Tip the dough into the prepared baking tin, and, using your fingers, press the dough out until it covers the bottom in an even layer.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown all over and firm to the touch. Leave to cool while you make the caramel layer.
- 180ml double (heavy) cream
- 200g caster sugar
- 75ml liquid glucose (or light corn syrup)
- 45ml golden syrup (or light corn syrup)
- 27g butter, chilled and cubed
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2g Maldon salt flakes
- In a heavy based saucepan, over a medium low heat, combine the cream, sugar, liquid glucose and golden syrup (or light corn syrup, if using). Heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has melted. Raise the heat to medium and stir until the mixture begins to boil.
- Stop stirring, and using a sugar thermometer, cook until the temperature reaches 125 Celsius / 257 Fahrenheit.
- Immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter. Add the vanilla and salt and stir again until the butter has melted and the vanilla and salt is evenly distributed.
- Pour the caramel over the shortbread layer, tilting the tin carefully to make sure it covers it to the edges, and leave to cool completely.
- 200g dark chocolate (ideally minimum 74% cocoa solids)
- 1 tbsp almond oil
- Using a double boiler or a bowl placed over a pan of simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water) melt the chocolate and the almond oil together.
- Pour over the cooled and set caramel layer, spreading it to the edges.
- Leave to cool and set
- Cut into 24 squares and store in an air-tight container.