This recipe looked absolutely lush in the photograph so I had to give it a go. Isn’t that the way it always goes? The photo looks great so right away it needs to be made because I delude myself that I can make it look JUST LIKE the photo. Sometimes I can pull it off, most of the time I can’t. This time, most definitely not.
Instead of three slick, slim layers of peanut base, caramel middle and milk chocolate topping, I ended up with a bloated, messy ugly well… mess.
It still tasted good.
A warning though, when making the caramel, it bubbled up a lot and ended up spluttering onto my arm and oh lord, hot caramel BURNS, oh lord it BURNS! And the sugar didn’t dissolve properly so it ended up with tought toffee bits in it.
Here’s the recipe anyway.
Allegra McEvedy’s Not Millionaire Shortbread
(from Green & Black’s ‘Ultimate’)
For the base:
- 2oog Fairtrade peanutes, lightly roasted
- 2 free-range medium eggs
- 100g Fairtrade golden granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- Splash of groundnut/sunflower oil
For the middle:
- 200g Fairtrade caster sugar
- 130ml double cream
- 0.5 teaspoon salt
For the top
- 200g Maya Gold or milk chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 180DegreesCelcius/gas mark 4. Blitz the peanuts to the texture of ground almonds using a food processor.
- Line a small roasting tin or baking tray about 20cm square and 5cm deep (or an equivalent-sized rectangular tin is fine too) with greaseproof paper that has been lightly oiled on both sides. Thoroughly mix together all the ingredients for the base in a bowl, then press evenly into the bottom of the prepared tray and cook for 30 minutes.
- Take out of the oven and immediately use a palette knife or fish slice to compress and compact the dough. Leave to cool completely.
- Have your sugar and double cream weighed out ready. Put a thick-bottomed pan on a medium heat and leave it to get hot.
- Slowly pour the caster sugar into the centre of the pan so that it forms a mound in the middle. The edges will start to liquify and caramelise. Gently jiggle the pan so that the liquid edges start to eat the grains of sugar. As the island of sugar starts wobbling about on its hidden lake of liquid caramel underneath, gently push the grains of dry sugar down until they are all devoured. If you see that a small patch of it is beginning to burn, stir it as quickly as you can so the heat is dissipated.
- Be very calm and gently, take your time and never leave it alone.
- You’ll know it’s ready when the sugar is all dissolved and a lovely reddish brown colour. Add the double cream and salt and stir like made for a minute. (This will make the caramel bubble up quite dramatically; don’t worry.) Pour on top of the base and leave to set, either at room temperature or in the fridge if you’re in a hurry or in the freezer if you’re in a mad panic.
- Once the caramel is pretty much solid, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water, stirring from time to time (or you can melt it in the microwave). Pour it onto the caramel and level the surface with a palette knife. Leave to set at room temperature – putting chocolate in the fridge is not a good idea.
- When the chocolate is set, just lift the whole thing out by tugging up on the paper and cut into squares using a hot knife.
– Before you start, make absolutely certain that the pan is clean and there aren’t any impurities in the sugar and water solution. Stray bits of food could ruin the caramel.
– A good way to clean your pan afterwards is to fill it with water and put back on the hob over a low heat to soak off the caramel.