Salted Caramel Millionaires’ Shortbread (with rosemary and cashew nuts)

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The title of this recipe is a bit of a mouthful but it is possibly one of the best and most indulgent things I’ve ever made.

I was given the idea of adding rosemary into the caramel layer of millionaires’ shortbread a few years ago by an Australian colleague who described it a bit like a ‘sweet roast dinner’ in a mouthful.

Just the rosemary and salt alone make a delicious bite but in this recipe I’ve opted for ultimate decadence and have thrown in salted cashew nuts after being sent some to experiment with from liberation nuts.

I’m not going to lie, the recipe is a massive faff to make and there’s lots of different layers and waiting around, but it IS worth it (trust me) as these sweet, sticky caramel bars with a crunch of nuts and sharp cut of rosemary topped off with smooth dark chocolate are a thing of pure joy.

So stick with it – only do it when you’ve got a lot of time free (and patience) – and you will be rewarded.

This batch makes 12 mini bites, perfect for present giving (or popping straight into your mouth).

Ingredients:

Shortbread:

110g plain flour

50g caster sugar

50g unsalted butter (cold from the fridge)

Caramel:

1 can 379g condensed milk

50g caster sugar

100g salted nuts, roughly chopped (I used cashews and peanuts)

2 sprigs of rosemary

Topping:

300g dark chocolate (get the best you can)

Sprinkling of rock salt

1 sprig of rosemary

How to make…

First start with the shortbread.

Line a small roasting tray or ovenproof dish with baking paper.  Preheat the oven to 170C/190 fan/gas 3.

Mix together the flour and sugars.

Cut the butter into squares as soon as you take it out of the fridge (you don’t want it to get too warm). Rub the butter into the flour mixture with your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs. If it gets too sticky and warm just pop it back in the fridge for a bit.

You now need to press the mixture into your baking tray. This is not a clean process and it will crumble but persevere and make sure you’ve got an even layer of shortbread over the base of the tray. With a fork make a few holes into the shortbread and then pop the tray in the oven for 20 minutes until it’s just started to brown a little.

Now get on with the caramel.

On the hob heat up the condensed milk and sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Throw in the rosemary sprigs and then simmer for five minutes until the mixture has thickened and darkened slightly.

During this process it’s important you stir continually – trust me if you leave it for a second it will burn and you’ll get a load of weird brown looking burnt bits floating in your glorious caramel. If this does happen all is not lost – just pour everything into a new pan (leaving the layer of burnt caramel in the first pan) and pick out any brown bits.

Set aside to cool slightly.

Take the shortbread out of the oven and set aside. Leave for about five minutes to cool and then pour on the caramel and remove the rosemary sprigs. Throw on your salted nuts evening and then put the whole thing somewhere cool to harden (this takes a few hours).

When, and only when, the caramel has hardened, melt the chocolate. You can do this in a microwave (keep a close eye on it if so) or in a heatproof bowl, set on top of a pan of simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water).

When it’s melted pour it over the caramel and again pop it somewhere cool and then into the fridge for a few hours until it’s hardened.

Now, you’re almost there so once the chocolate has hardened it’s time to cut the shortbread into squares. This is not an easy job so take it out of the fridge and let it warm up slightly before attempting to cut. Also have a pot of hot water near by and dip your sharp knife into this before cutting to prevent the whole thing breaking up into an unruly mess.

I put my squares into fairy cake cases before sprinkling with rosemary and a handful of rock salt but this depends on how soon you want to eat them.

And now you’re done, sit back and enjoy the caramel, chocolate, nutty goodness.IMG_0987

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