The UK is still covered in snow, we had a few inches yesterday, and it's snowing again right now. I always find it funny that we get snow every year, and every year the press go crazy about the country coming to a stand still, mind up it kinda does, but we don't need a couple of documentaries made about it every year!
Anyway, today we have something a bit different from me, I love cooking, I'm not an amazing cook or anything, but I like throwing things together and seeing what sticks. For the last two years I've made something for my Dad for a christmas present to go with whatever else I get him, last year it was chocolate truffles flavored with liquers, this year it was caramel squares. This recipe is pretty easy to do so I thought I'd share it with you in case you fancied making it.
The original recipe came from Sainsbury's Magazine, but I've made a few changes, which make it easier, quicker and cheaper. The recipe makes 15-16 sqaures and will keep for up to a week in an airtight container, I keep mine in the fridge as as it keeps the caramel firmer. Each portion is around 450 cals, so this is a treat to make and share, or have a peice once a day as it's full of calories!
So first off, here's the ingredients list.
For the base
125g Margarine (make sure it's suitable for baking etc)
20g Cocoa Powder
250g Digestive Biscuits (crumbled like breadcrumbs)
25g Chocolate Spread
For the caramel
150g Light Brown Soft Sugar
1 x 397g Tin Condensed Milk
For the topping
100g Chocolate Spread
75g Chocolate (roughly chopped)
You'll need a suitable container to make it in, I use a foil tray that's 15 x 22cm, and is 3cm deep, and you'll need to line it with nonstick baking paper otherwise your caramel will stick and it'll be hard to get out.
Here's the directions for making lovely caramel squares.
1, Melt the 125g Margarine with the cocoa in a heavy-based pan, stirring until smooth. Stir in the chocolate spread so it melted and mixed in, remove from the heat and add the crumbled biscuit. Once it's all mixed together put the mixture into your lined container and press it down firmly to create the base. Once this is done set aside.
2, Clean the pan used for the base and then heat the 150g Margarine and sugar in it, which will melt and mix together. Keep stirring the sugar and margarine mix over a medium heat until it starts to thicken slightly, but take care not to over heat. Add the condensed milk and bring to the boil stirring constantly to avoid it buring and sticking to the pan, then turn down the heat and cook for 7-10 minutes stirring until it thickens and looks like caramel. Pour the caramel over the base, let it cool and then put in the fridge for 1 hour to chill.
3, In a microwavable container put the 75g chocolate and gently melt it in a microwave (or in bowl over hot water), then add the 100g of chocolate spread and mix together, warm the mixture until it's runny (this will take only seconds in a microwave) and pour over the chilled caramel so that it's covered completely. Put in the fridge to chill for a few hours until everything is set.
4, To cut it into portions warm a sharp knife and use this to melt through and cut the chocolate topping and then then base, if you use a cold knife the topping will crack. You're now ready to stuff your face with your own caramel squares. :-)
There are some variations you can try, I used white chocolate and white chocolate spread for the one I photographed, you can use oaty biscuits for the base and add things like instant coffee to the cocoa power for a Mocha flavored base, and to decorate the top you can add nuts or dried fruit straight after you pour the chocolate topping so it sticks to it, I've tried salted peanuts, which you'd think wouldn't work, but the salt is lovely with the caramel.
As it was christmas I topped my Dad's and my caramel squares with edible red and green glitter, I saw edible glitter on a TV show and hot footed it to my local cake shop that sells stuff like that and found this super cool holographic stuff, it's all kinds of awesome, and I want to use it on everything I eat from now on!
I hope you've enjoyed my little cookery corner, it's been fun to do a post about something different, and I hope you've enjoyed it too, let me know if you make your own caramel squares, I'd love to know how they turned out.
Cheerio for now,