I have been to Australia twice (thanks to my Aussie-hubby). And both times I couldn't get enough of this decadent little dessert. In the words of my mother-in-law who saw me baking this dessert tonight (over Skype)..."You do know the way to a man's heart!"
Australia is one cool country. If you haven't ever been, you really should go. Besides experiencing the fun Aussie culture, super-friendly people, and the beautiful beaches...the quaint, locally-owned bakeries are definitely worth exploring.
There are no chain-bakeries or restaurants down under (except for a few fast-foodies like McDonald's). Only local.
And, though I tasted many an Aussie dessert and pastry, the Caramel Slice always won. It's simple: shortbread-like crust, thick caramel filling, and dark chocolate topping.
This recipe comes from "The Essential Baking Cookbook." And it's pretty much perfect.
Aussie Caramel Slice
1 cup self-raising flour
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup sugar
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons Golden Syrup
5 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons butter (original recipe calls for 20 g or 3/4 oz. white veggie shortening)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 7x11" baking pan (I use a little smaller pan) with butter and then line with baking paper, leaving the paper hanging over on the two long sides.
- Sift the flour into a bowl, then mix in the coconut and sugar. Add the melted butter and stir through thoroughly. Press firmly into the baking pan and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly colored. (Because I use a smaller pan, it takes about 20-22 minutes to cook, as the base is a little thicker). Allow to cool.
- For the caramel filling, place all the ingredients into a small pot over low heat. Slowly bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly (so the caramel sauce doesn't caramelize on the bottom of the pot and leave you with brown burnt bits floating in the caramel). Gently boil and stir constantly for 4-5 minutes, or until lightly caramelized. Quickly pour over the cooled base, spreading evenly. Bake for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool.
- For the chocolate topping, place the dark chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl. Half fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and place the bowl with the chocolate over the pot, making sure the boiling water doesn't touch the bowl. Stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter have melted. Spread over the caramel. Refrigerate for 20 minutes, or until set. (Usually takes more than 20 minutes to set).
- Lift the slice from the pan onto a cutting board. Cut into pieces with a hot, dry knife.