Rosemary and caramel – a match made in heaven

Today’s recipe is from the very cool Gizzi Erskine. I ripped it out of Now Magazine (issue unknown) but you can also find it in Gizzi’s book “Gizzi’s Kitchen Magic” (at least so Now Magazine says). The recipe has been on the very top of my “to do” – pile for a long time because its title sounds so promising: millionaire shortbread with rosemary-infused caramel. The fact that it includes caramel has always put me off a bit because the last time I tried a recipe with caramel I ended up with a very smoky kitchen and a heavily burnt saucepan.

For this recipe you need 225g flour, 75g sugar, 315g butter, 396g of sweetened condensed milk, 4 tablespoons of golden syrup, 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, 1 tablespoon of salt and 200g dark chocolate (minimum 70%).

I was a bit irritated by the 396g condensed milk. Why not 400g? This would probably make for some messy weighing. But actually it didn’t. Because when you buy tinned condensed milk one tin contains 397g. Why? Beats me. Do I care? No! And I guessed that one additional gram wouldn’t hurt (but then again that’s what I tell myself when I step on the scales….).

Another issue was the salt. The recipe calls for Maldon sea salt. To be frank, I don’t understand the whole fuss about the different types of salt. Salt simply tastes salty. In some dishes the texture of sea salt or flaky fleur de sel really makes a difference but sprinkled on top of caramel, I don’t really think it is a big deal. Also, I always get slightly miffed at recipes that tell me to buy a specific brand. So I used the salt that I had at hand at home. This happened to be Himalayan rock salt. Now why would I buy this expensive stuff if it just tastes like salt, you might ask. Most likely because I needed salt and some clever supermarket sales psychologist put it on a prominent shelf at eye level. And it looks pretty with its pinkish salmony colour.

To make the rosemary infused caramel millionaire shortbread, you have to preheat the oven to 160°, mix the flour, sugar and the butter to a sandy mixture and press it into a 23cm tin lined with greaseproof paper. Then prick it with a fork and bake it for 35 minutes. The first 5 minutes at 160° and the remaining 30 minutes at 150°. Then leave to cool in the tin.

Melt 115g butter and add condensed milk, syrup and rosemary sprigs. Slowly simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Important: don’t leave the scene (picture a smoky kitchen and blackened saucepan) but stir continuously until the sauce is thickened. Remove the rosemary and pour the sauce over the shortbread. Then sprinkle with the salt and leave to set.

You may notice that the caramel is a little speckly. The reason for this lies in the fact that I am a compulsive multitasker. That is to say I left the kitchen to do something else (utterly unimportant) and remembered just in time that I was supposed to STIR THE CARAMEL SAUCE CONTINUOUSLY. Before pouring it over the shortbread I sieved it. It doesn’t look very pretty but it tasted fine and not burnt at all. I am one lucky cow!

I melted the chocolate over a waterbath (microwaving would be easier if but we don’t have a microwave). After the chocolate has cooled down a little, spread it over the toffee mixture and put the tin in the fridge for at least an hour. Cut the shortbread in squares and they will end up looking like this. Tadaaaa.

It is a mystery to me, why they are called “millionaire shortbread” because they look rather plain and not millionairish (and that’s not all down to my speckly caramel!) but they taste lovely and I will definitely try the alternative version mentioned in the recipe replacing the rosemary with ginger.

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