GROWN UP CARAMEL SQUARES

I was never going to be allowed a McDonald’s birthday party. That much was clear. I could have pretty much everything else I wanted. And what I wanted – every year – was for my mum to make caramel squares, and for my dad to play Joe Dolce’s Shaddap You Face.

These ones have roasted hazelnuts and a bit of salt in, because I’ve had a lot of birthdays now. They taste good, but not as good as my mum’s did as I sat with my friends on an old sheet, pleased as punch with my menu, destined to win big at pass the parcel.

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MAKES:
12

TIN:
20cm x 20cm square, greased and lined

OVEN:
Pre-heated at 150°C

HAZELNUT SHORTBREAD [BOTTOM]:
85g salted butter, cut into cubes
30g caster sugar
115g flour
100g hazelnuts
3 big pinches of salt flakes

CARAMEL [MIDDLE]:
65g salted butter
65g caster sugar
130g condensed milk
1tbsp golden syrup

CHOCOLATE [TOP]:
130g dark chocolate
50g white chocolate buttons

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ROAST YOUR HAZELNUTS FIRST:
1. Put them in a bowl with the scantest drip of olive oil, and rub em around a bit.
2. Pop them in a baking tray and into the oven for 12 minutes. They’re going back in, so don’t over-roast.
3. Once they’re cool, rub off the skins between your fingers.
4. Chop very roughly and sprinkle with the salt.

BAKE THE BASE:
5. Rub the butter, sugar and flour together, as though you’re making a crumble.
6. It’ll come into a stiff, crumbly dough.
7. Press it firmly into the bottom of the lined tin.
8. Pour on the hazelnuts and press them in.
9. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden.

MAKE THE CARAMEL:
10. Melt the sugar and butter together, until thick and bubbling.
11. Add the condensed milk and golden syrup and bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
12. DO NOT STOP STIRRING. NEVER STOP STIRRING.
13. Reduce the heat and stir for 10 more minutes, or until the caramel is thick and golden.
14. Pour over the shortbread, shake the tin a little, and set in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.

MELT THE CHOCOLATE:
15. Break the dark chocolate up into a heatproof bowl over a shallow pan of water and melt slowly on the hob.
16. Pour the chocolate straight on to the toffee, jiggling the tin so that the chocolate lands evenly.
17. Set at room temperature for a couple of hours.
18. Melt the white chocolate the same way.
19. Drizzle it off the spoon as chaotically as you can.
20. Cut into squares using a knife that’s been warmed under the tap.

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These pics are Vic’s.

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