Chocolate & Hazelnut Caramel Slice
Well, here I am on my wonderful work-free Friday. Work, that is, in the paid sense. The other unpaid kind is what’s eating away at my day today. That, and the incessant pull of social media just in case I’m missing something interesting. I often wonder how I get more done when I have less time at home but I already know the answer. So I’ll just call it pottering and look upon it as a form of relaxation.
I’ve been listening to a radio discussion on Retired Husband Syndrome (RHS) that made me laugh out loud. A study has found that many women with a retired husband at home suffered stress related symptoms such as insomnia, headaches and depression (and presumably extra work cleaning up after the husband’s “bright ideas” or projects?). As I was chortling away (in my defense, it was presented in a humorous tone), a certain thread of trepidation crept in, making me realize I too would find it difficult not to have my cherished “home alone” time. It’s a long way off but I am thankful then to have a large shed where he can mess around until his heart is content and I won’t be setting foot in or cleaning it. Whew!
One thing I did achieve today was making this slice. I’d been thinking of driving 20 minutes to experience a similar one at a local café but decided to stay put, brew a good coffee and make this using some leftover chocolate ganache and sweetened condensed milk I had in the fridge. I’m glad I did.
The recipe comes from the Little & Friday cookbook given to me as a Christmas present last year. Eight months later, I hadn’t baked one single thing from it so it was time to change that.
It’s a wonderfully gooey, fudgy, chocolate slice. I expected it to be similar to Millionaire’s Shortbread (my recipe here) but the chocolate base and caramel & hazelnut filling are both different and gorgeous and I love the hazelnuts. Not surprisingly it’s an “in demand” best-seller for Little & Friday.
Chocolate & Hazelnut Caramel Slice
175g butter, softened
2 cups icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla essence
½ cup good quality cocoa
1½ cups plain flour
½ tsp salt
2 x 395g tins sweetened condensed milk
200ml golden syrup
1 cup roasted hazelnuts*, chopped
¾ cup chocolate ganache
*To roast hazelnuts, heat oven to 180°C. Place hazelnuts on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes. Leave to cool. Rub hazelnuts briskly in a tea towel to remove the skin and chop into about quarters.
Preheat the oven to 150°C. Grease and line a 25cm square tin (leave an overlap of baking paper lining for easier removal from tin).
Place the butter, icing sugar and vanilla in a cake mixer and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until well combined. Sift the cocoa, flour and salt together and add to the mix, again until well combined.
Press the mix firmly and evenly into the base of the baking tin. Bake for 10-15 minutes in the centre of the oven.
While the base is cooking, prepare the filling by combining the condensed milk, golden syrup, butter and hazelnuts into a saucepan. Heat slowly over a low heat then pour over the cooked base.
Return the base and filling to the oven and cook for a further 15 minutes or until set. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
Once cool, spread a thin layer of hot chocolate ganache over the top. I removed the base and filling from the baking tin before I spread the ganache on top.
Once the ganache has set, use a sharp knife to cut into squares or slices. Dip the knife in hot water and wipe off with paper towel between each cut for easier slicing.
Ganache (makes 1 cup – use ¾ cup for above recipe)
200g good quality dark chocolate (I use Whittaker’s 72% Dark Ghana)
½ cup cream
Gently melt the chocolate and cream in a metal bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (the water should not touch the bowl). Stir until melted and smooth. Leave to cool and thicken.
Leftover ganache can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks (or eaten by the spoonful if you are so inclined!).