Wednesday, 10 August 2005

Millionaire's Shortbread

This is one homemade cookie that I was supposed to send to somewhere in the European continent as part of the EBBP#1 event. I baked it, sliced, packed and almost sent by post. Just so happened I forgot to include something in the box so I opened it again and saw that these delicate babies' topping and filling melted and smeared all over its plastic container. Not a very appetising sight. So I reluctantly removed it from my package. :sigh: Don't get me wrong this is a very nice cookie with your afternoon tea. I love it! If you use dark chocolate the more it will contrast with the sweetness of the dulce de leche and the relative blandness of the shortbread. Though if the temperature is too warm, it's best to put these in the fridge a few minutes before serving to avoid the choc and dulce from getting too runny. The only problem I can think of with chilling is that the 'bloom' of the chocolate might rise. These are light coloured spots on the chocolate which is actually the chocolate butter that separates when it's stored in a too warm place or if there is an extreme change in temperature. If yours has got this don't worry 'coz it's still edible and does not detract that much in the taste although it can feel grainy if there's too much.

As for the dulce de leche, you can substitute any caramel or toffee thick enough but spreadable. You can also make your own by cooking a whole can of condensed milk (not opened) in a simmering pot of water for about 2 hours. I don't know about you but I'm scared of trying (maybe if I'm desperate) for fear of explosions. I adapted this from Sue Lawrence's excellent Book of Baking - my favourite at the moment. Not sure why this is called "millionaire's". Maybe it makes you feel like a million bucks with the indulgent bites of the rich ingredients. ;)

Millionaire's Shortbread

450 g  [3 1/2 cups] plain flour - sifted
115 g  [2/3 cups] golden caster sugar (superfine sugar)
250 g  [1 cup] butter - softened

*For the filling and topping:
1 x 450 g  jar of dulce de leche
250 g  good quality milk or dark chocolate
  1. Butter a 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Preheat oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/350°F.
  2. Mix the flour and sugar in a bowl.
  3. Add in butter, kneading it in the flour mixture to form a dough. (This can be also done in a food processor.)
  4. Press the dough into the baking pan making sure to level it. Prick all over with fork.
  5. Bake in oven for 30 - 35 minutes or until pale golden brown.
  6. Remove pan from oven and cool for about 30 minutes.
  7. While it's cooling off, warm the dulce de leche either by: microwaving/steaming in the jar with the lid off *or* spoon into a saucepan and heat very gently.
  8. Once the pan (with shortbread) has cooled off, spread the warm dulce de leche evenly on top. Cool for about 30 minutes.
  9. Put a heatproof bowl on a saucepan of simmering water and let the chocolate melt in it.
  10. Spread it on top of the dulce de leche, gently spreading it to cover completely.
  11. Leave to cool completely before cutting into squares and removing from the pan.
*Note: You may substitute any thick caramel or toffee for the dulce de leche or make one yourself by cooking an unopened can of condensed milk in simmering water for about 2 hours.

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