Friday, 24 February 2012

Gluten Free Salted Caramel Millionaires Shortbread

I am currently in the process of moving and after spending three and a half years of loving life in Liverpool I am off to the other side of the Irish Sea and shall be settling down in the land of Northern Ireland (for the next couple of years at least). Having a real hatred of packing I have been dreading every moment of the move so have been distracting myself in the kitchen whenever possible (using up a variety of left overs and ingredients that have been lurking at the back of my cupboards for years). But I have justified the amount of time I have been spending in the kitchen as opposed to packing by making baked goods to present as goodbye/thank you gifts to the many friends I will be leaving when I move.

When making the ultimate farewell treat for my colleagues there was only ever going to be one option of what to make, a massive personal favourite of mine… Millionaires Shortbread! What is there not to like about caramel teamed up with chocolate and biscuit…it’s like a Twix but...well better!

So to fit with the blog I updated my mum’s traditional shortbread recipe to make a gluten free variety. I then went all out and rather than using a tin of condensed milk to make my caramel I started from scratch following a recipe from Heson’s latest book Heston Blumenthal At Home to make my very own salted caramel.

I don’t think I have ever experienced greater satisfaction in the kitchen than when I turned sugar, butter, milk, liquid glucose and cream (oh and salt) into the silky, smooth and ever so slightly salty wonder that is caramel. At the end of the process my arms may have been aching from the persistent whisking of the mixture (it felt like I was stirring for at least 30 minutes if not longer), I may have been quite a lot more dishevelled than when I set foot in the kitchen, my sugar thermometer may have become permanently encased in solidified sugar and my eyebrows may have been a little singed by the steam released from the 153 deg C sugar mixture as I added the warmed cream to create a bubbling lava pit of sweetness before the steam subsided and a saucepan of velvety goodness was revealed! (I think I am starting to sound a little bit too excited about this caramel making process), but trust me the effort is worth it! However, as Heston’s salted caramel recipe is not published on-line and is currently only available in his book (and I copied his recipe to the letter making no personal adjustments) I don’t feel I can divulge the recipe on my blog….but go buy the book it is beautiful, and despite being Heston I really feel that most of the recipes are achievable in an average kitchen (with an average kinda cook!!)

But my gluten free shortbread recipe is below, so make this and then top with caramel (there are 100s of simpler recipes available on-line), followed by chocolate…and voila, Millionaires Shortbread.

P.S. as I am in the middle of a move, and am in the midst of negotiations with broadband providers to get my new house hooked up to the internet I may be quiet on the blog front for the next couple of weeks…but no need to panic I will be back!


340g butter or margarine
2/3 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup icing sugar
200g rice flour
400g wheat free/gluten free flour blend

Makes approximatley 30 biscuits depending on size

Pre-heat oven to 180 deg C / 350 deg F

Allow the butter/margerine to soften slightly at room temperature. Then cream together in a large bowl with the caster sugar, using a wooden spoon to blend the ingredients together, until light and fluffy.

Sift in both flours and the icing sugar and continue stirring until well combined. As the ingredients come together you may find it easier to ditch the spoon and use your hands to bring the mixture together into quite a stiff dough.

Line a large, shallow baking tray with greaseproof paper. Take small handfuls of the mixture and press into the baking tray until the tray is full and evenly filled with the  mixture. I found this easier than rolling out the mixture as the use of gluten free flour rather than normal plain flour makes this mixture quite crumbly and difficult to roll out easily.

Use a knife to score the top of the shortbread into regular rectangles (this makes it easier to divide up the mixture into separate portions once baked).

Bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, after 20 minutes check to see if the shortbread is golden brown in colour, bake for a further 5 minutes if a little more colour needed on the biscuits.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Then turn the mixture out onto a flat surface of chopping board, and whilst still warm use a sharp knife to divide the shortbread into individual portions (using the score lines as a guide), transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool before eating.

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