In coffee shops across London I've seen this little slice of caramel, chocolate and shortbread wonderfulness (is that a word???). Anyway...I've always thought it looks spectacular so here's my version that's both gluten free and vegan so our whole family can enjoy it. It's not hard to make, it just takes a bit of time.
Free From: DF, EF, GF, SF, NF, PF, SF
I always liked the old Betty Crocker recipe for shortbread. Simple yet works every time. For the gluten free version I add Xanthan Gum to help it 'stick together'. You can use wheat flour if you are able and omit the Xanthan Gum. The first time I did this gluten free I didn't use Xanthan Gum and it was lovely but a bit crumbly. I think the Xanthan Gum really makes a difference.
3/4 cup non-dairy margarine - I use Pure Sunflower
1/4 cup caster sugar
2 cups Doves Farm Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
1tsp Xanthan Gum
Cream the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy using an electric mixer. Slowly add in the flour and Xantham Gum until you've a smooth dough. If the dough is a bit crumbly and not coming together then add another tablespoon of margarine to the mix.
Line with parchment paper, and grease a 9 x 9 tin.
Put the dough into the base of the tin using your fingers to smooth it out; cover with parchment paper and add baking beans. The baking beans means it won't buckle up during baking. Pop it in the oven to bake it blind for 20 minutes at 170°C or 350°F.
When it's done (it should be a light brown around the edges) take it out and put it to one side to cool (remove the baking beans).
There are lots of recipes for caramel around; some say that you can melt the sugars in a bowl sitting on top of a pan of boiling water. I've tried that. Spent ages...literally...ages wildly stirring sugar that never melted. I don't know if it's just me that can't make that work (not known for my patience...) but I've given up and found that adding a little bit of water makes all the difference. So my caramel recipe is a bit more...well...direct. Do not leave this alone; you should be by its side stirring constantly. Hot sugar really burns so do be careful and don't let any small people help out with this.
In a pan on the hob (lowish heat) put in the following:
1 1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons golden syrup
4 tablespoon non dairy margarine
Bring to the boil (this takes a while as the sugar has to melt) and let it bubble while you stir for 3 or 4 minutes. The sugar should start to desolve and the sauce thicken.
Take off the heat and let cool for a few minutes and then add in:
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup non-dairy cream with 3 tablespoons cornstarch whisked in
1/2 tsp salt
When you add these ingredients it will splutter and splash so DON'T LEAN OVER THE PAN PEERING AT THE CONTENTS OR YOU WILL GET BURNED! (Bitter voice of experience).
Stir in 1/3 cup shredded coconut.
Pour this mixture on top of the shortbread and pop it back in the oven for 15 minutes if you want a caramel slice that's a bit goey; 20 minutes if you want a bit of crunch. The mixture will be bubbling even in the middle when you take it out. Leave to cool for several hours or even over night.
6 ounzes dark chocolate
2 tablespoons non dairy margarine - I use Pure Sunflower
2 tablespoons non dairy cream - I use Oately
2 tablespoons golden syrup
Put these all in a small pan over a very low heat. Stir constantly until you have a nice thick, glossy sauce.
Pour over the caramel layer.
Chill for 3 to 4 hours
Lift out of the pan, and cut into small bars. I say small because this is very rich. Enjoy! It's truly fab.
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