This Caramel Slice is easy, the caramel is made from scratch and sets perfectly – no thermometer required! It won’t ooze out when you slice it and the chocolate won’t crack. These are all the grievances I had with other recipes I tried!
Reader Rachel says “Wow! This was really fantastic. I’ve been hunting for a caramel slice that cuts well, doesn’t ooze it crack and had enough filling. This is perfect! So tasty, I love how crunchy the base gets and my mum adores it! I only made it last night, but I don’t think it will last long!”
It’s practically un-Australian for a bakery to NOT sell Caramel Slice. With a simple biscuit base, soft caramel filling and a chocolate topping, it’s one of those treats that’s craved by kids and grown ups.
I’ve only ever known it as a Caramel Slice, but I was quite interested to learn that overseas, it’s also known as Millionaire’s Shortbread (appropriate!), Caramel Shortbread, Chocolate Caramel Bars.
Doesn’t really matter what you call these. Just the sight of them surely brings a smile to anyone’s face, and that, my friends, is a universal language. (“That” being a Food Smile)
Nailing a Caramel Slice recipe is something that’s been driving me bonkers for years. Specifically, the caramel filling – ensuring it sets, without using a thermometer. Soft set, not hard like toffee or chewy like caramels. But firm enough so it doesn’t coming oozing out when you cut it the slice and it holds it’s shape at room temperature.
I find that using a straightforward condensed milk recipe works great for these Salted Caramel Stuffed Brownies. Caramel in a brownie isn’t as difficult because brownies are soft, which means they are easier to cut into without the caramel oozing out everywhere.
But a Caramel Slice is harder because it’s topped with chocolate. Which means unless the caramel sets perfectly, it will ooze out everywhere when you try to cut the slice, leaving me with a [delicious] mess that has to be eaten with a spoon.
I have tried many recipes over the years, including from some well known chefs, and classic “best ever” recipes, yet I’ve never found The One. So I scrapped all the research I’d done and decided to start with a blank piece of paper.
And the first thought that popped into my head was this: Shouldn’t a caramel filling be made with at least some caramel? Not just condensed milk and golden syrup, which is what every recipe I have seen recipes says??
So that’s how this recipe came to be. After countless fails over the years, it took just one go to “get the recipe”. It’s so simple: butter + brown sugar + condensed milk whisked over low heat for 5 minutes, then baked for a further 12 minutes = perfect soft set caramel.👻👻👻
Once it’s baked, it comes out with golden splotches and doesn’t look very pretty, but that doesn’t matter because it gets covered with [plenty of] chocolate.
Is it just me who thinks that a melted chocolate pour-shot is one of the most beautiful things in the world? 😉
I’ve tested this recipe 3 times since I created it (literally just earlier this week!). And I’m pleased to report that the Art Director of Super Food Ideas magazine asked for the recipe in advance (after receiving a sample!) so she could make these for a school bake sale, and she gives it a thumbs up! So there’s already 3rd party validation for this recipe – yee ha!!! (Update: I was getting reports during the bake sale that many people were commenting “this is the BEST slice ever!” )
Added bonus: these Caramel Slices cut as beautifully as you see in the photo, with a neat line between each layer. All you need to do is warm the knife under tap water, wipe it dry, then cut.
Added extra bonus: This is easy to make. I really promise you that. Long-term readers will know that I haven’t shared much baking recipes in the past, and that’s because I’m more of a savoury than sweet gal. Baking isn’t my thing, I’m not into fiddly or fancy decorations, or impressive restaurant desserts with a gazillion different components, like what you see in Masterchef Challenges.
My sweet treats are always pretty easy. That’s just how I roll.
Happy weekend! I think it’s a good one for….erm…baking?? 😉 – Nagi x
- 1 cup plain flour (125g)
- ½ cup brown sugar (not tightly packed) (75g)
- ½ cup desiccated coconut (US: sweetened coconut flakes) (Note 1a)
- 4.5oz / 125g unsalted butter, melted
- 4.5oz / 125g unsalted butter, roughly chopped
- ½ cup brown sugar (75g)
- 1 x 14oz/395g can sweetened condensed milk (Note 1b)
- 7oz/200g dark or milk melting chocolate (America: use semi-sweet chocolate chips)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- Preheat oven to 160C/320F (fan forced) / 180C/350F (conventional)
- Spray with oil or butter and line a 28x 18cm (lamington pan) / 7" x 11" rectangle pan with parchment paper (Note 2). Have overhang for ease of removal.
- Mix together Base ingredients and press into a pan (I use an egg flip)
- Bake for 15 minutes until the surface is golden. Optional: Cool in the fridge (Note 2a)
- Place butter and sugar in pan over low heat. When the butter is melted, whisk to combine with sugar. As soon as the caramel starts to bubble, add condensed milk. Stir constantly for 5 minutes (Note 3), it will start to bubble gently after 3 to 4 minutes after which it will thicken quickly. It should be thick and pale golden by the end of 5 minutes.
- Pour onto Base. Bake for 12 minutes at 160C/320F (fan forced) / 180C/350F (conventional). The top should be spotty with dark golden bubbles but the caramel should jiggle when you shake the pan. Refrigerate until the caramel is set.
- Melt chocolate in microwave in 30 second bursts in high, stirring in between. When the chocolate is smooth and fully melted, stir through oil.
- Pour over caramel then refrigerate until set. See Note 4 for smooth vs textured top.
- Cut into bars or squares to serve. (Note 5)
1b. Ensure you use sweetened condensed milk (thick sweet milk) that comes in cans, NOT evaporated milk.
2. You could also use a 9 x 9" / 23 x 23" square pan or a 9-10"/23-25cm round cake pan.
2a. If you cool the base, this creates a neater line between caramel and base and you'll also get a slightly thicker caramel layer because virtually no caramel sinks into the biscuit base. Whereas if you pour hot caramel onto a hot base, a little bit of caramel sinks in. Both are just as tasty, but cooling the base will make them look neater.
3. If you don't stir constantly, little brown specks will appear, being caramel caught on the bottom of the saucepan. It's not a major problem if you have some brown specks, it seems to disappear when baked.
4. To make a smooth top, refrigerate the caramel until set but not fridge-cold. The bottom of the pan will be slightly warm still and the caramel will be cool but not cold - about 30 - 40 min in the fridge. That way the chocolate doesn't set too quickly when you pour it on. Pour the chocolate on then shake the pan gently to spread it evenly and smoothly.
To make a textured top as per the photos, refrigerate the caramel until fridge-cold - 1 hr+ in the fridge. When the chocolate is poured on, it will firm up faster. As it starts to thicken, use a spatula or knife back and forth across the surface.
5. To slice neatly, remove from the fridge 5 minutes before cutting. Run knife under warm (not hot) water, wipe dry then cut quickly. For very neat slices, clean knife between each cut - I did this for the photos. Don't make the knife too hot otherwise the chocolate melts when you cut it and smears into the caramel.
6. COCONUT FREE BASE: A few readers have asked if it is possible to make the base without coconut. This recipe won't work without coconut but the shortbread base in my Lemon Bars recipe is a perfect substitute. Please DOUBLE the recipe.
No nutrition. Just accept – it’s not nutritious!
And here’s your daily Dozer dose. On a scale of 1 to 10, how ridiculous do you think he looks in his bath robe??? 😉