This glorious slice is one of my favourites and though tooth-achingly sweet seems to please just about everyone. And today I am confident that I have made my best ever, to toot my own horn a little. Mind you, this recipe is pretty straightforward - the only major variable is how long you cook the caramel for, and basically the longer you faithfully stir it the better it will be. Today I must have been more patient than usual!
When I started making it Mr Cake had just gone to the supermarket. He usually asks me about 50 times if I need anything before he leaves, which is annoying but valid as I invariably remember what I need about 10 minutes after he arrives home. Today I was on the ball, though - I realised I didn't quite have 2 cups of coconut shortly after he left(!). Even counting the stuff leftover from the lamingtons I made in May. So I called him - and it went straight to voicemail. Apparently today's special at New World was zero reception (Mr Cake also tried to call me - he figured I'd need something!). Fortunately I realised the coconut threads I had (which I generally use for topping things, since they're more expensive) would actually make it more delicious, and I had just enough (combined with the lamington stuff - definitely worth keeping for this sort of thing, a few drops of lamington-coating won't harm this at all).
As I mentioned above, the patience-requiring step is cooking the caramel - you have to stir continuously, as otherwise it will burn on the bottom, and I think I probably spent about half an hour doing this, but oh, was it ever worth it! You start off with a reasonably thin mixture - golden syrup, butter and sweetened condensed milk - and by the end it's thick (though still liquid) and caramelly delicious. If in doubt as to whether it's ready, take a teaspoonful, let it cool for a few minutes (very important if you value the skin on the inside of your mouth!) and taste it. The caramel flavour should come through loud and clear - and if it's not there yet cook a bit more. It will thicken up and get nice and sticky and more caramelly in the oven but unfortunately you have to put in a bit of effort first. ;-)
The baking step will deepen the colour a lot and make little bubbles all over it - never fear if you are a presentation person, for a generous layer of chocolate will smooth out the surface, and it tastes better this way.
Speaking of generous amounts of chocolate, I just have to point this out because from my scientific survey with a sample size of two I have deduced something exciting; Whittaker's 250g blocks of chocolate are actually 260g. I know I kinda mentioned this the other day with my chocolate crackle cookies, but look, today I weighed it:
So kudos to Whittaker's - forget less is more, I reckon more is more, and extra chocolate will always be welcome in my kitchen! This is the 50% block, by the way, and though you can use any chocolate you happen to like I think 50% is pretty perfect for this slice; provides a bit of the dark flavour without overwhelming the caramel.
I melted the chocolate in the microwave - make sure if you do it this way you check and stir often. I stirred after 1 minute, gave it about another 20-30 seconds (watching), at which point it was as shown on the left above; once the chocolate is this melted it won't need any more heat, as stirring will melt the remainder. Butter is added to keep the chocolate soft once it's set (makes the slice easier to eat). Oh yes, and it is best to allow the caramel to cool before putting the chocolate on.
I have eaten so much of this already I'm sure I will have great difficulty getting to sleep, but looking at these photos is making me want more. Words cannot tell how good this slice is! I've had this recipe for years, and have a sneaking suspicion that the original may have been from a Nestle ad or the side of a sweetened condensed milk tin. I have doubled the caramel filling, as the first time I made it it seemed very scant, and certainly no-one has ever complained that it has too much caramel this way so I presume others like it this way too!
My only warning is to cut it into small slices - and don't leave it out on the bench or you won't be able to leave it alone. I made a double mixture of the recipe below - enough to share around - which filled two brownie tins perfectly.
1 cup self-raising flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup dessicated coconut
125g butter, melted
2 x 395g can sweetened condensed milk
4 Tbsp golden syrup
150g dark chocolate
1 Tbsp butter
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Grease an 18 x 28cm baking pan. Combine flour, sugar, coconut and butter and mix well. Press firmly into pan, bake for 10 minutes, until golden, then set aside.
In the meantime, combine sweetened condensed milk, golden syrup and 60g butter in a saucepan. Stir over medium heat until boiling, reduce heat, stir constantly for 5 minutes (or until at desired caramelly-ness!). Spread over base and bake for 10 minutes, then cool.
Combine melted chocolate with 1 Tbsp butter, then spread on top of slice. Refrigerate until set. Cut into squares to serve.