Caramel Crumble Bars

from Emily (who loves food)

These bars are so quick and easy – chances are you will have all the ingredients in your pantry already, and they’re very impressive.

There’s a sweet little kitschy cafe up the road from my house, and the other day I saw this little number in their cabinet. I didn’t buy it at the time – I was only really after  a hot chocolate, but I mentally filed it as something I had to make. So here’s my version: quick, easy, caramely, crumbly and totally morish. Your really can’t go past a simple shortbread base (made a bit richer with brown sugar) and super-soft caramel. The fact that the caramel gets a go in the oven makes the whole thing a bit more robust, so it’s great for packing up and taking on the road.

The weather here is slowly creeping into summer – I’m alternating between jeans and shorts – but it’s still very much spring, and for every gloriously sunny day is a humid, stormy one. It means you can’t really plan ahead – these little beauties are destined for a picnic tomorrow, and another one on Wednesday (I’ll be making another slice to accompany them – look out for that tomorrow) but whether or not they’ll be outside picnics is another thing entirely.

But whether or not you’re taking these to the beach down here or having them with a cuppa as winter sets in on the other side of the world, give these babies a go.

 

 

 

Caramel Crumble Bars - Makes about 20 pieces

Prep time: 15mins  Cook time: 20-25mins

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 125g butter, melted
  • 400g (14 oz) tin sweetened condensed milk
  • 20g butter
  • 2 tbs golden syrup

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 18 x 28cm slice tray with non-stick baking paper.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar and baking powder. Pour the butter over the top, then mix it through until it’s evenly combined. The mixture should be loose and crumbly, but you just want to make sure there are no white streaks of flour.

Take a third of the mixture out and reserve it for the topping, take the remaining 2 thirds and press it into the bottom of the slice tray in an even layer. Don’t be scared of how crumbly it is – just press firmly and it’ll hold together. Bake in the oven for 10-13mins.

While the base is cooking, make the caramel filling. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the condensed milk, butter and golden syrup, stirring continuously. Bring it to a gentle boil and keep it there, stirring continuously for 4-5 minutes until caramelized slightly. It should be thick and ever-so-slightly golden.

Remove the base from the oven, but don’t turn the oven off, and pour the caramel filling in straight away. You need to work fairly quickly, because the caramel will start to set as soon as it’s removed from the heat. Smooth the caramel to create an even surface, and sprinkle the remaining 1/3 of the dry mixture over the top.

Return the whole thing to the oven for a further 10-13 mins, until the crumble topping is cooked through and slightly coloured.

Allow to cool, then cut into triangles.

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