Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The Cake Bandit.

Whenever I'm homesick for feeling listless I bake, this process usually involves something sweet from my childhood or scones. If its scones they're all we'll eat for about two days and then we're back to lovely things like vegetables and other non scone items. We emerge from a crab haze no worse the wear for it.

But if I'm in a sweet making mood then the Cake Bandit comes out to play, otherwise we wouldn't actually be able to, you know, fit through the door to leave the house. So after we've had our fill with a cuppa, the offending sweets get wrapped up and deposited in the arms of friends and workmates. I am the cake bandit.

Today I donned the cake bandit cape. I made Millionaire's Shortbread, which to the rest of the world is Caramel slice. It takes me back to primary school, the dinner ladies used to offer it as a pudding option.

It take a bit of time, so pick a day when you've got time to float about and procrastinate, or cheat. More on the cheating later. The Recipe consists of three parts, the chocolate top, the dulce de leche middle and the shortbread base.And its all easier than you think.

Millionaire's Shortbread

300g chocolate (or if you're afraid of tempering chocolate, a bar of cake topping does fairly well)
50g caster sugar
100g plain flour
100g ground rice (but 200g of flour will still result in a perfectly serviceable short bread if you've no ground rice)
100g butter and a little extra
A pinch of salt
A dust of cocoa powder
A small (379g) can of condensed milk

Peirce the lid of the condensed milk, put the tin in a pot or slow cooker, fill with hot water till it reaches 3/4 of the way up the can and leave to simmer for three hours or so.

Dump the flour, rice flour, salt and flour into a bowl, cut or rub in the butter. press the mix into a lined tray with your hands or the side of a glass to get a nice and even surface, jab a few times with a fork then pop into a medium hot oven till it just takes on a golden suggestion of colour at the edges. Set aside to cool. Given that the dulche de leche takes forever to cook, this shouldn't be an issue.

Once the condensed milk has reached its lovely golden toffee colour (it bubbles through the hole in the can, if you didn't make a hole then the can would explode) its time to spread that lovely stuff all over the short bread, this doesn't need to be neat or pretty. Melt the chocolate with a tiny teeny amount of butter in a bain marie or in the microwave in 15 second bursts. Pour over the lot, sprinkle with cocoa powder before the chocolate sets and pop it gently into the fridge.

If you don't have time to sit about and wait for the condensed milk to do its thing you can pop it in a pan with some butter, a little brown sugar and a pinch of salt and simmer the mix gently till it thickens. This will give a more complete flavour but its a tricky one to gauge, if you boil it you'll end up with a talky sugar crumble. Which is nice, but not what we're looking for here.

Look at all that squidgy goodness. MMMMmm. Squidgy.

Monday, 15 August 2011

O hai life!

So life has been really busy, nothing particularly interesting, just busy.

So given that I've been meaning to do loads this past twelve months and achieved squat its not surprising. Sigh.

Time to make time right? Should be fun, I'm up for some adventuring if you are!

Cryptically yours, Minnie xoxo