It's a Friday night and I have just finished having dinner with a friend.
“Let’s go out for a drink now?”
I look at my watch – 21:00. I hesitantly say yes. We go to a bar where the general clientele is in their 20’s and early 30’s, well-dressed, heels, suits, beautiful. The drinks list is too elaborate, the music's too loud and the lighting's too dim. After one drink and too many desperate attempts at trying to talk over the music, with a hoarse throat and exhausted patience, I say I need to go home. I’m back at 11pm and with all the energy in the world from the coffees I've had in the afternoon, I decide to bake, finishing at 2am and I go to bed. That's a Friday night.
I’m like a 40-year-old stuck in the body of a 22-year-old experiencing a chronic mid-life crisis. Relative to those of my age, I’ve always been overly responsible, risk-averse and stressed. It’s an attitude instilled in me from a young age, which just means that instead of being out and about on a Friday night, I’m in my kitchen cooking to restore my sanity. On this particular Friday I was up late at night making these millionaire’s shortbread.
Millionaire’s shortbread is one of those things that need to be commercially portioned out differently. They're usually sold in what, 5x5cm squares? Petit four sizes are more appropriate. It’s sweet chocolate on top of sweet caramel on top of sweet shortbread. It’s a one-bite kind of treat because it's just so rich and indulgent.
Recipe adapted from Delicious Magazine and The Telegraph
1 heaped tsp ground ginger
175g butter, cube
4 tbsp golden syrup
400g tin sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
200g dark chocolate
1 handful of candied ginger, finely chopped
flaked sea salt
Preheat oven to 160C and line a 20cm square tin with parchment paper.
In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar and ginger. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles ground almonds. Press into the tin - as evenly as possible. Prick wit a fork and bake for about 30 minutes or until golden. Leave to cool completely.
Melt the butter over low heat in a heavy-based pan and then stir in the golden syrup and condensed milk. Turn the heat up slightly and bring it to a simmer. Stir continuously for about 10 minutes, keeping the simmering, until it turns slightly brown and it comes away from the pan slightly. Stir in the salt.
Pour over this evenly over the cooled shortbread. Leave to set -- about 30 minutes.
Break the chocolate into pieces and melt Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Pour over the caramel and tilt the tin so that it spreads evenly. Leave to set slightly for a few minutes, then top with candied ginger and salt flakes. Once completely set, lift the whole thing out of the tin using the paper and cut into squares.