225g plain flour
85g caster sugar
315g unsalted butter
1 x 397g tin sweetened condensed milk
4 tbsps golden syrup
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 tsp Maldon sea salt
200g good-quality plain chocolate (at least 70pc cocoa solids)
The rosemary-salted caramel is revolutionary. You would never think to pair the two ingredients, but rosemary adds a mature depth to this normally too-sweet treat. And the basic shortbread recipe is fantastic on its own, too.
Makes: 16 squares
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Cooling time: 1 hour
1Pre-heat the oven to 170°C/Gas Mark 3. Line a 23cm square brownie tin with greaseproof paper. Put the flour and sugar into a bowl and rub in 200g of the butter -- the texture will be sandy but malleable enough to form a ball shape when pushed together. Press this sandy shortbread mixture into the tin and smooth it with your knuckles. Prick it with a fork and bake for five minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 150°C/Gas Mark 2 and cook for a further 30 minutes, or until pale golden and no longer doughy. Let it cool in the tin.
2Melt the remaining 115g butter in a pan over a low heat for two to three minutes, then add the condensed milk, golden syrup and rosemary sprigs.
3Whisk the mixture well until the butter is thoroughly incorporated. Bring it to a slow simmer then, keeping the temperature even, cook for 10 minutes, stirring continuously, until thickened and light golden-brown in colour (this mixture can burn very easily, so never take your eyes off it). Very carefully remove the rosemary from the pan, then pour the sauce evenly over the cooled shortbread. Sprinkle with the salt and leave it to set.
4 Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a microwaveable bowl. Microwave for one minute and 45 seconds on high, or until fully melted, stirring halfway through. Leave to cool for five minutes, then pour and spread the melted chocolate evenly over the toffee mixture and leave to cool in the fridge for one hour. Once set, cut the caramel shortbread into 16 squares.
The squares can be stored in the fridge, but if you keep them at room temperature for a while the caramel goes lovely and gooey!