The ultimate caramel slice recipe made with three delicious layers… a crunchy base, a gooey caramel filling and a sweet chocolate topping. Yum!
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Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease the base and sides of a 16cm x 26cm slice pan and line with baking paper, allowing 2 long sides to overhang.
Combine the flour, sugar, coconut and butter in a large bowl and stir until well combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and press firmly over the base. Bake for 15-20 mins or until light golden. Remove from the oven. Set aside to cool.
Combine the condensed milk, extra butter and golden syrup in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, whisking frequently, for 8 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly. Pour over the cooked base. Bake for 12 minutes or until firm. Stand to cool.
Spread the melted chocolate evenly over the cooled caramel. Place in the fridge for 3-4 hours or until set. Cut into pieces with a warm knife to serve.
A school cake stall, a CWA cake stand or an old-school bakery – any of these without a caramel slice is like a birthday party with no cake. A huge disappointment. Caramel slice is a distinctly Australian invention, and, might we say, a genius piece of confectionary on the level of other Aussie treats such as the lamington, the pavlova and the chocolate crackle.
How could it fail, with its biscuit base, creamy caramel filling and dark chocolate crown?
An early published version of this chocolate caramel slice appeared in a 1970 edition of the Australian Women’s Weekly where it was named Caramel Shortbread. A similar combination of biscuit base, smooth caramel and chocolate topping is also popular in Scotland, where it’s known as millionaire’s shortbread for its decadence.
Though it looks impressive and has three distinct layers, this caramel slice is easy to make and requires only pantry staples. Start with the biscuit base: there’s nothing tricky here, just stir the flour, sugar, coconut and melted butter in a bowl until well combined. Press the mixture into your lined tin firmly until you have an even layer then bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Allow it to cool a little.
Meanwhile, get started on the caramel. Use a whisk to stir the condensed milk, butter and golden syrup in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Keep cooking, whisking all the while, for about eight minutes or until the mixture thickens slightly. Pour it over your biscuit base and return it to the oven for 12 minutes or until firm. Set the pan aside and allow your almost-there slice to cool.
Finally, pour the melted dark chocolate over the top of the caramel before placing the tin in the fridge to allow the chocolate to set. It’s almost too beautiful to cut, but cut you must, with a large chef’s knife that’s been immersed in hot water then dried. This will prevent the layers from smudging, creating a nice clean cut. Warm the knife between each cut.
It may be impossible to improve on perfection, but you can still have fun with variations on the classic caramel slice taste. For example, try a mash-up of two Australian favourites: caramel slice with an ANZAC bikkie base. Or, try adding a little sea salt to your caramel for a salted-caramel twist. Why not swap the dark chocolate for white chocolate? Here’s another idea: add half a cup of salted peanuts to your caramel layer – the crunch and salt are an excellent foil for the sweetness of the slice.
This fantastic Easter version, Hot Cross Bun Caramel Slice, eschews the biscuit base for toasted hot cross buns and is topped with Easter eggs, for good measure.