Every nook and cranny of my life is simply filled with food.
That’s the full title of my blog and it is the best possible way I can think to describe the relationship food and I have. I’m a doctor-in-training by day but I devote great chunks of my free time to reading and researching new recipes, following favourite food writers (either electronically or in my ever expanding library of cookbooks) and then cooking, photographing and in turn, writing about food myself.
Baking was my first love in life but cooking is the one life essential which will never be a chore for me. The food I make every day for Hungry Hubby and I is centred around big flavours, quick prep and often one pan cooking or at the weekend, I have the time to inhabit the kitchen and cook more leisurely and fill the freezer for hungry, tired nights ahead. I’ve no professional training as a cook or baker, but I am self-taught and approach my culinary quests with gusto and relish so you can feel confident I’ve tried things out for myself (a lot!) before they reach the blog!
Luckily, I’ve never worked with a bunch of medics (or dentists) who don’t love to be fed treats in their fleeting break times and so I get to trundle in with cake tins full of sweet treats like my Millionaire Shortbread Bites to celebrate colleagues birthdays. So I manage to shoehorn extra foodie fun into my day in the form of food parcels to my willing taster tester colleagues 😉
These two-bite wonders have a tender, light as a feather shortbread base made with cornflour as well as plain (all purpose) flour, and icing sugar instead of caster or granulated. If you love crunchy shortbread, this is not for you but if you love it to melt on the tongue into a sweet vanillary puddle, then this is the recipe for you! I encourage pressing it into an 8-inch square pan and baking as it is if you need a plain shortbread biscuit – just remember to cut it as soon as it comes out of the oven and leave to cool in the tin. It should take around 16 minutes at 160˚C.
The caramel layer is made with condensed milk and a little golden syrup and once cooled, it sets like a dream every time – it’s never failed me yet (my Butterscotch Sauce is a caramel which doesn’t set hard no matter how long it chills but the condensed milk is like a cheat’s version of fudge, so it sets once cool). A molten puddle of dark chocolate atop that toffee-like caramel and sweet, crumbly shortbread balances out all that buttery sweetness.
I used my Lakeland Mini Bites Dessert tin to make 24 little millionaires and I really love their look – especially if you have a Mini Bites Press too so you can flatten the shortbread layer down well and easily. I hasten to add, Lakeland hasn’t asked me to write this post, I bought the tin and press myself and love it so much, I wanted to share one of the ways I use it with my readers.
If this tin is too spendy for your wallet (Christmas is coming!) then rest assured you could use silicone mini muffin cups as they will be very easy to unmould or you could use Iced Jems mini baking cups which are almost exactly the same capacity. You will need to give the bites a really firm push to get them out of the Lakeland tin but look how well they turn out!
A sweet treat that freezes brilliantly but keeps well at room temp for several days, making them a brilliant idea to make for gifts this Christmas or like I did today, to celebrate a colleague’s birthday a day early (I’m not jealous of her long weekend at all!). I am thrilled to say she loved my Millionaire’s Shortbread Bites and even said they were her favourite of all the treats I’ve brought into work to date. I’m looking forward to tomorrow when I’m not on a fast day 😉
- 75 g cornflour
- 150 g plain flour
- 75 g icing sugar
- 150 g soft butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or seeds of a vanilla bean
- 397 g condensed milk
- 2 tbsp golden syrup
- 75 g light muscovado sugar
- 100 g butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 150 g dark chocolate
- 1-2 tsp freeze dried raspberries optional
Preheat oven to 160˚C.
Make the shortbread by placing all the ingredients in a food processor and pulsing until it forms big clumps. Or mix together in a large bowl with a spatula until the same texture is arrived at.
Tip onto the work surface and form into a long sausage shape and divide in half, then half again carrying on until you have 24 evenly sized nuggets of dough - press each into your Mini Bites tin/mini baking cups/silicone mini muffin cups and flatten with a press or the back of a spoon.
Bake for approximately 16 minutes - they will remain a pale sandy colour and will puff up because of the cornflour so gently press down to flatten a little whilst still warm. Leave to one side to cool.
Measure all the caramel ingredients into a large saucepan and cook on a low to medium heat STIRRING CONSTANTLY with a wooden spoon or plastic spatula, until the mix darkens a few shades and becomes thicker and heavier on your spoon or spatula. Usually takes around 10-12 minutes - do not stop stirring or it will catch and burn.
Turn off the heat but leave it on the hob, placing a generous teaspoonful onto each disk of shortbread. Having a teaspoon in a cup of recently boiled water to smooth the tops with close to hand is very helpful. Just dry it before using!
Once all the shortbread is covered, pop in the fridge to set and cool down - usually half an hour will do.
Melt your chocolate in 30 second bursts in the microwave, stirring well each time until liquid.
Pour about a teaspoon of chocolate onto each bite and sprinkle with freeze dried raspberries if like. Leave at room temp to set as chilling will make the chocolate "bloom" and go matte looking (but it will still be good to eat!).
To decorate, you can leave the bites plain, sprinkle with freeze dried berries, chopped nuts, crushed Malteasers - you go to town and sprinkle until your heart is content!
If you don't have the same Mini Bites Tin from Lakeland (again, this is not a sponsored post!) then use mini baking cups or silicone mini muffin cups. The latter are very cheap and easily available plus make unmoulding a breeze.
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