When it is too hot to go outside on my day off I have to come up with activities to keep myself busy. Today I looked in the pantry and saw that I had all the makings of a caramel slice. I opened up my Donna Hay cookbook and found the recipe I have made many times before for her Classic Chocolate Caramel Slice but decided to add a few additions to make it crispy and peanuty! Normally I find the caramel layer a bit too rich for my liking so I reduced the caramel and added rice crispy cereal and crushed peanuts. It gives it a thicker and more crumbly texture. Now to work out what to make tomorrow, 40°C+ is not fun!
Biscuity Base Layer
1 cup of plain flour
1/2 cup of desiccated coconut
1/2 cup brown sugar
125g butter (melted)
Crispy Caramel Peanut Layer
400g sweetened condensed milk
75g golden syrup
1/2 cup crushed peanuts
2 cups rice crispy cereal
100g dark chocolate
100g milk chocolate
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Line an approximately 7 inch square cake tin with baking paper.
Place biscuit base layer ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined.
Spoon mixture in to prepared tin and smooth out evenly with the back of a spoon.
Bake for 15 minutes
While the base is baking, place condensed milk, butter and golden syrup in a saucepan on low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly so it doesn’t catch and burn on the bottom.
Mix in rice crispy cereal and crushed peanuts.
Once base layer has been in the oven for 15 minutes, take it out and spoon caramel on top, spreading it out evenly.
Bake for another 20-25 minutes or until the caramel layer looks golden on top.
Take tin out of the oven and allow to cool for about 20 minutes.
Melt milk chocolate and dark chocolate slowly in separate bowls in the microwave.
Once melted, stir in 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil to each chocolate type.
Spoon blobs of each chocolate on the top of the caramel layer and swirl around.
Tap the container on the bench so air bubbles on the surface burst.
Put in the fridge to cool completely before removing the slice from the tin and cutting in to pieces (a heated knife will help to get through the chocolate layer).
Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days
Something I have always tried to do is put a lot of thought and effort in to choosing the perfect gift for my family and friends for birthdays and Christmas. As I have got older, my desire to receive presents has dwindled but I do love when you can tell instantly how much effort someone has put in to choosing what to give you. One of the best presents I ever got was from my brother who was studying and didn’t have much of an income so decided to make me a present for my birthday. He, bless his heart, taught himself to crochet to make me a figurine of one of my favourite cartoon characters. I cried. He said if it wasn’t good enough he would get me something else but I couldn’t ask for anything more. It was the best thing I have ever got for my birthday, his time and effort.
Christmas is about spending time with family and friends, not gifts, but I still want to be able to give the people who have given me so much love and support throughout the year a little token of my appreciation. So for Christmas this year, I have decided to hand deliver jars of homemade cookies.
My idea started when I was at Officeworks browsing at various stationery (a hobby of mine!), when I came across some Avery clear printable labels. I envisioned jars with these labels printed with a Christmas message so I went home and put my thinking cap on. Words that show what Christmas means to me were the obvious choice for my stickers. What I came up with was:
Next job was to find some jars to put them on. I went down to a great continental goods supplier in Adelaide called Gaganis. I get a lot of ingredients from this place like spices, nuts and beans along with various European products and kitchenware but they also have pallets of jars and bottles of all sizes for making your own sauces, jams and preserved fruits. I chose some jars about the same size as your average pasta sauce for 95 cents each!
Choc chip cookies, white chocolate chip almond oaty cookies, vanilla biscuits, almond bread and almond shortbread cookies were put on the ‘to bake’ list and off I went to get my ingredients. I made all of the cookie dough in to balls and cut out shapes which I froze uncooked so I could bake them as needed depending on when I would see the people I was giving them to. If you are going to make cookie jars, make sure you scoop each cookie small enough so once it bakes and spreads, it still fits through the top of the jar, unlike my chocolate chip cookies which were too big!