Over the years, many people have asked me for recipes. These requests, more or less, prompted the creation of my cookbook Community. For me, the happiest expressions of food are the ones that stem from sharing – whether it be sharing a plate, sharing a story over a meal, or sharing a recipe. So today, as I sit amongst the boxes of soon-to-be-donated knick knacks, piles of papers ready for shredding and bags of secretly-stashed toys, I am excited about the possibilities of connecting with friends, old and new, through this journal.
In the weeks ahead, as my family prepares for a European sojourn, en route to a brave new life in New York City, I am buoyed by the community I leave behind. In my wake, I hear of ‘salad clubs’ forming in nearby offices with co-workers taking on salad-making duties in turn, creating dishes to eat together. I hear of people making salads at home and bringing a portion in to work to share with a fellow salad devotee. I hear of others embarking on a #ayearofarthurstreetkitchen, cooking their way through every recipe in Community. I feel so inspired and honoured to have played a small part in inspiring this greater sense of participation and connection. Here is one of the places I hope the sharing will continue.
People have often wondered why there are no dessert recipes in Community. Truthfully, sweets don’t come naturally to me. My baking is always oh-so simple, yet still slightly haphazard. My creations are not deft-handed or delicate! But what they lack in polish, they usually make up in flavour. Today I’m sharing one of my family staples and Arthur Street Kitchen’s most requested dessert, Salted Caramel Slice.
Salted Caramel Slice
This is a variation of the classic caramel slice, given a modern twist. It is embarrassingly easy to make, but never fails to impress. And to prove its a consummate sweet, it features my most-favourite condensed milk, slightly caramelised and very salty. Make this slice in three stages: first the biscuit-y base, then the condensed milk caramel filling, finished with a layer of melted dark chocolate.
| Makes about 20 squares |
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup self-raising flour
- 125g butter, melted
- 1 cup dessicated coconut
- 1 tin sweetened condensed milk
- 50g butter
- 4 tbsp golden syrup
- 2 teaspoons of sea salt (vary according to how salty you like it)
- 200g dark chocolate, melted
Grease and line a 25cm x 30cm lamington tray or slice tin with baking paper.
Heat the oven to 180ºC. To make the base, combine the coconut, brown sugar, self-raising flour and melted butter. Press the mixture into the lined tray, using the back of a wooden spoon to smooth out the surface. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the base is a nice golden brown. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
For the filling, combine the condensed milk, golden syrup and butter in a small, heavy-based saucepan and heat gently on medium heat. Stir constantly until the butter melts and the mixture comes to a simmer (you need to keep stirring, otherwise the mixture will burn on the bottom). Add your desired amount of salt. Pour onto the base, and return to the oven for another 10 minutes or until the caramel is golden and bubbly.
Top with melted dark chocolate, smoothing with a flat spatula. Once the chocolate has set, cut into squares.
To cut the squares, I usually sit a knife in boiling water to heat it up – once nice and hot, dry it off with a paper towel and cut your slices – having a heated knife will help stop the chocolate from cracking.
Best method of melting Chocolate: Add dark chocolate to a bowl. In a saucepan, bring water to the boil – once boiling, turn off the heat. Immediately put the bowl with the chocolate on top of the saucepan and leave it to melt – it should take 8-10 minutes. Once melted (it becomes glossy), stir through.