It’s been almost a whole month since I blogged last and this is not because I haven’t had things to blog about, it’s because my time has been otherwise occupied with moving home. Kieran and I have just bought a house and the last month has been spent packing, moving, more packing, some unpacking and a bit of decorating. All fun stuff!
But now I’m sat in my new conservatory at my new dining table and I have time to write a post. So I’ve picked a good recipe to mark the first blog update from my new home – these are the ultimate in indulgence. In fact, they’re so indulgent, it’s almost ridiculous. There’s shortbread, caramel, chocolate, pretzels and pecan nuts. Pretty much everything tasty that you can throw at a snack is in this recipe, including salt!
These are obviously a little effort to make but are worth the time – and would be perfect for a party or bakesale.
- 160g unsalted butter, diced and chilled, plus extra to grease
- 160g plain flour
- 60g caster sugar
- Pinch sea salt flakes
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 200g pecans
- 300g caster sugar
- 200ml double cream
- 100g unsalted butter, diced
- 1 tsp sea salt flakes
- 50g dark chocolate
- 50g salted pretzels
- Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Lightly grease a 20cm square cake tin and line crossways with 2 strips of baking paper so the ends overhang.
- For the shortbread base, put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the 160g butter and the vanilla, then whizz until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Tip into the cake tin, then use your hands to press into an even layer. Chill for 30 minutes, then prick the base with a fork. Bake for 30 minutes or until pale golden brown. Set aside to cool.
- For the caramel, put the pecans in a baking tray and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes or until fragrant. Tip onto a chopping board and roughly chop.
- Put the sugar into a medium saucepan and cook over a medium heat, without stirring, until melted and caramelised. Take off the heat and carefully add the cream in 2 batches (it may spit), waiting until the bubbling has subsided before adding more. Stir in the butter and salt.
- Return to the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the caramel reaches 116°C on a sugar thermometer or digital probe thermometer. Immediately take off the heat, add the chopped pecans, mixing briefly to combine, then pour over the shortbread and spread it evenly with a spatula. Set aside for at least 4 hours (or overnight) to cool.
- For the topping, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (don’t let the water touch the bowl), then drizzle or pipe it over the bars. Press the pretzels into the chocolate to finish. Let the chocolate set before cutting into bars. They’ll keep in a sealed container for 2 days