Oh my. Sometimes I throw caution to the wind and totally abandon any semblance of clean eating. To shamelessly indulge in the pleasures of the feast. Sometimes I just can’t say no, particularly so when staring down something like this. A three layer Salted caramel slice with popcorn brittle. Temptation on a platter. For me, I will freely admit, there’s simply no defence. Salted caramel will always be my friend. Where’s there’s a choice it will always win, hands down over chocolate, every single time. After all, it’s my not so secret achilles heel.
One of the most requested and much loved slices chez nous has always been Chocolate Caramel Slice. For years it’s made a regular appearance in our cake tin, mostly so in the cooler months. A hands down crowd pleaser, its what I bake when I don’t know what to make. A recipe so familiar, it comes together quickly and easily, almost mindlessly on auto pilot. Much to my family’s enduring disappointment, all the way through this year’s incredibly humid Indian summer, it was missing in action from their well stocked cake tin. Too hot. Too melty. Too messy.
Absence does of course make the heart grow fonder. The silver lining of last week’s Sydney storms, under their collective accusatory gaze? The long awaited return of the caramel slice. Albeit, re-imagined this time, with a generous layer of popcorn brittle replacing the traditional chocolate. Three layers of decadently delicious sinfulness.
Of course this version took my family a little by surprise. At first it’s appearance was met with more than a fleeting glance of suspiciousness. I knew what they were thinking. Why mess with the original? Happily it took just one bite of one little square to win them over. This is my new favourite.It’s something I’m happy to over indulge in. Every single time. Safe in the knowledge, of course, in my full house it will be slim pickings to gain access to more than a square or two.
Three Layer Salted Caramel Slice With Popcorn Brittle
For the Base
1/2 cup (75 g) self-raising flour
1/2 cup (75 g) plain flour
1 cup (80 g) coconut, shredded
1 cup (220 g) brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
100 g butter, melted
PREHEAT oven to 180C.
GREASE and line a 25cm square baking dish with deep sides. Ensure that baking paper extends over the sides of the dish for easy removal of the slice.
COMBINE sifted flours, coconut, sugar, mixed spice and melted butter in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
PRESS the mixture evenly over the base of the dish.
BAKE for 15 minutes in 180C oven, centre rack position until base is slightly risen and a pale golden brown colour.
COOL for at least 10 minutes before adding the caramel layer.
For the Caramel
1/3 cup golden syrup
125 g butter, melted
2 x 395 g cans sweetened condensed milk
1 – 2 teaspoons flaky sea salt
PLACE the golden syrup, butter and condensed milk in a small saucepan over low heat.
STIR for 7 minutes or until the caramel has thickened slightly.
POUR evenly over the cooled biscuit base and sprinkle with flaky sea salt.
BAKE for 12-15 minutes in a 180C oven, centre rack position until caramel is golden.
COOL to room temperature before adding the popcorn brittle topping.
For the Popcorn Brittle
1 cup sugar
60g unsalted butter
2 cups popped popcorn
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
PLACE sugar in a wok or wide heavy based saucepan. Stir over medium heat until all the sugar has melted. As the sugar prepares to melt it will clump together and form lumps. Keep stirring and heating – the lumps will disappear as the sugar melts. This should take no more than 7 minutes depending on the size of your wok or saucepan. The wider the base, the quicker the sugar will melt.
REDUCE heat to low. Stop stirring and wait for the sugar to turn a rich golden colour (technically this will be hard ball stage or 130 C on a candy thermometer).
STIR in butter. Allow to cook for a few more minutes, stirring constantly until the butter is completely incorporated (hard crack stage or 150 C on a candy thermometer).
ADD popcorn and sea salt. Remove wok from heat.
USING a wooden spoon, pile the popcorn brittle in an even layer over the top of the caramel slice.