Gooey caramel studded with crunchy hazelnuts on a chocolate biscuit base, all smothered in a layer of milk chocolate. A decadent dessert or afternoon treat with a cup of tea.
One of my favourite things about London life is not having or needing a car. The tube system makes it so easy to get anywhere, and the increase in walking required to get to the stations is a positive too. So far, I haven’t even encountered any ‘tube crazies’. The best ones I saw during my train commute in Auckland were a man dressed as a Cossack, fingernails sharpened to points, eating a box of processed cheese; and an older man singing Michael Jackson’s Blame it on The Boogie, but in a demonic death metal voice. (On reflection, I don’t think I’d actually mind seeing more of these in London, if they were of the same quality as the Auckland ones)
Being car-less has changed my life compared to how I lived in New Zealand, most noticeably in the following ways:
Socks. So many socks. The number of socks I own has increased tenfold. Walking everywhere requires closed toe, supportive shoes, which in turn require socks. And not just one type of sock – socks for sports shoes, socks for high boots, socks for ankle boots… half my life is spent laundering, drying, matching and putting away socks. I’m lucky that my super power is the ability to never lose a single sock from a pair. (Well not as lucky as if my super power was something actually cool like telekinesis or the ability to eat unlimited fries with no consequences, but I’ll take what I can get).
I’ve never seen the houses of some of my closest friends here, purely because of the number of train/tube/bus transfers required to get there. While London’s public transport system excels at connecting each district to the centre of the city, it can be difficult to travel directly between them. This means that most catch ups happen at pubs and restaurants and I’ve just realised why the amount of wine I drink has increased just as much as my sock count.
Related to this, the ‘bring a plate’ shared dinner so common in New Zealand, occurs far less frequently here. When it does, special consideration is needed in regards to how the dish will be transported. Carrying anything that requires careful balancing on the tube is a recipe for disaster. That’s why this chocolate & hazelnut caramel slice has become my go-to when I’m asked to bring a dessert. It’s easily transportable in a plastic container, while still having enough wow factor with its towering layer of gooey caramel.
This really is such a great sharing recipe, not least of all because they’re very dangerous to have sitting around in your own kitchen. An innocent “I’ll just have one with my my cup of tea” can easily turn into “I just ate seven in quick succession and now I’m crying at my inability to make good life decisions”.
- If you prefer a stickier, chewier caramel leave it in the oven until the surface reaches a dark golden colour at the edges.
- Omit the nuts if you must, but for me the sweetness is just too intense without them.
- Recipe adapted from Treats from Little and Friday by Kim Evans
- 90 g butter softened
- 200 g white granulated sugar
- 1 small egg
- 1/4 t vanilla paste
- 25 g cocoa powder
- 135 g plain flour
- 1/4 t salt
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 140 g golden syrup
- 50 g butter
- 100 g roasted hazelnuts roughly chopped
- 1/2 t flaky sea salt
- 100 g milk chocolate
Line a 10x20cm tin with baking paper or foil and preheat oven to 160ºC. Ensure the lining hangs over the edge so you can use it to pull the slice out later.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla then beat well.
Sift flour, cocoa and salt into the whipped butter mixture, and mix until well combined.
Pour mixture into prepared pan, and press down firmly to cover the base evenly.
Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from oven and set aside, leaving the oven on.
Prepare the filling while the base is in the oven. Pour condensed milk, golden syrup and butter into a medium saucepan and warm over a low-medium heat until butter has melted.
Turn the heat up to medium and cook the caramel, constantly stirring for 5-7 mins until it reaches a deeper golden colour.
Remove caramel from heat, stir in hazelnuts, then pour mixture over the cooked base. Place tin back in the oven, and cook for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with flaky sea salt, then leave to cool.
When slice has cooled, melt chocolate and spread evenly over the caramel. Refrigerate until firm. When ready to serve, remove from tin and slice into bars.