baking, baking while baked, caramel anything, chocolate, cooking until the wee hours, millionaire shortbreads, recipes, sea salt

Millionaire’s Folly

We are the crafter and the cook. The Missus, when she isn’t working or being a full time library student, crafts. And she’s damn good at it. In fact, the desk that I write this at was made by her out of a reclaimed door. Our coffee table? That’s our old wooden futon frame. She’s made me a gorgeous knife roll and apron. Every month, well since her subscription ran out, I buy her a copy of Ready Made magazine. Occasionally, I’ll glance over an issue for things I want to harass her into making or to see what recipes they have that month, but usually I don’t pick it up. This month, however, I made quick work of my magazines and moved on to hers and, for the first time, I actually decided to make something from it’s pages.

The recipe, which I am apparently too unfocused to type out on my own, is from Claire Burnet of Chococo in the Uk. Essentially this is a recipe for ‘Millionaire’s Shortbread.’ While many called for the use of corn syrup and/or sweetened condensed milk, this one had you making the caramel center from scratch. Simple enough, as I’ve made caramel many times over the past few years. I’ve also done a bit of experimenting with tempering chocolate and shortbread is a cinch. Easy enough, right?

Oh, how wrong I was.

My first indication should have been my lack of looking over the recipe and realizing how much inactive prep time I would have as the shortbread rested, baked and cooled. Three hours right there, so it wasn’t the best of ideas to start this project at 8 o’clock at night.

Then there was the time to make and cool the caramel. Another hour or so, pushing things well past midnight before I finished the second step. Exactly what I wanted after a full day of work, right? Well, apparently I didn’t let it set long enough because when I poured the chocolate, the caramel started to run down and around the edges of the shortbread. It was a horrible sticky mess at the time.

But, then there was also the complete lack of realization that I had purchased unsweetened baking chocolate and not 70% dark–something I did not discover until I popped a piece in my mouth to snack on, only to spit it out instantly upon discovering what I was really eating. I made a desperate move and stirred in a bit of Icelandic milk chocolate and sugar to make it edible. Thankfully, the texture on the finished product wasn’t as grainy as I had feared.

One bright note was that I did actually have sea salt on hand, a gift from one of the Missus relatives who is studying overseas.

The end product wasn’t overly terrible. The flavors were good and, for the most part, the textures what I had hoped for, though the caramel was still a little loose even after sitting overnight. The whole thing was very reminiscent of a recipe I’ve made before and the much blogged Saveur Chocolate Caramel Tart. I’m sure this is a much better recipe than what I ended up with and is suited for those that pay much more attention than I did.