Where you ever unable to make a choice between a Snickers and a Twix bar? If so, this one is for you! It doesn’t get much better than a peanut flavoured shortbread topped with salty roasted peanuts and dark chewy caramel, finished with a layer of decadent chocolate. It’s an ultimate treat for any self-confessed sweet-tooth.
Seb can’t resist a Millionaire’s Shortbread slice and I consider my love for roasted salted peanuts an ADDICTION (to the point where I ask Seb to hide them after a food shop, or else I won’t have any left when it’s time to use them in a recipe that I planned to cook). So this Peanut Caramel Slice is, in a way, our perfect sweet treat!
When making this recipe, you need to account for the cooling time. Whilst it requires only 30-40 minutes hands-on time, you need to cool both caramel and chocolate layers, meaning you cannot eat it straight away. Ideally, make it a day in advance.
Step 1: Make Peanut Shortbread
Preheat the oven to 190 C. Line a baking tin with parchment, making sure both the bottom and the sides are lined. There’s no need to grease your tin.
To make the shortbread base, cube the butter and rub it into the flour with your fingertips until there’re no more large lumps of butter left. Add 20g of caster sugar. It doesn’t seem like much, but trust me, the finished Peanut Caramel Shortbread will definitely be sweet enough. I like to work with room temperature butter for this shortbread. It makes it easier to incorporate peanut butter. Stir until it’s all evenly incorporated, but don’t expect to have a ball of cohesive dough. It will still look crumbly and marbled, but don’t worry, as we aren’t going to roll it out.
Tip the mixture into your lined tin and press down firmly. I use the palm of my hand to start and then finish with the back of the spoon. Take care to get the mixture into all 4 corners of the tin. Also, make sure your shortbread base is level. The firmer you press and the more thorough you are at this stage, the less crumbly it will be when you’re cutting the shortbread into squares later.
Bake it in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes until just starting to brown at the edges. When cooked, take it out of the oven. Scatter your roasted salted peanuts making sure they cover the while shortbread evenly. Set aside whilst you make your caramel.
Step 2: Make Caramel
This caramel has an intense molasses flavour and has a firmer chewier texture compared to caramel made using condensed milk. It works great in this recipe, creating something in between a caramel slice and praline.
To make your caramel, start by heating 50g of butter, double cream, golden syrup and dark brown sugar in a small saucepan on low heat. When sugar dissolves, turn up the heat and bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and set aside.
In a separate pan, heat 75g of sugar with approx. 1.5tbsp of water. Don’t stir, to make sure your caramel doesn’t crystalise. Bring to a boil and continue cooking on low/medium heat until it turns a light amber colour. Don’t take your eyes off of it though. If you let your caramel get too dark, it will become very bitter.
As soon as you reach that light amber shade, pour in the dark cream mixture and stir immediately. Be extremely careful at this stage – I always wear long sleeves and oven gloves when I do this, and keep my face as far away from the pan as possible. Due to temperature differences, it may spatter and let’s be honest, hot sugar is not the most pleasant thing to hit your skin.
Now, return to the boil and keep on cooking until the temperature reaches 118 C. It’s important to use a thermometer here. If you overdo it, your caramel will be too chewy and stick to your teeth. If it’s under, it won’t set properly, will be difficult to cut and your Peanut Caramel Shortbread will look messy. As soon as it reaches 118 C, remove from the boil and pour over the peanut-covered shortbread. Be careful to make sure peanuts stay evenly distributed.
Set aside to cool completely at room temperature. When the caramel is set, it should feel quite firm and not leave residue on your finger if you press lightly.
Step 3: Chocolate Layer
I tend to use 50-50 dark and milk chocolate for almost all my desserts with a chocolate layer. I always feel that using only milk chocolate makes things overly sweet, but you can experiment with proportions that work for you.
Broken up into small pieces, I melt my chocolate in a microwave in short bursts stirring in between. When there are no lumps of chocolate left, I pour it all over the caramel and smooth out with a spoon.
Once again, it will need to cool and set completely before you can cut your Peanut Caramel Shortbread into squares and dig in. I normally get 25 pieces using amounts in this recipe.
These Peanut Caramel Shortbreads are lovely to have with your black coffee that balances out the sweetness. Since you don’t need to keep them in the fridge (will keep for around 6 days in an airtight container), these make a lovely home-made Christmas present as well! If any of my friends are reading this, I may have spoiled the surprise, but that’s what you’re getting this Christmas!
We have plenty more mouth-watering desserts & sweet bakes for everyone’s taste:
Peanut Caramel Shortbread
- 24 x 24 cm square baking tin
- Kitchen thermometer
For Peanut Shortbread:
- 150 g plain flour
- 100 g unsalted butter
- 20 g caster sugar
- 50 g peanut butter crunchy or smooth
- 150 g roasted salted peanuts
For the Caramel:
- 80 g dark brown sugar
- 50 g golden syrup
- 100 ml double cream
- 50 g unsalted butter
- 75 g caster sugar
- 1-2 tbsp water
For the Chocolate Layer:
- 75 g dark chocolate
- 75 g milk chocolate
To Make Shortbread:
- Preheat the oven to 190°C Fan. Line a 24×24 cm square baking tin with baking parchment.
- In a large bowl, mix flour and cubed room temperature butter and rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until there're no large lumps of butter left.
- Mix 20g of caster sugar and a pinch of salt into the flour mixture. Add peanut butter and mix until well distributed. The mixture won't look cohesive – and that's ok, as long as all dry ingredients are incorporated.
- Tip the mixture into a lined baking tin and press down firmly to cover the bottom of the tin, making sure the mixture gets in the corners and is level.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes, until the edges are just starting to brown.
- Scatter roasted salted peanuts on top of the baked shortbread, making sure they're distributed evenly. Then leave to cool whilst you make your caramel.
To Make Caramel:
- In a saucepan, heat 50g of butter, double cream, golden syrup and dark brown sugar on low heat until sugar dissolves. Then turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Stir the caramel together and take off the heat.
- In a separate larger pan, dissolve 75g of caster sugar and 1-2 tbsp of water on a low-medium heat. Don't stir to avoid crystalisation. Bring to a boil and carry on cooking until it turn light amber colour. Keep an eye on it – if it becomes darker, your caramel will taste bitter.
- Take it off the heat. Pour the dark cream mixture into it, whisking immediately. Be very careful at this stage, as it may spatter.
- Return the caramel to the boil and carry on cooking until it reaches 118°C and then quicky take off the heat.
- Pour the caramel on top of your peanut covered shortbread, taking care not to redistribute the peanuts too much. Leave at room temperature until cooled completely.
To Make the Chocolate Layer:
- Break both dark and milk chocolate into small pieces and microwave in short bursts (start with 30 seconds and reduce the time as you go) stirring the chocolate in between. When melted, pour on the cooled caramel and even out with the back of the spoon.
- Let it cool completely at room tremperature before slicing it into squares.