20 August 2011
Guest Post - Star Bakery
The final guest post in this summer series is from Liana from Star Bakery in the UK. I have followed Liana on flickr for some time and she is by far one of my favorite cupcake decorators on this side of the pond. On really, really, REALLY good days, my cupcake decorating comes out almost as perfect as hers. If only Liana could guest decorate in my kitchen some day, I could learn a thing or two! Take it away, Liana....
My name is Liana and I am a sugar addict. There, said it. I suppose this confessional should lead to some sort of relief on my part but it doesn’t. Why? Because I’ve known this and have been confessing this very truth for a very long time...
I’m the owner of Star Bakery in Nottingham, England and as a result am surrounded by the gooiest, sugar loaded, candy coloured treats on a daily basis. I started my bakery back in 2009 and after a fabulous career in Marketing and Communications, and being mum to two fab boys, I can honestly say I think I’ve found my niche in life.
This job is definitely the toughest job I’ve ever done and if you don’t fancy icing sugar laden houses and 3am finishes then please keep moving BUT anyone that bakes for a hobby will know the joys of baking from scratch and getting to indulge in the fruits of your labour.
Being constantly surrounded by sugary temptation does nothing to curb my sweet tooth and so I thought I’d share with you the one baked treat that satisfies my sugar craving and leaves me with a caramel induced contentment that lasts for days.
This recipe is often referred to as Millionaire’s Shortbread of Caramel shortbread and is based on a recipe from Nigella Lawson I came across on the internet – with tweaks!
175g unsalted butter
225g plain flour
75g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
200g unsalted butter
397g/1 can sweetened condensed milk
250g milk chocolate
1tbsp butter/golden syrup
8x8” tin lined with greaseproof paper
Preheat the oven to 170 C/gas mark 3/325 F
Put the flour, sugar, vanilla and salt into a bowl and rub in 175g of cold butter, clumping the dough together to make a ball. Press this shortbread mixture into the tin and smooth it down with the back of a spoon. Prick the surface with a fork and cook for five minutes, then lower the oven to 150C/gas mark 2/about 320F, and cook for a further 30-40 minutes until slightly golden brown. Remove from oven and let it cool in the tin completely before adding the caramel topping.
Melt the remaining 200g of butter in a saucepan then add condensed milk. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time, and then reduce heat and simmer for 5-6mins until the mixture has turned a golden brown or thickened slightly. Take off heat and pour over the shortbread base and leave to cool.
Melt chocolate in your preferred way i.e. microwave or in a bowl over a pan of simmering water and add butter of syrup to add shine to your chocolate. Once melted pour over cooled caramel topping and allow to set at room temperate so the chocolate doesn’t go dull. This recipe makes about 16 generous pieces but this varies depending on how you cut your shortbread!
I hope you enjoy this recipe, it might seem like a lot of hard work but I take it in stages and making the caramel is very soothing so ideal for that post-dinnertime wind down before the ‘joys’ of the children’s bedtime kick in...