Friday, March 19, 2010

Chocolate Carmel Slice

When Mr Scarecrow came to America he brought with him a small stash of recipes his parents had given him. They were dubbed as his favorites and they went into the stash of recipes in my recipe box, and thus became our recipes. Amongst those recipes was one for Chocolate Carmel Slice. There was a hand written note in red on this card that said, “Lawrence’s Favorite slice!” A small hint that someone really loved this special treat. Yet, oddly enough, I’m not sure I made it more then once or twice in America. 
You see, the recipe itself was simplistic but the ingredients were another story. While I was convinced I’d found a substitute there were those in our little patch who disagreed and so the favorite recipe hit the back of the box and there it stayed until we moved to Australia.
Now, don’t be fooled, Chocolate Carmel Slice is as delicious as it sounds, but it’s also loaded with sugar. Being the freaky organic eating non-sugar munching people that we are, the recipe, once again, hit the back of the box and seemed doomed to stay there forever. Then one day Jayden said, “Mom, how come you never make carmel slice anymore?” I told him it was sugary and he replied with, “But you can make anything! Can’t you fix it?” 
I’m glad my children have every faith in my abilities, especially when it comes to cooking something they enjoy, but I was honestly intimidated by this. First off, the recipe calls for a tin of condensed milk. While I knew I could buy it low in fat, organic, full fat, and even super sized cans of it I was totally unaware of a healthy sugar-less version of it.

I’d tried making my own condensed milk once before and the outcome was a total disaster, and not something I was willing to repeat with my more expensive natural sweeteners. I was able to put Jayden off for a while, but he started becoming increasingly persistent and even resorted to asking Nana to make him the sugary version. Then Nana asked us if it would be okay, and we had to say no. Which led me to pull out the recipe and scrutinze it and see what I could do with it.
For one thing, I have more natural sweeteners in my arsenal now then I did before, but that doesn't always make the job easier. Sometimes it makes it harder deciding which one will best complete the task. This recipe has been tested on my own small gang, my inlaws over Australia Day, and a client Mr Scarecrow works for it seemed to pass by all with flying colors. I felt that was saying something considering all of them were use to the normal sugary versions that each family makes or that can be picked up at every corner bakery or McDonald's (yes I mean the Golden Arches kinda McDonlad's..) around here.

Don't be intimidated by the recipe despite it's many steps. I promise you can really pull it off in very little time. The really hard part is waiting for it to fully chill. I think it's best if left in the fridge overnight before consuming, but there are those who'd disagree, and I truly hope those few are suffering terrible tummy aches for snitching pieces of it too soon!

Chocolate Slice

Preparing the Base:

1 cup of plain all-purpose flour; I've used whole wheat too without anyone noticing
1/2 c coconut sugar
1/2 c desiccated coconut or coconut flour (Coconut flour is just finely ground up coconut)
115g butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 180 (350). Mix the first three ingredients together in a small bowl; add the butter and mix until crumbly. If the mixture is too dry add up to 5g more butter. I find that 115 - 118 seems to work for us. Lightly grease a 20cmx20cm (8x8) square pan (if you're lucky enough to own a lamington pan you could use that instead..) & press the mixture into the bottom of it. Pop in the oven for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.


400g sweetened condensed milk; equivalent to 1 can
2 T honey
55g butter

Here's where we start getting tricky. We have to make our own condensed milk if you want a sugar-free version that does not have artificial sweeteners in it, at least in my neck of the woods. It's not as hard as it sounds, and it only takes a minute. Yes, it contains powdered milk and I know that powdered milk is not that good for a person, but considering we rarely eat this special treat we'll take our chances with powdered milk vs artificial sugars..

In a blender mix together 1 c of powdered milk, 1/4 t stevia, 1 T coconut sugar, 1/3 c boiling water (if you weren't using this batch for the chocolate slice you'd add 3 T of butter and could store it in your fridge for a few days, but we don't need the butter for this particular recipe) Turn your blender on and whirl until smooth. It will not get SUPER thick like what you see in the can, but it will be fine. Continue on with the recipe as normal..

Put the batch of condensed milk and the rest of the filling ingredients in a sauce pan on the stove top. Turn it on medium and let it cook until it turns a nice golden color and has thickened up a bit. Once it reaches the boiling stage I turn it down to a simmer and let it go for about 8 minutes. If you start working on this as soon as you pop the base in the oven, you'll be done just as the base comes out.

Pour the carmel on top of the base and spread it around evenly. Pop the whole thing back in the oven and cook for another 12 minutes. You're looking for a firm well set pudding/custard type appearance. Now that our oven no longer reaches astronomical temperatures 12 minutes seems to be just right. It will be a deeper shade of gold and lightly browned around the edges (see picture below.)

Don't panic if it bubbles up like mine did. As it cools the bubbles settle down and disappear, and even if they don't it won't effect the way it tastes! Next you'll need to melt 125 grams of chocolate. Now, if you're going sugar-free you could use unsweetened chocolate and add stevia to it as a sweetener. That's not an option for us as unsweetened chocolate isn't sold here. Other options would be Loving Earth, Sunspire Grain-Sweetened Chocolates, or make your own chocolate. There are many ways to do this but they are best saved for another post. Whatever way you choose simply pour the melted chocolate over the top of your carmel slice and spread evenly.

Resist the urge to gobble the whole thing up and pop it in the fridge. Let it cool until set or, as I said before, overnight. Then slice it up and enjoy. For easier neater slices dip your knife in HOT water before cutting, it really does make it easier. I also suggest sharing with a friend because you may find it hard to resist. 

Notes:  A recipe card will soon be joining this post. No, we do not normally store our chocolate carmel slice in a jar with a pretty ribbon around it. We gave half of the batch we made away for someone's birthday and we put it in the jar with the bow instead of a gift box. You can find a sugar version of this recipe here. Golden Syrup can most easily be compared to corn syrup, but it is not exactly the same. Cooking chocolate is simply referring to a chocolate that can handle being melted and hardened again, semi-sweet chocolate chips would work fine. Yes, we really measure things on kitchen scales here when we're baking. You can find a sugary version of the condensed milk here, or if you'd rather just use a tin of it help yourself. Don't blame me if you eat the whole pan of this sweet treat yourself!

1 comment:

Tracey said...

Kendra, you continue to amaze me with all your homemade goodies.