Chocolate Caramel Slices are a classic Australian treat. Make them more delicious with a touch of sea salt.
This post has been sponsored by NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto, who asked me to try their three new morning coffees, but the content and opinions are my own.
For the longest time, my husband and I have been fans of preparing our coffee in an Italian-made stove-top coffee pot. The simple ritual of making coffee – filling the pot with water, grinding the coffee beans, and waiting for the coffee to brew and fill the kitchen with the aromas of chicory and arabica beans – was something we enjoyed as part of the coffee drinking experience.
But we both knew only too well the limitations of preparing coffee on the stove. For one, it takes ages. In fact, in can take an eternity if you are brewing a large pot when you have a bunch of friends visiting, and refills mean even more hanging around by the stove when you could be chatting with your friends on the sofa.
So when NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto asked me to try their Eclipse Automatic Machine – together with enough coffee pods to open my own coffee shop! – I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to see if a coffee machine would suit my family and our lifestyle.
And within the first sip of my first coffee from my first ever capsule machine, I was converted. At the risk of making this sound like a religious experience, the addition of this coffee machine to our home has been a revelation. Well, it is either excitement or the extra caffeine buzzing through my system!
The NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto Eclipse Automatic Machine is not like your standard coffee machine. In fact, it looks like a piece of stereo equipment or something which should sit alongside the TV and wifi router. But there is something about the design which is rather eye-catching and unique; it is a modern piece of equipment which would fit into any sleek home, and the design makes it partly a visual feature in the home, rather than just like any standard kitchen appliance.
As someone who is not familiar with these sorts of coffee machines, I found it to be pretty intuitive and easy to operate. There is a touch screen where you can choose between cold and hot water (love the option for making cold-brewed coffee in summer!), as well as select the amount of water for each cup. Each coffee capsule comes with a recommendation on how many “bars” of water is recommended per cup, which you can then program into the coffee machine via the touch screen.
The only thing I found difficult was removing and replacing the water tank; due to the curved design of the machine, the water tank does not slide in and out so easily, but the trick is to insert the bottom end first and to then gently tilt the tank forward into position.
One of the coffee varieties which I am in love with is the Incarom Latte, primarily because I love milky coffees. In fact, my husband often jokes that I take a dash of coffee with my milk, and not a dash of milk with my coffee like most normal people! The Incarom Latte has a lovely chicory aroma and produces a creamy milky coffee directly from the capsule – no need to warm up the milk separately in a milk frother or a pan on the stove (and which means less washing up!).
The Latte Macchiato capsules are similary wonderful. These are prepared using two capsules – one to prepare a tall cup of frothy milk, and the second to deliver the perfect shot of coffee.
As a lover of milky coffees, I am rather excited about the ability to make such coffee quickly and with little cleaning up.
My husband, on the other hand, enjoys his coffee strong and black. The limited edition Catui Do Brasil is a sweet and aromatic espresso using 100% Arabica beans. And the Preludio should also appeal to those who prefer a long, black coffee.
I find it important to mention that the NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto Eclipse Automatic Machine is not just for the adults in the household. I can’t express how excited our children are about making their favourite hot chocolate drink using the Nesquik capsules!
If you are considering buying a new coffee machine, the NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto and its wide range of capsules can cater to different tastes in coffee (milky, flavoured, or espresso varieties), as well as different age groups (young and old).
And despite it being a “coffee” machine, you can also use it to make tea. NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto also produces capsules for Marrakesh Style Tea, Citrus Honey Black Tea, as well as a few other delicious varieties. And I can’t wait to try their Chai Tea Latte!
So as you can tell, my feelings about making coffee using a coffee machine have changed rather drastically. I think a coffee machine, such as the NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto Eclipse Automatic Machine, would be perfect when you have friends coming over and you can make coffee quickly and according to different tastes and needs. And when time is otherwise short, like in the mornings at breakfast, being able to prepare coffee at the click of a button can help you to get out the door more quickly.
I think there is still a time and a place for stove-top brewed coffee, and I don’t think I will be giving up my beloved coffee pots just yet. But it’s also liberating to be able to try and make a varied assortment of coffee at home.
So to off-set the caffeine high from our recent coffee degustation, I thought I would take a little trip down memory lane and make these Chocolate Caramel Slices, otherwise known as Millionaire’s Shortbread in other parts of the world. Growing up in Australia, and as a child to parents who ran a busy bakery, I used to be addicted to these slices. As soon as my step-father would produce a tray of these slices from the oven doors, a good dozen or so were always set aside for me to put into my lunchbox for school.
These days, I try not to make these Chocolate Caramel Slices too often because, as you will soon discover, they are rather addictive and one ought to do a few laps around the block to burn off the consumed calories. Thankfully, having two energetic toddlers means I do my fair share of running around each day 😉
To make these slices a bit more sophisticated and grown up, I like to sprinkle them with some sea salt flakes to offset the sweetness a bit. And it goes without saying that these Chocolate Caramel Slices go perfectly with a cup of your favourite coffee.
Chocolate Caramel Slice
- Prep Time: 30 mins (plus cooling time)
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: Makes 20 slices
For the biscuit base
- 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (125 g) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (125 g) plain flour, sifted
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup (90 g) dessicated coconut
- 1/2 cup (115 g) caster sugar
For the caramel filling
- 1 stick (100 g) unsalted butter
- 14 fl oz (400 ml) tinned sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tablespoons golden syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract or vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup (100 g) light muscovado sugar or light brown sugar, tightly packed (lumps removed)
For the chocolate topping
- 5.5 oz (150 g) dark chocolate, 70% cocoa
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- sea salt flakes (such as Maldon Sea Salt)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Line a small baking tin (18 x 28 cm or 7 x 11 inches) with baking paper.
- Melt the butter for the biscuit base and set it aside to cool slightly.
- Place the flour, baking powder, dessicated coconut and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the flat paddle attachment, mix the ingredients together.
- Add the melted butter and beat until the mixture is combined.
- Place the mixture into the lined baking tin and use your fingers to press it firmly and evenly into the base.
- Bake the biscuit base for 12-15 minutes, or until it is lightly golden.
- Set the biscuit base aside to cool slightly while you make the caramel filling, but keep the oven turned on.
- To make the caramel filling, melt the butter in a large saucepan over low-medium heat.
- Once the butter has melted, add the sweetened condensed milk, golden syrup, vanilla extract and light brown sugar.
- Whisk the ingredients together until they are well incorporated.
- Turn the heat up to medium-high, and continue whisking until the caramel starts to bubble a little.
- Continue whisking over medium-high until the caramel thickens slightly. Make sure you are whisking constantly, otherwise the caramel might start to burn and you will have to start all over again! The caramel is done when it has thickened to a good pouring consistency.
- When the caramel is cooked, pour it over the biscuit base and use a spatula to evenly distribute it.
- Place the baking tin back in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Remove the baking tin a wire rack and let it cool completely. Once it has cooled, place it into the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- To make the chocolate topping, melt the chocolate in a bain-marie, or in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of simmering water.
- Whisk through the vegetable oil to make the chocolate nice and glossy.
- Take the baking tin out of the fridge and pour the melted chocolate over the top. Immediately use a spatula to spread the chocolate evenly. As the caramel slice is cold from the fridge, the chocolate topping will start to set quickly.
- If you wish to create a rough textured surface like in the photos, place the baking tin back in the fridge for 10-15 minutes for the chocolate topping to set slightly. Drag a spatula back and forth through the cold (but not set) chocolate topping to create the textured surface. If the chocolate topping is not cold enough, you may have to put the tin back into the fridge for another 5 minutes or so.
- Once the chocolate caramel slice has set, slice into bars or squares, and sprinkle with sea salt flakes before serving.
Best to ignore the nutritional information for this recipe 😉
- Serving Size: Serves 20
- Calories: 331
- Sugar: 30.8g
- Sodium: 171.3mg
- Fat: 18.4g
- Carbohydrates: 39.3g
- Fiber: 2g
- Protein: 4g
- Cholesterol: 34mg
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