Salted Caramel & Nutella Fudge Squares

Well, I am pleased to say that normal service has been resumed and I’m back with a truly decadent sweet treat, involving chocolate of course!  And not just chocolate, but chocolate and Nutella!  I’m sure it’ll come as no surprise that I ADORE Nutella.  I love it on toast, on crusty french bread, in pancakes, straight from the jar off the spoon!  I just really enjoy it!  I used to love when we used to go on holiday to France or Italy, as there would be the small little packets in bowls at breakfast, and I would sneak a couple to eat later on the beach!  I wasn’t alone in doing this was I?!

I feel quite guilty that I haven’t shared this divine recipe before now, so for that, I apologise. Now, you might be wondering where my photo of this glorious recipe is?  Well, if you scroll down you’ll see it…..not pretty huh?  So, it’s time to fess up….this was my second (!) attempt at making this for the purpose of taking a picture for the blog.  You see, the first time, I took my eye off the (soft) ball and ended up with a salted caramel layer that would crack the hardest of teeth (still delicious, but definitely a workout for the jaws!).  So, on my second attempt, I was soooo worried about making it too hard again, that I didn’t boil the caramel for long enough, so as you can see from the picture, it’s on the soft side.  I can assure you though, that it’s still delicious.

Makes around 25 small squares 

Ingredients

  • 200g Digestive biscuits or Graham Crackers
  • 70g unsalted butter
  • 60g golden syrup or corn syrup
  • 250g caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2tbsp water
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 150ml double (heavy) cream
  • 1 1/4tsp of sea salt
  • 40g 70% cocoa dark chocolate, chopped
  • 175g milk chocolate, chopped
  • 200g Nutella

Method

  1. Crush the biscuits, either by bashing them in a zip lock with a rolling pin (very therapeutic if you have pent up anger/frustration!), or as I do, whizz them in the food processor.
  2. In a small saucepan melt the butter and 30g of the syrup.
  3. Mix the butter and syrup mixture with the biscuits until it resembles damp sand.
  4. Pat the biscuit mixture firmly into a tin (I use a 20cm/8 inch one) and put in the fridge to firm up.
  5. Put the cream and salt in a saucepan and bring to just below boiling point.  Set aside.
  6. In a heavy-based saucepan, put the sugar and water and give a good stir.  Turn on the hob to a medium heat and let the sugar dissolve in the water and start to boil.
  7. Once the sugar has dissolved, pour in the rest of the syrup and if using a sugar thermometer let the temperature rise to around 238/240F.  If you’re not using a sugar thermometer, then put a bowl of very cold water next to the stove and after around 18 minutes, drop a small amount of the caramel mixture in.  Put your hand in and try to form a ball with it. If you can bring it out and it stays whole, then it’s ready.  If not, carry on boiling until it reaches a ball stage.  N.B.  Please be VERY careful making the caramel.  Sugar burns are horrible. 
  8. Once the sugar mixture has reached the correct temperature, take off the heat and whisk in the salted cream and vanilla.  Be careful, adding these in will cause the sugar mixture to bubble up.
  9. Once the caramel is ready, take the biscuit base out of the fridge, pour the caramel over in an even layer and pop back in the fridge for 2 hours to set.
  10. Once the caramel has set, it’s time to make the chocolate layer!  In a glass bowl over a saucepan of boiling water, put the dark and milk chocolate and leave to melt.
  11. After the chocolate has melted, take off the heat and stir in the Nutella until it’s all combined.
  12. Pour over the caramel layer and put in the fridge until set.
  13. Cut into small squares and enjoy.

Domestic Princess tips

  1. If you’re not a fan of salted caramel (why not?!), then just omit the salt from the cream.  If omitting the salt, there’s no need to heat the cream.
  2. As in the Homemade Twix recipe, if you don’t fancy making the caramel layer yourself, then melt 250g of shop-bought caramels/toffees with 1tbsp of cream, 1 1/4tsp of salt and carry on as per step 9.
  3. If you want a more bitter topping, use 100g of dark chocolate and 115g of milk.
  4. And if you’re not keen on Nutella (again, really?!), then add 200g extra of milk and dark chocolate. I’d probably do 120g milk and 80g dark, but this can be altered according to your tastes.
  5. To give the squares some more crunch, stir in 200g roasted and chopped hazelnuts into the caramel before pouring onto the biscuit layer.

salty caramel & nutella fudge squares

I love sweet and salty flavours, so the saltiness of the caramel against the sweetness of the chocolate, and crunch of the biscuit base, is my idea of heaven!

With much gooey, salty caramel and Nutella love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Salted Caramel & Fudge Pavlova

I don’t think you can beat a pavlova as a pudding; it’s a classic!  There is something resplendent about bringing out a pavlova piled high with softly whipped cream that has a crunchy outer, which then yields to a soft chewy centre.  It looks quite spectacular and as if you’ve been slaving away in the kitchen for hours, which is quite the opposite.

People seem to have the misconception that pavlova is hard to make, well I promise you it’s not.  It is in fact really easy and the actual meringue part can be knocked up in less than 15 minutes.

Pavlova is traditionally adorned with soft fruit, but since they are pretty scarce in Bangalore, I needed to get creative.  Salted caramel is very much de rigueur at the moment, and whilst I’ve made caramel sauce on countless occasions, I’ve never attempted a salted caramel one.  So, with that in mind and some fudge I needed to use up, I came up with Salted Caramel and Fudge Pavlova:  it’s a killer combination that I’m inordinately proud of!

Ingredients

For the meringue base

  • 6 egg whites
  • 300g of caster sugar
  • 2tsp cornflour
  • 1½tsp of white wine vinegar

For the salted caramel sauce

  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g soft light brown sugar
  • 100ml double cream
  • ½ to 1½tps of fleur de sel, or sea salt flakes

For the topping

  • 200g fudge, chopped into small chunks (I use these for pure convenience!)
  • 500ml double cream

Method

Serves 8 – 10

To make the meringue base

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.
  2. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
  3. Whisk the egg whites until they look shiny and peaks form when you remove your whisk.  NB. Unless you are Popeye, I highly recommend using an electric hand whisk or standmixer for this.  A friend of mine once tried to use their blender to whisk eggs – this won’t really work either.
  4. One spoonful at a time, add the sugar to the eggs, whilst continuing to whisk.  Make sure each spoonful is thoroughly mixed in before adding the next one.
  5. When all the sugar has been added, continue whisking for 3 – 4 minutes, or until the meringue is thick and glossy.  A good test is if you can hold the bowl over your head without any meringue falling on you!
  6. Whisk in the cornflour and vinegar.
  7. Using a metal spoon, scoop the mixture onto the baking parchment and use a palette knife to shape it into a fat circle.  Smooth around the edges and create a little well in the middle.
  8. Pop in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 120C/fan100C/gas ½ and cook for around one and a quarter to one and a half hours.  To tell if it’s ready, it should look crisp on the outside, but when you prod the centre it should feel squidgy.
  9. Turn the oven off and open the door slightly and let the meringue completely cool.
  10. Once the meringue has completely cooled, carefully peel the off the baking parchment and place the meringue on a serving dish.  Don’t worry if it cracks, this is par for the course.
  11. Whip the double cream until it forms soft peaks.
  12. Fold in half the salted caramel sauce and three-quarters of the fudge pieces.
  13. Pile the cream on top of the meringue, drizzle the remaining caramel on the cream and sprinkle on the rest of the fudge pieces.

To make the salted caramel sauce

  1. Melt the caster and soft light brown sugars in a heavy based pan.  Don’t stir; simply swirl the sugars around the pan.  After about 3 – 5 minutes, the sugars should be a golden liquid caramel, bubbling away.
  2. Take the pan off the heat and add in the butter.   Stir in the butter until it has melted.
  3. Put it back on the heat and add in the cream and half a teaspoon of the fleur de sel or sea salt flakes – don’t be tempted to use regular table salt, it won’t achieve the taste we’re looking for.  Give it a stir with a wooden spoon.  Have a little taste to see if it’s salty enough – be careful you don’t burn your tongue!  Flavours are much more muted when they are cold remember, so I go for the full allocation of salt.
  4. Let it bubble gently away for another minute or two.
  5. Take off the heat and pour into a jug or container until you’re ready to use it.

Domestic Princess tips:

  1. Make sure the bowl you’re using for the meringue is super clean.  Any traces of fat will scupper your attempts at a light, fluffy meringue.
  2. Egg whites whip up to a greater volume if they start off at room temperature.
  3. Don’t overwhisk your egg whites as if you do, they will collapse and you’ll have to start again.
  4. If you’re worried about overwhisking your eggs, add 2 drops of lemon juice to your eggs before you start whisking.
  5. If you prefer your pavlova to be crunchy the whole way through, omit the cornflour.
  6. The thicker your meringue is, the more mashmallowy it will be inside.  If you prefer a chewier consistency, then spread it out thinner on the baking parchment.
  7. Make sure you leave the pavlova to cool down in the switched-off oven.  Don’t expose the pavlova to cold air, until it is completely cool, as it will probably sink.
  8. A good rule of thumb when making meringues, is to calculate 50g of sugar for every egg white.  If you follow this, you won’t go far wrong.
  9. You can make the meringue and the salted caramel sauce the day before you want to serve it.  Keep the meringue in an airtight container until you’re ready to add the topping, just before serving.  The salted caramel will keep in the fridge for 7 to 10 days and can be frozen too.
  10. If you can’t get your hands on shop bought fudge, this is a great recipe for making it yourself.

I don’t know about you, but my mouth is watering now – I might have to make this again tomorrow!

Do you love pavlova?  Are meringues your cooking nemesis, or do you find them easy to make?

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

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