The only appropriate way to consume shortbread. A little time-consuming, but well worth the effort - and it gives you a good excuse to make some toffee too.
250g plain flour
325g unsalted butter
75g caster sugar
1 tin of condensed milk (approx 397g)
100g golden syrup
350g chocolate (I suggest 200g dark, 150g milk)
Large bowl (you'll need to wash it up halfway)
Saucepan - preferably a quality one with a heavy bottom
Wooden spoon, metal spoons (a mix of pudding and tea spoons would be ideal)
Square baking tin, about 20-25cm each side
Food processor (optional)
First, grease the baking tin with a bit of spare butter, and line it with greaseproof paper.
Lining it is neater with a strip cut to the width of the tin, going up and over the sides. You can do another strip in the other direction, but I don't normally bother - the key is having something to pull on when you're done.
Top tip: grease the dry side of the greaseproof paper too, so it'll peel off the shortbread more easily.
Now make the shortbread base.
Pre-heat the oven to 150C
Put the 250g plain flour and 75g caster sugar in the large bowl
Rub in 175g of the butter - cut it up smallish, push it around and rub it between your fingers until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs, or better yet, whizz them all together in a food processor
Knead it together a bit in the bowl until it all sticks together to form a dough
Tip the dough into the bottom of the tin and press it out into the corners
Flatten it and smooth it out with the back of a metal spoon
Prick the top of the dough lightly with a fork - this will help any air to escape, so it stays flat while cooking
Put it in the oven for about 30 minutes, until golden brown. Think custard cream/jammie dodger golden, not digestive/hobnob brown. Or shortbread brown - it should look like shortbread.
Put it to one side so it can cool a bit - but leave it in the tin
Now make the caramel.
Chop up the remaining 150g of butter into your saucepan
Add the tin of condensed milk and the 100g of golden syrup (about 3 heaped pudding spoons full)
Turn the hob on low, just to melt the butter, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon
Keep stirring until the butter is melted, and all mixed in and smooth
Slowly increase the temperature until you get the right temperature to get bubbles forming across the top of the mixture. Keep stirring gently - you don't want anything to stick to the bottom or the sides, otherwise it could burn or split.
Continue to boil it until it thickens a bit and turns golden brown. When you start boiling it, it'll run off the spoon like water, but by the time it's ready it will still run off the spoon, but it will be more reluctant, and some will stay behind.
Take it off the heat for a couple of minutes to let it cool a little bit
Pour it over the top of the shortbread (still in the tin), and let it cool completely (an hour or two)
Now add the chocolate layer.
Put some water in a saucepan and bring it to the boil, with the mixing bowl set above it - so the bowl sits above the water without touching the bottom of the saucepan
Break your 350g chocolate into the bowl
Stir the chocolate until it has melted and is smooth
Pour the chocolate over the top of the shortbread and caramel (still in the tin) and let it cool completely (a couple of hours)
I let it cool for a couple of hours, then put it in the fridge to really make it set. You lose the shine on the chocolate, but it makes it a lot easier to cut.
Now just tip it out of the tin, cut it up, and try not to eat it all at once.