A couple of months ago I put a call out on my author Facebook page. I was, I explained, after some classic Kiwi baked favourites. The sort of slice, biscuit or cake that might be in the cabinet at any decent bakery or cafe. The sort of thing that would be on the menu at the fictional Beach Road Cafe in Queenstown.
The resultant list was a good one and included:
- Lolly cake
- Cheese rolls
- Cheese scones
- Ginger Crunch
- Belgium Slice
- Golden Syrup Pudding
- Caramel Slice
- Lemon Bars
- Tan Squares or Tan Slice – sometimes called Tan Crumble Slice
I would, I decided, bake my way through as many of these as I could while I was writing whatever it is the title of the sequel to Wish You Were Here ends up being.
Anyways, today I bring you the tan slice – a shortbread slice topped with soft caramel and a buttery shortbread crumble top. Sounds good, ay?
Super simple to make, I do mine in a square tin – 23×23 – but a normal slice tin would be fine. I also use dark chocolate chips in the topping as they seem to work better against the sweetness of the caramel filling. I did try a recipe which substituted some of the flour in the base shortbread with oats – while it gave the base a lovely ANZAC biscuit flavour and texture, I didn’t think it worked quite so well on the topping so stuck to the original shortbread. Some things don’t need faffing about with.
Oh, and for those of you who always ask me about the vintage china, this one is a vintage Shelley plate from a trio.
What you need
For the shortbread:
- 180g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 90g caster sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 200g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
For the caramel:
- 100g butter
- 1 x 400g tin condensed milk
- 2 tbsp golden syrup
What you do with it
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 23cm square tin with baking paper. If you let the paper overhang the sides a tad it will help you lift the slice out.
- Cream the butter and sugar together, then add the vanilla and mix some more. I do this in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Tip in the flour and baking powder, lower the speed and mix until combined and coming together in a soft crumbly dough.
- Press 2/3 of the mixture evenly into the tin.
- To make the caramel, combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over low-medium heat, stirring all the while, until everything has melted together and it’s thickened slightly. Take care it doesn’t catch on the base of the pan and burn.
- Pour the caramel over the base. Mix the remaining base mixture with the chocolate chips and crumble over the caramel.
- Bake slice for 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow to cool in the tin before slicing.