by Julie Van Rosendaal
Ale adds a distinctive hoppiness to rich caramel – it’s perfect sandwiched between shortbread and chocolate.
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. butter, cut into pieces
3/4 c. (about half a bottle) ale or stout, divided
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. corn syrup or Roger’s golden syrup
1/4 t. sea salt
1 c. chopped dark or semisweet chocolate
Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar and salt; add the butter and blend with a fork or your fingers until well combined and crumbly. Press into a parchment-lined 8x8-inch pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until pale golden around the edges. Remove and set aside. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, simmer 1/2 c. of the ale for about 20 minutes, until it’s reduced by more than half. Set aside.
To make the caramel, in a largish pot (it will bubble up) combine 1/4 c. more of the ale (from the bottle), sugars, butter, cream, syrup and salt over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 244°F on a candy thermometer. Stir in the reduced ale and pour over the shortbread base. Let stand or chill until firm.
Melt the chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave or in a double boiler over simmering water. Spread over the set caramel and let stand or refrigerate for 10 minutes, until set. Run a thin knife around the edge of the pan and invert the squares onto a cutting board, then cut into squares or bars with a sharp, heavy knife.
Makes 16 squares.