Caramel Slice

I love caramel slice but am constantly disappointed by the thick-bottomed, chalky and bland mass-produced stuff you buy at many cafes around the place. Instead, when I can be bothered, I make my own… and it’s amazing (if I do say so myself). The recipe originally came from my Mum’s high school cookbook and I am eternally grateful to the Annesley College Mothers’ Club for sharing it. It is very simple to make, using very few ingredients, and is perfect for occasions when you’re asked to ‘bring a plate’. The hardest part is not eating it all in one sitting (which is why I often make a double batch).

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Ingredients
Base:
185g plain flour
125g butter, softened
60g sugar

Caramel layer:
125g butter, chopped
125g sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
½ tin condensed milk

Topping:
150g dark cooking chocolate

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Method
To make the base, grease and line a swiss roll tin (or lamington tin – whatever you have, it will just alter the thickness of each layer) and preheat the oven to 180°C (or 160°C fan-forced). Rub butter into flour, add sugar and press evenly into the prepared tin. Bake for 20mins or until golden brown.

To make the caramel, put the butter, sugar, golden syrup and condensed milk into a heavy-based saucepan and boil for 5 minutes, stirring all the time (pay particular attention and scrape the bottom of the pan, otherwise it will burn).

Pour over the base. Leave to cool for about an hour.

Finally, to make the topping, melt the chocolate in the microwave or on the stovetop. Pour over the caramel.

Once set, cut into even squares using a knife dipped in hot water between each slice (so it cuts easily and leaves the layers intact).

Enjoy!

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Adapted from ‘Caramel Slice’ in the Annesley College Mothers’ Club Cookbook

Quick & Easy Belgian Waffles

I recently purchased a Cuisinart 4 slice belgian waffle maker (not easy to come by as they’ve been discontinued, but they continue to get the best reviews world-wide) and have been making waffles almost non-stop in a quest to find the perfect recipe. The waffles themselves have to be golden brown, crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside, preferably with a mild vanilla flavour. Ideally, they would also be quick to whip up (waffles are often made on a whim in my experience) and freeze well.

My first attempt was halfway there – crispy on the outside and soft on the inside (in fact texturally perfect) but they had a horrible flavour due to an incredible amount of baking powder. My second attempt tasted good but were flat and soft – not at all right. Finally, after much research, I found a recipe on Allrecipes.com that I have adapted so they produce, in my opinion, the ultimate belgian waffles. While not strictly traditional (no yeast) these are super fast to make, use only one bowl, and are better for you than traditional belgian waffles as they are made with vegetable oil rather than butter. They also taste AMAZING! I dare you to stop at one 🙂

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Ingredients (makes 6-8 waffles depending on thickness)
2 eggs
2 cups plain flour
1 ¾ cups milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons white sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons vanilla extract

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Method
Heat waffle iron (I tend to use level 3½). Beat eggs in a large bowl with handheld beaters until light and bubbly. Beat in flour, milk, oil, sugar, baking powder & vanilla until smooth and incorporated.

Spray preheated waffle iron with non-stick cooking oil. Pour mix onto the waffle iron (I use a ladle and the spread with a silicone spatula). Cook until golden brown (I like to check every 3 minutes or so and tend to leave it in a little longer than my machine thinks – it beeps when it’s “ready”). Dust with icing sugar, cut in half if desired and serve warm with toppings of your choice. Enjoy!

thumb_IMG_1529_1024Adapted from ‘Waffles I’ – allrecipes.com