I've always loved caramel slice but it is so sweet that I can't eat more than a single piece. This slice is similar to caramel slice in taste but far more buttery and less rich. I can easily eat a few pieces of this without feeling ill.
This slice is an perfect for sharing as it makes quite a large amount. Normally I halve, or even quarter, all my recipe because otherwise they make too much for me. With this one, I decided to just go ahead and make the whole amount. I don't regret it but I did need friends to share it with. Baking is a good reason to keep friends and co-workers around.
The slice itself is pretty delicate, so photographing it was a challenge. The crumbs aren't stuck to the top, rather they just sit on it. The slightest knock and crumbs end up everywhere. It's worth it though!
Caramel crumb bars
(adapted from The Modern Baker by Nick Malgieri)
225g butter, softened
110g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
350g (2 1/2 cups) flour
35g (1/4 cup) flour, extra
60g (4 tablespoons) butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
50g (1/4 cup) brown sugar
395g (14 ounces) sweetened, condensed milk
Set the rack to the lowest level of the oven and preheat it to 180°C (350°F). Grease and line the base and sides of a 23x33x5 cm (9x13x2 inch) pan.
For the dough, beat the butter, sugar, and salt with an electric mixer until soft and light, 2-3 minutes. Add the vanilla.
On the lowest speed, beat in flour. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula and continue to mix until the dough is smooth, and the flour has been absorbed.
Scrape 3/4 of the into the prepared pan. Use the palm of your hand to press the dough down evenly, without compressing it too much. Chill the dough. Work the extra 35g (1/4 cup) flour into the remaining dough with your finger tips to form 3mm to 6 mm (1/8" to 1/4") crumbs. Set aside.
For the filling, combine butter, corn syrup, brown sugar, and sweetened condensed milk into a medium saucepan. Bring mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Allow the mixture to boil gently, stirring regularly, until it starts to thicken and darken slightly, about 10 minutes. Pour into a stainless-steel bowl to cool for 5 minutes.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and scrape the cooled filling onto the dough. Using a small offset spatula to spread the filling evenly. Scatter the crumb mixture on top.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the filling is bubbling and a deep caramel colour and the crumb topping is a light golden colour.
Cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes, until it is lukewarm. Lift the slab of baking dough out of the pan and on to a cutting board before it has completely cooled. Cut into 5cm (2") squares. Place slices on a wire rack to cool completely.