Christmas baking for kids with allergies by Sam Thewlis
Christmas Caramel Slice
In honour of @mumstheboss ‘ cakes blogging carnival I thought I would contribute my Gran’s Caramel Slice recipe, particularly given I have just made some to take to the MumsClub Christmas Party tomorrow. Hopefully some of my tasters might jump on here and give me a review of them. Assuming they find them as yummy as I do that is!
Anyway, Christmas is a great excuse to cook (and eat) some deliciously bad for you treats and this is my absolute favourite. As my Gran is now 87 next birthday I had to learn how to cook them myself (and 112 miles round trip is a bit far!) and if I can do it anyone can. Just ask my husband (who does all the cooking in our house).
I am actually posting two versions here. The first is the traditional version and the second is my own variation especially for my small son. We found out earlier this year that he suffers from multiple allergies after a severe reaction to a peanut. At latest count he is also allergic (ranging from mild to moderate) to dairy, wheat, nuts, eggs and soya. As a result, the second version is probably less tasty, but is wheat free, gluten free, dairy free, soya free and egg free. Believe me, a rare occurence!
For the shortbread base, combine 4 oz butter, 2 oz caster sugar and 6 oz self raising flour in a bowl. With your hands. Believe me there is no point trying to use a spoon. It is pointless. Just get your hands in and scrunch. When it is mixed through, and don’t worry it will be crumbly, press it out into a square (or rather rectangle) shallow baking tray. Mine is about 6 inches by 10 inches. Pat it down in the tray so it fills evenly and to the corners. Don’t squash it to within an inch of its life, just so that it sits comfortably. Bake in a medium oven (Gas Mark 4/ 175C) for 15 to 20 mins until golden brown. Allow to cool.
For the caramel, melt 4 oz butter in a pan and add 4oz caster sugar, 2 tablespoons of golden syrup and half a tin of condensed milk. Keep on a moderate heat and stir CONTINUOUSLY for 5-10 minutes. This does get a bit boring, but try and have something interesting on the telly. You will know when it is ready because it will change colour slightly- it starts off quite yellowy and will turn a darker, more golden colour. Pour over the cooled biscuit base and leave to set. Somewhere level.
Finally, once the caramel has cooled, melt 6oz of chocolate (plain or milk are good. Never tried it with white, but if that’s your thing, feel free) and pour over the top. Try and wait until it sets before slicing and chomping.
The main problems with an allergy alternative are the caramel and the chocolate. Both contain milk and chocolate normally contains soya lecithin. As a result this is more chocolate covered shortcake than caramel slice, but who’s complaining? Note that all the ingredients I use can be found in main supermarkets. Because I shop in supermarkets.
The biscuit base follows the same scrunching method as above but uses 4 oz of So Good dairy/soya/gluten free margarine, 4 oz of caster sugar, 6 oz of rice flour and1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder. The extra sugar is to combat the more savoury flavour of the rice flour. Cook at Gas Mark 4/175C for 20 minutes. It won’t go proper golden brown, but will singe slightly at the top.
When cool, mix 1 tablespoon of golden syrup with as much cocoa powder as you like to taste. Note this is proper cocoa, not drinking chocolate. Drizzle the runny chocolate over the biscuit and put in the fridge (or a really cold place) to encourage setting. Slice and serve.