Thursday, October 8, 2009
I wrote a couple of weeks ago that the sequel to “Ladies, A Plate” had been published. My youngest sister, who as I have mentioned before loves caramel slice, was up a couple of weeks ago, so it was the perfect opportunity to try the tan square from Ladies, A Plate, a second helping. Tan Square is a caramel slice which has a shortcake style base, a caramel filling and then a topping which is some of the base mixture reserved and crumbled over the top.
Traditional tan square has a rather mean layer of caramel in it, and as with the way most slices were back in the 1950s and 1960s (judging by the quantities in recipe books of that era) the slice was a thinner more delicate version of the huge hunks of slice we see cafes today. I must admit though when it comes to caramel slice, be it tan square or any other version, my preference is for thick caramel and a decent wedge of biscuit base on the bottom. So, I did play around with this recipe quite a bit, doubling the caramel mixture and also making more base than suggested. The original recipe had chopped walnuts added to the crumble topping – I left those out and just added more chocolate chips. My other trick to making a delicious caramel slice is to slightly under cook it, giving a deliciously gooey slice. If you don’t have access to golden syrup, you could add some brown sugar, but you wont get quite the same syrupy flavour to the caramel. I guess you could also try maple syrup but that will also give you a slightly different taste.
Tan Square (adapted from so as to not really even resemble the recipe in A Second helping)
1 tsp vanilla
½ c chocolate chips
• Cream butter, sugar and vanilla
• Mix in flour
• Spread 2/3 of the mixture into a lined 23cm square tin. Pop the rest of the mixture into the fridge while you make the caramel
2 generous tbsp golden syrup
1 400g can condensed milk
• Stir ingredients together in a small pot over a gentle heat until butter is melted and the caramel is thick
• Pour over the base, then stir the chocolate chips into the reserved base mixture and crumble over the caramel
• Bake at 175c for 20-25 minutes until golden