Do not ask me why but I was overcome with a deep and intense desire to make a caramel slice. Strange given it’s rarely my indulgent go-to baked good of choice. But I was going old school, and I wanted to go all the way so I used my gran’s tried and true recipe, deciding on a whim to incorporate some lavender through the caramel centre (she’d be so proud).
I have always been deeply suspicious of culinary adventurism for its own sake and I can feel the rolling eyes of many, wondering why on earth you would try to mess with something as simply spectacular as the caramel slice. But the result is divine. The lavender adds a depth and intensity to the caramel that has you going back for just one more slither/slice/piece/slab again and again. It’s also slightly fruity which helps cut through the mouth cloying density of caramel and chocolate without overpowering it. Notch it up a scale or two with a healthy sprinkling of sea salt flakes for the sort of sweet, fat, crunch and salt combo that makes you feel giddy and ashamed at the same time. This will be your new go to baked good of choice. I think it’s now mine.
Caramel slice with lavender and sea salt.
190g butter, melted
1 2/3 cup plain flour, sifted
½ cup brown sugar
395g can sweetened condensed milk
½ cup brown sugar
2 drops of lavender oil
50g unsalted butter, cubed
generous pinch of sea salt flakes
½ cup cream
½ cup chopped good quality dark chocolate
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a 20cm square baking tin then set aside. Mix the butter, flour and brown sugar in a bowl until combined then press the mixture evenly into the base of the baking tin. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until starting to brown on top. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. For the caramel, place all the ingredients, except the lavender oil, in a saucepan and cook over low heat until melted and well combined, stirring constantly to prevent it from burning and until it darkens to a caramel colour. Remove from the heat and stir through the lavender oil until well combined. Pour the caramel over the cooled base then bake for a further 10-12 minutes or until the caramel starts to bubble and turn golden. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
For the ganache, place the cream and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Use a whisk and slowly mix until glossy and smooth. Spread the ganache over the top of the cooled slice then refrigerate for 1 hour or until set. Scatter with dried lavender and a pinch of sea salt flakes if using. Use a hot, sharp knife to cut into squares before serving.