Friday, November 30, 2012

Christmas Baking: Shortbread biscuits with caramel centre

Last year I was super broke come Christmas time, so when deciding on a present for Tom's parents and grandparents I baked a bunch of biscuits for them and put them into pretty reusable biscuit jars. In anticipation of a similar broke status and desire to bake (what is it about Christmas that makes baking so much more wonderful?) I picked up a copy of Women's Weekly Christmas Baking, one of the greatest recipe books ever. For anyone ever wanting to bake or cook, check out Ebay for these cookbooks (they have one for absolutely everything, and their huge COOK cookbook is out of this world), because Women's Weekly (a magazine here in Australia) triple tests their recipes in different residential ovens. This is important, dear friends, because commercial ovens operate completely differently to the one in your kitchen, which is why you've possibly had unsuccessful attempts at cooking those fancy recipes from those fancy chefs (can you sense my frustration here?). Anyway, recipes that work + Christmas + baking + rustic little gift wrap options = super fantastic and awesome. Although I really wanted to test out the eggnog macarons, I decided to test something that looked a little easier and just as tasty. And since they were so goddamn good, I'm going to share them for you here now. These are my third batch of them, and they're definitely getting a little better each time, so if you don't make melt in the mouth shortbread the first time around DON'T PANIC!

Shortbread Biscuits with Caramel filling*:


395g (12 1/2 ounces) canned sweetened condensed milk
250g (8 ounces) butter (softened)
3/4 cup icing/confectioner's sugar (sifted)
1 1/2 cup plain/all purpose flour (sifted) - I actually added a little less than this, maybe 1 or 2 tbsp less.
1/2 cup wheaten cornflour/cornstarch (sifted)
2 tsp ground cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 160 deg C/325 deg F and line some trays with baking paper.
2. Beat softened butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Stir in the flour, cornflour and cinnamon, in two batches. Make sure it's completely mixed. For melt in the mouth shortbread it needs to be nice and buttery, so if it looks crumbly it won't turn out as nice as it should.
4. Dust your hands in flour and start rolling the mixture into small balls (about 1.5cm diameter) and place them onto the trays. These don't expand too much, but you should probably leave about an inch or so in between each biscuit.
5. Dip a fork into flour (it makes sure it doesn't stick to the biscuits) and gently press each ball down a little.
6. Bake for about 15 minutes (but check at 10 just in case). Stand the shortbread on the tray for about 5 minutes until they cool just a touch, and then transfer them over to wire trays.

To Make Caramel: 

This can be done either before or after the biscuits have been made. Once the caramel is in them though they don't last as long so if you're making the biscuits ahead of time, leave the caramel to the day of or day before they're needed.

1.  preheat oven to 220 deg C/425 deg F.
2. Pour condensed milk into a shallow oven-proof dish and cover in foil. Place this dish into a roasting pan or similar. Add boiling water to the pan/dish until it comes about halfway up the side of the dish with the caramel inside. This water needs to remain at around this height, so be sure to keep an eye on it and top it up if need me. Otherwise you'll burn the caramel, which will make you sad.
3. Bake for about 1.5 hours (check caramel every half hour or so) until the condensed milk is a nice brown, or y'know caramel, colour.
4. Remove and leave to cool until it's needed. When you're ready to fill the biscuits, whisk the caramel until it's smooth and then go for gold!


*Concentrate the caramel to the centre of the biscuit, because once the lid goes on the caramel will spread and possibly dribble over the side.
*If the dough mixture is a little soft (this'll probably be a problem only for those of us in the sunny Southern Hemisphere) put the bowl into the fridge for 5 minutes and it'll firm up.
*Use a teaspoon so that you can get the balls as similar in size as possible. It makes matching them up a whole lot easier.
*Add some orange zest, vanilla or another spice to the dough in the butter/sugar stage for something a little different.
*Leave the caramel out and make larger biscuits for something less sweet but still super tasty.

*This recipe is adapted slightly from the original recipe in the Women's Weekly Christmas Baking cookbook, but the recipe remains theirs.


  1. Um, YUM! These look amazing. I might just have to make them.

    1. You'd be crazy not to! They're a little time consuming, but really easy and super tasty. I made some for Tom's grandpa last week and they were a hit!



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