Caramel Almond Slice
I forever think of my mum, Cooee, when I make this, as caramel and nuts were two of her favourite things. When she no longer cooked, I used to bake this slice for her as she had a sweet tooth and a meal was never complete for her without a little ‘something’ sweet to finish it off. I can still see her sitting by the window, her elegant fingers reaching for first one…then two, and inevitably, three slices!! It’s such a happy memory. I do love the way that food links us with our past and our loved ones, as I can almost feel her warm and comforting presence standing beside me in the kitchen when I bake this.
Makes 30-40 pieces
250g unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
2 egg yolks
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (300g) plain flour
½ cup (75g) self-raising flour
1/3 cup (40g) custard powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (220g) brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
180g unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon salt
250g flaked almonds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 180C and lightly butter a 32 x 24 x 5cm baking tin then set it aside.
For the base, in a large bowl beat the butter and sugar on medium speed with an electric mixer for 5 minutes or until they’re light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each one is added, then mix in the vanilla extract. Sift the flours, custard powder and salt into the bowl and mix everything together on low speed until it’s well combined.
Scrape the dough into the prepared tin and pat it out with your hands so it covers the base evenly. To ensure it’s as even as possible, roll a small tumbler over the top to help smooth it out.
Bake the base for 25-30 minutes, or until it’s somewhat puffed up and golden brown. Meanwhile, about halfway through the cooking time, start preparing the almond topping. Put the brown sugar, honey, butter and salt in a heavy-based saucepan over low heat. Stir it until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves then stop stirring, and simmer the mixture for 10 minutes. Add the almonds and vanilla extract and mix them in well, then take it off the heat and keep warm.
When the base is ready, remove it from the oven and leave it to cool for a few minutes. Scrape the warm topping over it, working quickly to spread it out evenly, otherwise it will start to set and you’ll end up battling to get it smooth. Return the slice to the oven and bake for another 12-15 minutes or until the top is slightly bubbly and golden. When it’s ready, transfer it to a wire rack to cool.
Once the slice is barely warm, gently loosen around the edges and cut it into bars or diamonds. Leave it to cool completely in the tin, then gently lever out the pieces. (Alternatively, carefully ease the whole slab out of the tin, and use a heavy chef’s knife to slice it.) Store them in airtight containers layered with baking paper. They keep well for about five days at cool room temperature (or at least 10 days if you store them in the fridge) although the base will soften a bit over time. They also freeze well for up to 3 weeks. .