Monday, 21 October 2013

Shortcake biscuits with salted peanut caramel filling

shortcake biscuit with salted peanut caramel filling

I love baking when there is no pressure - an opportunity to try something new, experiment with new techniques and flavours, without the pressure of cooking for an occasion. A couple of weeks ago, I had a quiet Sunday afternoon with nothing planned and so decided to try out this recipe, recommended tby a friend. I’d never baked with peanuts and never tried making proper caramel so they seemed like something fun to try out!

The caramel peanuts were actually very easy to make – just keep a very close eye on the caramel while it is in the pan. Don’t stir it but give it a very gentle swirl when you can see it turning golden – just to ensure that it cooks evenly.

The biscuits were simple, but time-consuming to make. Don’t make these if you are in a hurry! The actual processing time is fairly quick and easy but you do need to let the biscuits rest in the fridge twice before baking. Once cool, the biscuits are a lovely crunchy texture and have a great flavour, even without all the extra bits!

Using a tin of Carnation caramel to sandwich the biscuits is easy – you could make the caramel yourself (see recipe for Millionaire’s shortbread) but for these, the ready-made caramel works just fine.

Overall, these biscuits are very sweet but tasty – I think my dad would love them! They are best eaten fresh – when the biscuits are lovely and crunchy and contrast well with the smooth sticky caramel. They do last ok – probably for about 5 days, but the biscuits lose their crunch after about a day and so aren’t quite so good.  

Shortcake biscuits with salted peanut caramel filling

shortcake biscuits with salted peanut caramel filling on a wire cooling rack

For the caramel peanuts

  1. 50g caster sugar
  2. 1 tbsp water
  3. 2 tbsp salted peanut halves

For the biscuits

  1. 250g unsalted butter
  2. 250g caster sugar
  3. 2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
  4. 375g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

For the salted peanut caramel filling

  1. 300g dulce de leche / Carnation caramel
  2. ½ tsp sea salt flakes
  3. 1 tbsp salted peanuts, chopped
  4. 75g dark chocolate, melted


  1. For the caramel peanuts, line a non-stick baking tray with baking parchment and arrange the peanuts on the tray.
  2. Heat the sugar and water in a saucepan until the sugar melts and the mixture is boiling and golden-brown in colour (do not stir the caramel).
  3. Pour the caramel over the peanuts and set aside to harden.
  4. Once set, roughly chop the caramel peanuts and set aside.
  5. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl, then beat in the peanut butter until well combined. Sift over the flour and stir until the mixture comes together as a dough.
  6. Divide the dough into two balls, cover both with cling film and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  7. Place the first piece of dough between two sheets of baking parchments. (This means that you do not have to add extra flour when rolling.)
  8. Roll the dough out evenly until it is approximately 5-6mm thick all over (you can buy rolling guides, but I have this rolling pin, which is brilliant!). If the top or bottom sheets of parchment crinkle at any time, peel it off and smooth out.
  9. Cut out biscuits, with a 5cm round cookie cutter, cutting each one as close to the last as possible, in order to use the dough efficiently. Re-roll the dough as necessary, but try to work the dough as little as possible.
  10. Place the biscuits onto the lined baking trays and chill for a further 15 minutes.
  11. Preheat the oven to 170C and line two baking sheets with baking parchment.
  12. Bake the biscuits in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until golden-brown.
  13. Remove the biscuits from the oven and set aside to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
  14. Repeat stages 8-13 for the second piece of biscuit dough. 
  15. Spread the caramel on half the biscuits, then sprinkle with sea salt and chopped peanuts. Sandwich together with a plain biscuit.
  16. Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let the base of the bowl touch the water).
  17. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the biscuits then sprinkle over the caramel peanuts.
  18. Set aside until the chocolate has set, then serve.

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