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
For the caramel peanuts
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp salted peanut halves
For the biscuits
- 250g unsalted butter
- 250g caster sugar
- 2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
- 375g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
For the salted peanut caramel filling
- 300g dulce de leche / Carnation caramel
- ½ tsp sea salt flakes
- 1 tbsp salted peanuts, chopped
- 75g dark chocolate, melted
- For the caramel peanuts, line a non-stick baking tray with baking parchment and arrange the peanuts on the tray.
- 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).
- Pour the caramel over the peanuts and set aside to harden.
- Once set, roughly chop the caramel peanuts and set aside.
- 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.
- Divide the dough into two balls, cover both with cling film and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- Place the biscuits onto the lined baking trays and chill for a further 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 170C and line two baking sheets with baking parchment.
- Bake the biscuits in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until golden-brown.
- Remove the biscuits from the oven and set aside to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
- Repeat stages 8-13 for the second piece of biscuit dough.
- Spread the caramel on half the biscuits, then sprinkle with sea salt and chopped peanuts. Sandwich together with a plain biscuit.
- Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let the base of the bowl touch the water).
- Drizzle the melted chocolate over the biscuits then sprinkle over the caramel peanuts.
- Set aside until the chocolate has set, then serve.