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Saturday, November 11, 2006
Un orage, deux voitures et un millionaire’s shortbread – Petits carrés au caramel et au chocolat

[A storm, two cars and a millionaire’s shortbread]

Millionaire's shortbread; from Donna Hay's Gourmandises

Ivonne and Orchidea, asked us to share a special dish both comforting and full of memories. Here is my little story:

There are some days that are unforgettable; I mean, not willingly unforgettable. Those kinds of days you'd prefer not to remember or actually, days that end up making great stories for long winters' nights.
Indeed, if I knew an effective mean to reprogram my brain in order to dismiss memories from these days, I'm not sure I would go for it (though, I certainly would if asked right after 'la catastrophe' [the disaster]).
Looking back, I - now - remember those times with a hint of emotion because of all the lessons they taught me and all the benefits I've retained over the years.
Funnily enough, it seems that the benefits in question are mainly food-related. As if I was more keen to cook (or more possibly to eat) when utterly shocked.

Last July - the 29th to be accurate, my home-town was hit by a violent storm. My parents had left the house a few days before for a three-week journey.
The thunder started rumbling.
Without being aware of it, I started counting the seconds to get a rough idea of the location of the storm.
1, 2... Still far!
The minute after I felt what was unknown for me before - a loud crashing noise echoed and a bright light made me blind for a short moment. All this at the same exact time. The lighting had just hit the small road in front of my house.
I rushed to the kitchen and turned off all the electric appliances - including the oven, where a cake was being baked for 'le goûter'. Then, without thinking, I grabbed my father's car keys and jumped into the car, heading towards the south to escape to the storm.
When I finally got to my boyfriend's house I felt relieved yet shocked.

That night I received a text from my parents saying they would not be reachable for the next three days.
It was ok. I was in a safe place now.
But as the saying goes, 'il ne faut pas mettre la charue avant les boeufs'.

The next day, I was waited for in Cannes. But before going there, I had to go home to change clothes.
Just four kilometres away from home, the car stopped and wouldn't start again. I tried to reach my dad with no success - then I remembered the text and wondered why such a thing happened while I was alone. Alone. I must have prayed really hard because a few moments later I could finally hear the motor.
I was more than happy to be home again.
When ready to leave, I decided to take the other car - my mother's. I didn't want to risk to stay stuck in Cannes.

I went to the party. Everything went well. But then, later that night, when I got into the car and tried to start it, everything went from 'well' to 'dark'.
The battery was dead*.

Can you believe that in two days I faced a storm and the loss of two cars?

I was devastated. Devastated yet willing to bake. I picked up the first book on the shelf and decided I would make the first recipe I would spot. Millionaire's shortbread, it was; sounded good and comforting. Just what I needed. That THE benefit from this experience. Indeed I've made this recipe at least twice since that day of July.
And everytime I make these shortbreads, I still feel the same comfort they brought me after this awful day, which obviously make them taste even better (if possible!).

Hopefully, incidents do not happen that often. That would be too exhausting a life (even if you got a keeper-recipe each time)!

* Apparently the magnetic vibes of the storm had emptied the battery.

Millionaire’s shortbread
Apart from the fact that these squares brought me all the comfort I needed after that tiring event, they are very good.
The base calls for coconut, which is a great twist for the regular shortbread. The caramel mixture is so yummy I could eat it straight from the pan with ‘une petite cuillère’ and the use of oil (I prefer to use cocoa butter, but you can easily substitute it with sunflower oil) in the chocolate layer help getting a glossy look without having to temper the chocolate.
Note – I couldn’t help but use salted butter in the caramel mixture. I am such a ‘caramel au beurre salé’ lover!

Milionnaire's shortbread

for the base
135g flour
45g dried coconut
100g brown sugar
125g butter, melted

for the caramel layer
130g golden syrup
125g salted butter (see note above), melted butter
800g sweetened condensed milk

for the chocolate layer
185g best dark chocolate
3 tsp cocoa butter (use sunflower oil if not available)

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 20cm x 30 cm pan with baking parchment.
Make the base by mixing the flour, coconut, sugar and melted butter. Spoon this mixture into the tin and press to make an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes and transfer to a wire rack.
Place the golden syrup, butter and concentrated milk in a large pan and cook over low heat for 7 minutes. The mixture should be thick and caramel-brown in colour. Pour this over the base and bake for 20 minutes into the preheated oven. Allow to cool completely at room temperature, and then go on with the chocolate.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Mix in the cocoa butter and pour over the caramel. Chill until set.
Cut into small squares and eat!

Labels: , ,

29 sweets:
Anonymous salwa said something sweet:

ohhh my god !!! so nice et trop bon !

12 November, 2006 07:24 

Blogger Alhya said something sweet:

C'est la troisième fois que je vois ces merveilles sur des blogs et tu viens de me convaincre qu'il fallait absolument les faire, je ne résiste plus!

12 November, 2006 09:38 

Blogger Camille said something sweet:

J'ai toujours eu un petit faible pour cette exubérante douceur... c'est une folie, mais c'est tellement bon ! Et quelle photo Fanny !!!

12 November, 2006 10:05 

Blogger Chantal33 said something sweet:

So delicious! I can't resist!

12 November, 2006 14:29 

Blogger L Vanel said something sweet:

Thank God you survived, Fanny. What a story! I would have been so completely traumatized if that happened to me! It made me chuckle when you said:

"I was devastated. Devastated yet willing to bake."

That made me smile.

12 November, 2006 14:52 

Anonymous bea at La Tartine Gourmande said something sweet:

Ma pauvre Fanny, what a story! I can relate to you, I saw this happen to me too here in Boston, across our house (not the car misadventure mind you). Your petits carrés are wonderful. I love this type of sweets a lot!

12 November, 2006 16:20 

Blogger Erielle said something sweet:

Beautiful photo.
If that is what millionaires eat then that is one more reason to become a millionaire.
I shall make this shortbread today. Or at least the caramel!

12 November, 2006 16:53 

Anonymous Anonymous said something sweet:

I love the story, but sorry you had to go through it! And oh the picture! Perfection!

12 November, 2006 18:03 

Blogger Pille said something sweet:

Oh, I miss millionaire's shortbread - I ate it quite regularly while living in Scotland! Your recipe sounds really tasty, so it's been bookmarked already:)

13 November, 2006 09:24 

Anonymous anna sarah said something sweet:

pourquoi pourquoi toujours de la noix de coco... Non je rigole ca a l air tres bon, comme d hab ;)

13 November, 2006 18:46 

Blogger Melissa said something sweet:

When it rains, it pours!
Great story and even better Shorbreads!

13 November, 2006 19:56 

Anonymous Melissa said something sweet:

Wonderful story, Fanny, and gorgeous picture! Millionaire's shortbread is one of my favorites, but I've never even attempted to make it myself. I must remedy that soon! And I'm with you 100% on the salted butter - I can't imagine what kind of people prefer their caramel unsalted...

13 November, 2006 20:16 

Blogger milie said something sweet:

Que de malheurs!! C'est rageant quand on sent que le sort s'acharne, mais au final, tu as fait ces petits carrés qui sont à croquer! Miam miam!

14 November, 2006 22:31 

Anonymous Ivonne said something sweet:


Ils sont délicieux! (I wonder if I make these if I will meet a millionnaire ... hmmm ...)

Merci beaucoup for taking part in this event, Fanny! Your blog is exactly as the title says ... 100% sweet.

And I can definitely see how these little bars would comfort you after the storm and the car troubles!

It's always a pleasure ... merci!

15 November, 2006 13:42 

Anonymous Grignote said something sweet:

Je ne vais pas pouvoir resister longtemps à cette tentation...

15 November, 2006 15:53 

Anonymous Anonymous said something sweet:

Very nice story, you described it perfectly... and I can totally feel the comfort in baking and eating you millionaire's shortbread.
Thanks for participating this event.

15 November, 2006 21:07 

Blogger Catalepticat said something sweet:

Bonsoir, Dear Fanny! I'm glad you made it home. The cookies look delicious.

I have to confess, I love thunderstorms, especially the strong, windy ones. When they come, and the sensible people retreat to their basements, I go out into the yard and feel the wind blow against me and watch the trees sway in the wind. I even enjoy the crash of thunder.

16 November, 2006 01:34 

Blogger Brilynn said something sweet:

well you definitely got an interesting story out of the event, and a very delicious looking recipe!

16 November, 2006 18:35 

Anonymous mickymath said something sweet:

bonsir fanny, je ne savais plus ou tu étais!! merçi de ta gentillesse!! mais comme tu a l'air gentille!je souris lorsque je vois ton visage d'ange! je voudrais ta recette, là sur le blog mais je ne comprend pas l'anglais!! comment faire? elle me plais vraiment beaucoup et je suis certaine qu'elle est exellente!peut être pourrais tu me l'envoyer pas mail! bises ma chère fanny!! je ne te perdrais plus!! je vais prendre ton rss!bonne soirée micheline

16 November, 2006 21:30 

Anonymous Anonymous said something sweet:

Wow. In Australia we call that a Caramel Slice - but Millionare shortbread sounds so much nicer :)

17 November, 2006 06:53 

Anonymous Hizuru said something sweet:

Oh my... I just found your blog today. You're AMAZING!
You have such an artistic talent!

17 November, 2006 16:59 

Anonymous Hizuru said something sweet:

I meant to say 'amazing' artistic talent...!

Will look forward to your next blog.

17 November, 2006 17:00 

Anonymous Mae said something sweet:

Oh, my! Fanny, i am so glad that you came out of it all fine.

I love millionaire's shortbread. I buy them from M&S. I know... please don't tell me off.

I hope i get to try this recipe some day :)

Thank you for sharing your story.

19 November, 2006 12:15 

Anonymous Tam & Laura said something sweet:

C'etait tragique, mais le shortbread est trop bon!

Nous aimons le blog!

19 November, 2006 14:17 

Anonymous Anonymous said something sweet:

What an ordeal you had to go through. Your millionaire’s shortbread looks absolutely delightful.

21 November, 2006 00:37 

Anonymous Anonymous said something sweet:

shortbread is oh so popular these days. I ran across it three times on blogs, before your site. However, without question, yours is the best story and drool-inducing photo!

21 November, 2006 15:05 

Blogger foodiemama said something sweet:

wow..amazing! cannot wait to try it!

24 November, 2006 22:04 

Blogger Fanny said something sweet:

Hi there - thank you so much for all your nice comments.

Coucou Salwa - je suis d'ac avec toi: trop bon!

Coucou Alhya - vas-y fonce.

Coucou Camille - oui une petite folie. Un gateau tout simple. Pas sophistiqué mais irrestible.

Hi Chantal - then go for it.

Hi Lucy - i was traumatised actually. Though these slices were enough to comfort me.

Hi Bea - wow, then you understand how scared i felt when i saw this huge 'eclair' (not the pastry - sadly) just few meters away from my house.

Hi Erielle - you're such a clever girl. I hadn't thought about this before, but yes that's another reason for wanting to be a milionaire!

Hi Anali - thanks for your compassion.

Hi Pille - Scotland is definitely my next destination. And if you ate these over there I must be right.

Hello Anna-Sarah - he he he. En fait je le fais exprès. Tu sais quoi j'y avais même pas pensé. Promis, la prochaine recette = pas de coconut.

Hi Melissa - hopefully i had these little delights on hand otherwise i wouldn't be here to answer your comment.

Hi Melissa - salted caramel is just SO good.

Coucou Milie - exactement. Ou comment dire en trois lignes ce que j'ai mis une page à expliquer. Fanny et la concision c'est pas encore ça!

Hi Ivonne - that's MY pleasure.

Coucou Grignote - je comprends et compatie à 100%.

Hi Orchidea - as i just said to Ivonne, thank YOU for this event. Such a great idea.

Hi Patrick - wow wow wow. I really admire you then. I wish i wouldn't be scared.
I know I would love to feel
the wind and electricty in the air.

Hi Brilynn - thank you for your nice words.

Coucou Micheline - je te l'envoie dès que possible.

Hi Anonymous ( funny to write that) - thanks for letting the poor ignorant i am know that interesting fact about my now much-loved caramel slices.

Hi Hirizu - thank you SO much. That's very nice of you.

Hi Mae - don't be ashamed. I love M&S too and always buy tons of pastry and other sweet things there.

Coucou Tam et Laura - merci beaucoup.

Hi robyn - thanks. I'm glad you like it.

Hi Jessica - i wasn't aware of millionaire's shortbread being so popular but then i totally understand. Once you've tasted it's too late: you're addicted!

Hi Foodie Mama - thanks. Have fun in the kitchen.


27 November, 2006 19:30 

Anonymous Aïda said something sweet:

Mais il est troo bo ton blog 'spécial Noel' !!

06 December, 2006 18:51 

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