Rose and lemon scented caramel shortbread or

Shortbread by Any Other Name

‘What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet,’ Romeo & Juliet, William Shakespeare

The lemon and the occasional crunch of a salt crystal helps to balance the sweetness of the caramel, while the rose chocolate gives the flavour of a summer garden even in the dark days of winter. It’s best served from the fridge.

Recipe courtesy of @petitefeet posted in honour of #nationalshortbreadday

For the shortbread biscuits

90g plain flour

60g unsalted butter

30g caster sugar

1 big pinch Halen Mon vanilla salt crystals

Finely grated zest of 2 large unwaxed lemons

(optional lemon essence)

One 6” diameter shallow paper baking case or tin

 

For the Caramel

A small tin evaporated milk

1 tablespoon golden syrup

30 g caster sugar

60g butter

 

For the chocolate topping

Swiss white chocolate

Petals of the Valley Rosa Damascena Rose water to taste

Crystalised rose petals (picture shows homemade but you can also buy the tiny versions)

 

METHOD:

Set the oven to 170 non-fan

Melt the white chocolate for the topping in a bowl over a pan of hot water and allow it to melt without stirring at all at this point.

In the food processor, cream the sugar and butter together. Add the zest of the two unwaxed lemons. At this point you may decide to make it even more lemony and you can add a couple of drops of lemon essence. Add the flour and salt all at once and mix until crumbly dough. Roll out into a six-inch round and press into the cake case or tin. Prick it all over and bake at 170 in the middle of a non-fan oven until the shortbread is golden all over, about 20-25 mins. Take it out of the oven and leave to solidify and cool. (I prefer non-fan ovens for this as the fan tends to brown it too fast.)

While the shortbread is in the oven, melt the sugar, golden syrup and butter into the condensed milk in a pan. Do this over a low heat to begin with, but then stir it constantly, turning up the heat, to create a thick, luscious caramel. This can take a little while. It should get to the consistency of glossy buttercream. It’s best to give this your full attention as it can ruin in a moment if you turn your back on it.

Remove the caramel from the heat and allow it to cool a little. Then spread it evenly over the cooled shortbread. I then put it into the fridge or freezer for a few minutes to set.

Now turn your attention to the melted chocolate. Add to it as much rosewater as you like depending on the tastes of those with whom you’re sharing it. I like up to one teaspoon, or enough to scent the chocolate with rosewater like it means business. Just a word of caution: once you have added the rosewater to the melted chocolate, stir it in quickly and straight away apply it evenly and not too thickly to the caramel layer of the shortbread. If you mess around with it, delay, or return it to the heat, the chocolate will become stiff. If this does happen, just treat it like a dough and roll it out.

Let the chocolate set and decorate with crystallised rose petals. Refrigerate.