Must Try at Home! Easy Caramel Slice
Learn how to make homemade Caramel Slice from scratch. These amazing Caramel Squares are made up of three gorgeous layers of coconut shortbread, chewy caramel and a thick coating of chocolate.
This has been a highly requested recipe and I’m SO happy to finally share the results with you. This gorgeous Caramel Slice, also known as Millionaire’s Shortbread or Caramel Squares, is perfection in one piece.
It features a melt-in-your-mouth coconutty shortbread cookie crust, a layer of sticky caramel made with sweetened condensed milk and a thick chocolate topping that’ll make you weak at the knees.
If you love all things caramel, you’ll adore this Caramel Slice.
After testing this recipe 6 or 7 times, I know how to make a mean Caramel Slice and also a not very good one. Which means I can now tell you all my secrets for making perfect Caramel Slice. I tried loads of variations, from fancy caramels to different cooking times and ratios. But sometimes simple is best amiright?
And this recipe is just that. An easy shortbread crust – the same one I use for my favourite Coconut Jam Slice – and a simple caramel made from sweetened condensed milk. It’s the kind of recipe you can throw together with what you have in the pantry and know your guests, friends or family will be biting into a slice of caramel-filled heaven.
Let’s break it down
Making the shortbread crust
This shortbread crust only has four ingredients. Flour for stability, powdered sugar for sweetness and that melt-in-your-mouth texture, coconut for flavour and melted butter as the binder.
Start by lining an 8-inch square baking tin with baking or parchment paper, making sure two sides overhang. This will make it easier to remove the slice later on. I don’t recommend using a larger baking tin or pan because the layers will be too thin.
Whisk together your sugar, flour and coconut. I recommend measuring them out using a kitchen scale if you can. Then pour over your melted butter and stir to combine. The mixture will resemble wet sand and appear crumbly – this is totally fine.
Add it to your prepared tin and then use the back of a dessert spoon to press it down to form one even layer. Bake for around 12 minutes or until it starts to turn golden on the edges. Remove and let it cool slightly while you make your caramel.
Making the caramel
This caramel is made using sweetened condensed milk and butter. It’s thick and sweet, but you do need to take care when you’re making it. Here’s what I’ve learnt:
Start by adding your sweetened condensed milk and butter to a medium saucepan and place on medium heat. You can also add a tablespoon of golden syrup or maple syrup for extra flavour, but if you don’t have any, it’ll still work.
It’s important to heat the caramel on a MEDIUM heat only. Too hot and you will burn the caramel and it will stick to the bottom of the saucepan or you will get little flecks of burnt caramel floating in it.
Watch the caramel like a hawk and keep stirring your caramel at all times. Pull up a chair because you will need to sit there for at least 10 minutes until it turns golden brown and thickens. The change is subtle but see above photo for colour guidance.
Once your caramel is ready, pour it over the shortbread crust and bake it for an additional 12 minutes. Think of this as your insurance that your caramel will set and be easy to cut later.
Making the chocolate topping
The final layer of a mean Caramel Slice is the chocolate topping. It’s the easiest layer of this three-part dessert.
Use a good quality chocolate – one you would eat by itself as it’s an important element of the slice. You don’t want to put all the hard work into making the cookie crust and caramel and then top it with rubbish chocolate.
You can use whatever chocolate you like. The most common topping is milk chocolate, but I like to use a mix of dark and milk chocolate to help cut through the sweetness. It’s up to you!
Add a tablespoon of oil to the chocolate once it’s melted. Why? So you have no problems cutting the chocolate later once it’s set in the fridge. Sometimes cold chocolate can crack but that little touch of oil ensures perfect slices every time. I usually use vegetable oil or coconut oil, but any mild tasting oil should work.
- Coconut shortbread
- 65 grams (1/2 cup) icing or powdered sugar
- 140 grams (1 cup) plain flour
- 75 grams (3/4 cup) desiccated coconut
- 115 grams (1/2 cup or 1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 240 ml (1 cup) sweetened condensed milk
- 60 grams (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon golden syrup or maple syrup, optional
- Sea salt
- 225 grams (1 and 1/2 cups) milk or dark chocolate, broken into pieces
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or coconut oil
- Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F) standard / 160 C (320 F) fan-forced. Grease and line an 8 inch square baking tin with baking or parchment paper, ensuring two sides overhang (this will make it easier to remove the slice later).
- In a large mixing bowl, add sugar, flour and coconut. Whisk to combine. Add melted butter and stir until moist. Mixture should resemble wet sand.
- Place mixture into baking pan and press down to form one even layer. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes or until the crust is slightly golden on the edges. Remove from oven and set aside while you make the caramel.
- In a medium-sized saucepan, add sweetened condensed milk, butter and syrup (if using). Place on a medium heat and stir constantly until the butter melts. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until caramel turns golden brown and thickens slightly. This takes at least 10 minutes so be patient!
- Once caramel has thickened, remove from heat and stir in a pinch of salt. Pour over shortbread crust. Then bake for another 12 minutes or until golden brown on the edges. Leave to cool for 30 minutes (sprinkle over extra sea salt if you like) before adding chocolate topping.
- Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat until melted, stirring every 30 seconds. Once chocolate is melted and smooth, add oil and stir. Then pour over caramel layer. Spread out into one even layer and then place in the fridge for at least 2 hours to cool and set.
- When you’re ready to serve, carefully lift slice out of baking tin and cut into small squares. If it’s too hard to cut (for example, if you left it in the fridge overnight), just let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes or so and it will soften slightly.
- You don’t have to add golden syrup or maple syrup but it does give the caramel a little extra depth of flavour. If you don’t have any or can’t find any, leave it out.
- It’s important to heat the caramel on a MEDIUM heat only. Too hot and you will burn the caramel and it will stick to the bottom of the saucepan or you will get little flecks of burnt caramel floating in it.
- Keep stirring your caramel at all times. Pull up a chair because you will need to sit there for at least 10 minutes until it turns golden brown and thickens. The change is subtle but see photo below for colour guidance.
- I use a mix of milk chocolate and dark chocolate for my Caramel Slice. You can use whatever chocolate you prefer.
- The oil in the chocolate topping allows the chocolate to be cut without cracking – especially when cold. Most mild tasting oils will work but I’ve only tried with vegetable and coconut oil. If you use coconut oil make sure it is melted.