Although they are great together earl grey tea and lemon aren’t necessarily flavours you would associate with caramel. But as with my wasabi blondies I decided to give them a go and took the Dr. Pepper attitude of ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’. Fortunately this attitude paid off! While the decision was in some ways last minute on the whole they turned out pretty well. The smoothness of the tea works well with the caramel and the hint of lemon helps cut through some of the sugar. The earl grey flavour makes it a perfect tea time snack for anyone with a sweet tooth, but even if you don’t a small piece never hurt anyone!
In the past I have had a mixed relationship with caramel shortbread or even anything related to its different components. Although I have had some success, my clumsiness and habit of dropping things have created some tense moments. These incidents range from dropping a rather large (although luckily cool) batch of caramel all over myself as well as the floor and the mixer at work to smashing an entire batch of shortbread biscuits on the morning of a particularly good snow day during my time in the French Alps. After laughing these episodes off (and letting one of my friends tackle the shortbread for the rest of the season), I have decided to brave it again. Besides, my spilling an entire litre of cream on myself by that point led me to feel optimistic that my clumsiness had taken its toll for the day.
I decided to adapt my recipe from an old Be-Ro cookbook that my grandma gave me when I was little. This has always been my go-to recipe for caramel shortbread (or any cakes for that matter) so I decided to tweak it in a couple of ways in order to incorporate the different flavours. I have cooked using tea before and decided to infuse the caramel with the earl grey in a similar way to Ruby Tandoh, one of the GBBO finalists. By adding earl grey tea bags in the initial stages of melting the caramel, the flavour gently diffuses throughout the mix and balances against the lemony shortbread. However, you can alter the amount of tea bags depending on how strong you want it or you could use loose leaves by attaching a diffuser to the handle of your pan. You can also play a lot with what kind of teas you might use, for example you could use chamomile and vanilla for a softer flavour. But, either way, I hope you enjoy!
Lemon and Earl Grey Caramel Shortbread
For the Shortbread:
- 150g Unsalted Butter
- 225g Self Raising Flour
- 75g Caster Sugar
- Zest of 1 Lemon
For the Caramel:
- 150g Unsalted Butter
- 100g Caster Sugar
- 1 397g tin Condensed Milk
- 2 tbsp Golden Syrup
- 3 Earl Grey Tea Bags
For the Topping
- 50g White Chocolate
- 50g Milk Chocolate
- Preheat your oven to 180C/ 160C Fan/ 325F
- Place the flour, sugar and butter in a food processor and blitz. Keep blitzing until the ingredients start to come together in a dough like consistency. If you do not have a food processor mix the flour and sugar, then rub in the butter until you reach a breadcrumb like consistency. Stir in the lemon zest.
- Press down into a lined baking tin and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove when slightly golden and leave to cool completely.
- For the caramel put the butter, caster sugar, golden syrup and tea bags into a pan and melt. Once melted add the condensed milk and stir continuously until it thickens. This should take between 10-15 minutes.
- Remove the tea bags, pour over the shortbread and leave to set.
- Melt both chocolates separately. Drizzle the chocolate over the top and leave to set as well. Then cut into squares.