Crisp rich shortbread, with a hint of peanuts, is sandwiched with a rich creamy caramel flavoured with sea salt and more peanuts – a wonderful explosion of tastes and textures.
You will need
440g unsalted butter, softened
220g caster sugar
4 tablespoons good-quality crunchy peanut butter
680g plain flour
300g caster sugar
5 tablespoons cold water
100ml double cream
100g unsalted butter, diced
1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt flakes, or to taste
2 tablespoons salted roasted peanuts, chopped
100g caster sugar
2 tablespoons cold water
2 tablespoons salted roasted peanut halves
a 6.5cm round biscuit cutter 3 baking trays, lined with greaseproof paper a baking tray, oiled a greaseproof paper icing bag
Makes about 24
Put the butter and sugar into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a large food mixer and beat with an electric whisk or mixer until creamy. Beat in the peanut butter. When thoroughly combined, sift in the flour and mix with a wooden spoon. Using your hands, bring the mixture together into a ball. Flatten into a disc, wrap in clingfilm and chill for about 15 minutes, until firm.
Roll out the dough on a floured work surface to a thickness of about 5mm. Cut out discs using the cutter, then gather up the trimmings, briefly knead, re-roll and cut more discs - you will need an equal number. Arrange the shortcake discs on the lined baking trays, spacing them slightly apart to allow for spreading. Chill for 15 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Bake the shortcakes for 10 to 12 minutes, or until firm and golden. Leave on the trays for 5 minutes to firm up, then transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
Meanwhile make the caramel filling. Put the sugar and water into a deep pan and heat gently until the sugar has completely dissolved. Brush down the insides of the pan with a damp pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals forming. Once the sugar has dissolved, bring the syrup to the boil and leave to bubble for several minutes, until it turns a rich caramel colour. Remove the pan from the heat, and carefully add the cream and the butter - take care, as the mixture will boil up and splutter. Once the mixture has subsided, return the pan to a low heat, stir gently, and simmer for a minute to make a smooth, thick caramel sauce. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt and chopped peanuts. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and leave to cool.
To make the caramel peanuts, heat the sugar and water in a small pan until the sugar has completely dissolved. Bring to the boil, then leave to bubble for several minutes until it turns to a deep caramel. Remove from the heat. Scatter the peanut halves on the oiled baking tray and pour over the hot caramel to coat completely. Leave to cool and set.
When ready to assemble, sandwich the biscuits in pairs with the salted caramel filling. Break up the caramel peanut mixture and crumble over the top.