Yes, this really is a lovely sweet bake with bacon and it works so well. Don’t be put off, give it a try. Bacon and Maple syrup are great with pancakes so why not?
Makes: 16 squares – 20 smaller pieces
Time: Shortbread base 40 min. Caramel filling 25 min. Chocolate layer 15 min. Cutting & decorating 20 min. Plus lots of cooling/waiting
Level: Moderately easy
Equipment: A 20cm/8” square baking tin – use one with a loose bottom if possible.
- 200g/7oz plain flour
- 150g/5½oz butter
- 60g/2oz caster sugar
- 50g/1¾oz finely ground pecans
* This gives quite a thick shortbread layer. For a thinner layer you’ll need to reduce the ingredients proportionally. Maybe around: 175g/135g/50g/40g
- 100g/3½oz butter
- 397g/14oz tin of condensed milk
- 100g/3½oz soft light brown sugar
- About 40 – 50ml maple syrup
- About 15 – 30g cooked, crispy bacon, cut small*
* I used 15g, which gave a subtle bacon flavour (if such a thing exists). Go for 30g if you want a stronger bacon hit.
- 125g/4½oz dark chocolate
- 25g/1oz butter
- One pecan half per piece (16 – 20)
1. Preheat oven to 180C / Fan 160C / 350F / Gas 3. Grease and line the bottom and sides of the tin with baking parchment. (If your tin doesn’t have a loose bottom then leave at least two sides of parchment available to lift out the baked slab.)
2. To make the shortbread base, place flour in a large bowl then rub in the butter. Mix in the sugar and ground pecans. Bring it all together to form a dough.
3. Put blobs of the mixture into the lined tin and spread them gently and evenly over the surface. Press down firmly and stab with a fork a few times. Bake for 25 minutes, or until light golden. Set aside to cool.
4. To make the caramel filling, place butter, condensed milk and sugar in a saucepan. Melt everything together over a low to medium heat, while stirring. Raise the temperature to medium/high for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring all the time, otherwise it could burn. During this phase add in the maple syrup in stages.*
* I’m of the opinion that if added in too early the evaporation will take away the flavour; however, if left too late it could affect the setting of the caramel. Maybe I edged my bets on this one by putting in some early and some later.
5. Take the caramel off the heat and stir in the bacon pieces. Pour it over the shortbread base and quickly raise and tilt the tin so that the mixture spreads evenly before setting. Leave to cool for at least 20 – 30 minutes – until firm.
6. Melt the chocolate and butter together over a bain marie, stirring regularly. Pour the mixture over the caramel layer and again tilt the tin to spread it evenly. Before it sets, you could add the pecan pieces or wait until later. (If you want to attach the pecans later, after cutting the slab, then keep a little of the melted chocolate to use. It can easily be re-melted if it has set.)
7. When cool, cut the slab into pieces. It’s up to you whether you cut them while still in the tin or remove the whole slab first. I prefer to wait, remove from the tin and use a slightly wet knife.
I love traditional millionaire’s shortbreads, but also like to try new and different versions, like the one featured above. And here below are six more to try. All the recipes can be accessed from the Tray Bakes section of my website.