Chocolate Caramel Slice - Learn the secret to a perfect soft set caramel filling WITHOUT using a thermometer....it's so easy!
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4.9 from 67 votes

Caramel Slice

(Recipe video below) The caramel for this slice is made without a candy thermometer. It is soft set - cuttable without oozing out everywhere and it holds it's shape at room temperature (as long as it's not too hot!). The chocolate topping is softened with a touch of oil so it cuts without cracking, and doesn't make the caramel ooze out. I came up with this caramel recipe after being disappointed by so many other recipes where the caramel didn't set!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Sweet
Servings: 12 -16
Author: Nagi | RecipeTin Eats

Ingredients

Base

  • 1 cup (150g) plain flour (all purpose)
  • 1/2 cup (80g) brown sugar , loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup (45g) desiccated coconut (US: sweetened coconut flakes, Note 1a)
  • 125g / 4.5 oz unsalted butter , melted

Caramel filling

  • 125g / 4.5 oz unsalted butter , roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup (80g) brown sugar , loosely packed
  • 395g / 14 oz sweetened condensed milk (1 can) (Note 1b)

Chocolate Topping

  • 200g / 7 oz dark or milk melting chocolate (US: semi-sweet chocolate chips)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Instructions

Base

  • Preheat oven to 160C/320F (fan forced) / 180C/350F (conventional)
  • Spray with oil or butter and line a 28x 18cm (lamington pan) / 7" x 11" rectangle pan with parchment paper (Note 2). Have overhang for ease of removal.
  • Mix together Base ingredients and press into a pan (I use an egg flip)
  • Bake for 15 minutes until the surface is golden. Optional: Cool in the fridge (Note 2a)

Caramel

  • Place butter and sugar in pan over low heat. When the butter is melted, whisk to combine with sugar. As soon as the caramel starts to bubble, add condensed milk. Stir constantly for 5 minutes (Note 3), it will start to bubble gently after 3 to 4 minutes after which it will thicken quickly. It should be thick and pale golden by the end of 5 minutes.
  • Pour onto Base. Bake for 12 minutes at 160C/320F (fan forced) / 180C/350F (conventional). The top should be spotty with dark golden bubbles but the caramel should jiggle when you shake the pan. Refrigerate until the caramel is set.

Chocolate

  • Melt chocolate in microwave in 30 second bursts in high, stirring in between. When the chocolate is smooth and fully melted, stir through oil.
  • Pour over caramel then refrigerate until set. See Note 4 for smooth vs textured top.
  • Cut into bars or squares to serve. (Note 5)

Notes

1a. Desiccated coconut is called "Sweetened Coconut Flakes" in America. It is finely shredded coconut, not the large flakes.
1b. Ensure you use sweetened condensed milk (thick sweet milk) that comes in cans, NOT evaporated milk.
2. You could also use a 9 x 9" / 23 x 23" square pan or a 9-10"/23-25cm round cake pan.
2a. If you cool the base, this creates a neater line between caramel and base and you'll also get a slightly thicker caramel layer because virtually no caramel sinks into the biscuit base. Whereas if you pour hot caramel onto a hot base, a little bit of caramel sinks in. Both are just as tasty, but cooling the base will make them look neater.
3. If you don't stir constantly, little brown specks will appear, being caramel caught on the bottom of the saucepan. It's not a major problem if you have some brown specks, it seems to disappear when baked.
4. To make a smooth top, refrigerate the caramel until set but not fridge-cold. The bottom of the pan will be slightly warm still and the caramel will be cool but not cold - about 30 - 40 min in the fridge. That way the chocolate doesn't set too quickly when you pour it on. Pour the chocolate on then shake the pan gently to spread it evenly and smoothly.
To make a textured top as per the photos, refrigerate the caramel until fridge-cold - 1 hr+ in the fridge. When the chocolate is poured on, it will firm up faster. As it starts to thicken, use a spatula or knife back and forth across the surface.
5. To slice neatly, remove from the fridge 5 minutes before cutting. Run knife under warm (not hot) water, wipe dry then cut quickly. For very neat slices, clean knife between each cut - I did this for the photos. Don't make the knife too hot otherwise the chocolate melts when you cut it and smears into the caramel.
6. STORAGE: Airtight container for up to 5 days, but if it's so hot that the chocolate melts, keep it in the fridge and bring to room temperature before serving.
7. COCONUT FREE BASE: A few readers have asked if it is possible to make the base without coconut. This recipe won't work without coconut but the shortbread base in my Lemon Bars recipe is a perfect substitute. Please DOUBLE the recipe.