Berries seem to get all the attention when it comes to Autumn foraging, baking and making – but there’s more to the hedgerow than meets the eye. Wild hazelnuts, beech nuts and sweet chestnuts are all ripe for the picking just now too – if you beat the squirrels that is. I’m particularly obsessed with all things hazelnut at the moment – I blame Jo Malone’s English Oak and Hazelnut scent, which I sampled recently in the Edinburgh store and have been dreaming about ever since… I’m still on the hunt for hazelnuts in the wild but was delighted to find them at Edinburgh Farmers’ Market, as well as delicious cobnuts from my favourite stall, East Lothian’s Phantassie Organic Produce. When pondering what to make, this recipe from Fiona Bird’s The Forager’s Kitchen immediately caught my eye: a delectable twist on traditional millionaire’s shortbread, the hazelnut salted caramel shortbread combines earthy, sweet and salty flavours. To make the shortbread, you will need:
100g unsalted butter, softened
50g caster sugar
150g plain flour
150g roasted wild or bought hazelnuts (spread the nuts on a baking sheet covered with parchment and roast at 200C/ 180C Fan for 6 – 7 minutes, being careful they don’t burn).
1 teaspoon sea salt
100g unsalted butter
100g light brown sugar
4 tablespoons condensed milk
Pinch sea salt (to taste)
100g chocolate (I used milk chocolate).
Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan/Gas 3 and line a 20cm square cake tin with baking paper. Make the shortbread by rubbing the butter, flour and sugar lightly together until they form a dough.
Press into the prepared tin.
Blitz the hazelnuts & salt in a food processor until they are finely chopped and the sea salt is evenly distributed. Scatter the nuts over the shortbread dough and press down in the tin.
Bake for around 30-35 minutes until the dough is firm – watch it carefully at the end to make sure it doesn’t colour too much. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, make the salted caramel layer. Put all the caramel ingredients in a heavy bottomed pan.
Stir for around 5 minutes over a low heat until all the ingredients have melted and the caramel has thickened.
Pour the caramel over the cooled shortbread and allow to set completely.
Melt the chocolate in short, careful bursts in the microwave then pour over the top of the caramel. Allow to set completely before cutting into portions.
Delicious for Autumnal elevenses.
What are you baking this weekend?