Last year, around this time, my husband Tony and our grandchildren made caramel slice.
Given that our grandchildren were coming to stay with us for a couple of weeks in the school holidays, Tony planned a cooking activity for them. He chose to make caramel slice. He found a recipe for caramel slice in a Coles advertising catalogue (03/06/2015) and decided even he could make that.
In case you are wondering, “Dida” is the equivalent of “Grandpa” in old Serbo-Croatian. Tony, Croatian-born, is Dida to our three grandchildren. Hence the name of this post: “Dida’s Caramel Slice”.
You may remember I have written before that Tony does not cook and he doesn’t want to cook. There is one exception. Once a year, in December or January, he takes over my kitchen and cooks his signature Mango Chutney.
However, Tony loves to do things with our grandchildren, and he is always coming up with new ideas and plans for what he (and I) can do with them. For Tony, when it comes to spending time with our grandchildren, even cooking is not out of bounds.
Cooking is just one everyday activity grandparents can share with their grandchildren. In my accompanying story Grandparenting: Ain’t it Grand, I share numerous strategies and examples of activities that Tony and I have found helpful as we strive to build strong loving relationships with our grandchildren. By sharing these strategies and examples I hope to enthuse and stimulate other folk who have a similar goal.
Some grandparents live close by their grandchildren and see them often; others may be like us and do most of their grandparenting from a distance and in bursts during holiday visits. It matters not: There are strategies and examples in Grandparenting: Ain’t it Grand relevant to both situations. I hope you find our suggestions there helpful. If so, you may like to share them with your parents, grandparents or family members.
Tony decided that cooking the caramel slice with our grandchildren would be simple, educational and a fun thing to do together. He liked the fact that we would end up with something really sweet and tempting to eat! That was a bonus.
The following recipe, as Tony guessed, is straight-forward and easy-to-follow. However, it is time-consuming. The whole process, from start to finish, takes about 3 hours. It involves a number of steps, with cooling time required between each step. Tony made use of the waiting time to do other fun things with the children. So, although it is a simple recipe, suitable for inexperienced cooks (like Tony) and children alike, it requires time and patience.
You might like to try it with your children or grandchildren.
DIDA’S CARAMEL SLICE
1 cup plain flour
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup desiccated coconut
125g butter, melted; 100g extra butter
2 x 395g cans sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup golden syrup
1 packet (180g) dark chocolate melts
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius (or 160 degrees Celcius if fan-forced).
- Lightly grease a 28cm x 18cm lamington tin; line the base and sides with baking paper.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar and coconut. Add melted butter and mix well. Press mixture into prepared tin. Bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned. Allow to cool.
- Combine extra butter, condensed milk and golden syrup in a medium saucepan. Stir over low heat until smooth. Pour over pastry base. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until caramel is golden brown. Allow to cool.
- Melt chocolate in a bowl or saucepan over a hot water bath. Combine melted chocolate and oil; stir until smooth. Pour evenly over caramel. Refrigerate to set.
- When set, cut into squares to serve.