Mmmm! Salted caramel!

Published 12:03 am Saturday, August 1, 2015

Coffee hour used to be one Sunday a year for me, but since my husband is on the vestry we have to do it a whole month (since people do not step up to do it). I have just finished four Sundays in July and feel I have done my part for this year! I got some requests from the children, especially the priest’s 13-year-old son.

He likes my food and when he found out I was doing four Sundays; boy, was he happy!

He wanted my deviled eggs and pigs in a blanket.

Now, I actually have never done pigs in a blanket, but I thought of Sister Schubert’s sausage rolls and they hit the spot.

They were gone immediately and I helped increase her sales for July!!

I did a new casserole that could be left in the refrigerator overnight and baked in the morning. At church it can be kept in a warmer. This was a hit and I will share this recipe with you. I am sure most of you have done this casserole; it is great for company since it serves 8-10 and can be done ahead.

My other new recipe was a dessert pick-up made with a shortbread crust and a salty caramel topping. That was a hit and gone in three seconds. So try these two recipes. You, too, can become a legend at church for your cooking!


Sausage and Cheese Casserole

Serves 8-10

8 slices white bread, cut into cubes (I used half a loaf of thick Italian bread)

1 lb. pork sausage, crumbled and cooked

1 ½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

10 large eggs

2 cups milk

2 teaspoons dry mustard

1 teaspoon salt

Pepper to taste

Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.

Place bread cubes in prepared dish.

Top with sausage and cheese.

Beat together eggs, milk, mustard and salt.

Season with pepper.

Pour egg mixture over sausage mixture.

Can remain covered overnight in the refrigerator at this point.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake casserole uncovered until puffed and center in set, about 50 minutes.

Cut into squares and serve.

Cutting smaller squares can make 28 squares.


From The Splendid Table by Jane Hornby.

Salted Caramel Shortbread Bites

Makes 26 small cubes


For the Base:

1 stick, (1/2 cup) soft butter, plus extra for greasing

¼ cup sugar

A pinch of flaky sea salt

½ tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

For the Caramel:

1 stick, (1/2 cup) butter

1 packed cup dark brown sugar

¼ cup golden syrup, such as Lyle’s, or corn syrup

½ tsp. flaky sea salt

14-oz. can, full-fat condensed milk

For the topping:

7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, 70 percent cocoa solids

½ tsp. flaky sea salt


Lightly grease 9-inch square baking pan, then line with parchment paper. Make the base first. Put the butter in a large bowl and beat well with a wooden spoon or an electric mixer until creamy and very pale. Add the sugar, salt, and vanilla and beat again until even paler.

Sift the flour over the creamed butter and sugar. Using a spatula, gently work the flour into the mixture to make an evenly blended dough that starts to clump together.

Press the dough into the prepared pan, then level and smooth it with the back of a spoon. Prick it all over with a fork, then chill for 10 minutes, or longer if you like, until firm. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the shortbread is golden all over. Let cool completely.

For the caramel: Melt the butter, sugar, syrup, and salt together gently in a pan, then stir in the condensed milk.

Bring the caramel to a simmer, stirring constantly with a spatula, and let it bubble for 4 minutes, or until it thickens and smells like creamy toffee. It should be thick enough for the spatula to leave a train in the caramel for a few seconds. Don’t leave the pan or stop stirring during this step, as it can easily burn on the base.

Pour the caramel over the shortbread and let it cool completely.

Once the caramel has set and cooled, it’s time to finish the layers. Melt the chocolate either over a pan of water or in the microwave, stir in the oil, then pour this over the caramel. Sprinkle with the salt and let set at room temperature, or in the fridge if it’s a hot day. The oil helps stop the chocolate setting too hard, which can make it difficult to cut.

When the chocolate is just set, cut into squares. Then chill until completely firm. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days.