Love is Golden Brown: Caramel Wafer Slice

“I think love is caramel. Sweet and fragrant; always welcome. It is the gentle golden colour of a setting harvest sun; the warmth of a squeezed embrace; the easy melting of two souls into one and a taste that lingers even when everything else has melted away. Once tasted it is never forgotten.” Jenny Colgan

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Anything made with caramel results extremely warming treats. Especially comforting, with its sweet scent and taste, caramel makes the perfect filling for simple baked goods.
Soft caramel candy is an American invention. By about 1650, Americans were boiling water and sugar in deep kettles in their fireplaces to make hard candies. Someone, at some point, added butter and milk to the pot and invented the caramel. By the mid-1800’s, there were nearly 400 American candy manufacturers producing hard candies as well as caramels.

In the modern taste palette caramel can be found in just about any course of a meal…tea, coffee, meat, dessert, however, its best companion is forever a soft, buttery cake…

Wafer sheets ingredients:
2 egg whites
80 g melted butter
90 g sugar
66 g flour
3 tbsp cold water
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Whisk the egg white with the sugar to soft peaks. Add the melted butter, water and sieve in the flour. Stir gently to create a homogeneous batter. To make the large wafer sheets, line a square tin with baking paper, and pour the half of the mixture in, creating a thin, even layer. Bake it until golden brown around the edges, then cool it on a flat surface, alternatively press on a patterned surface to create a visually more exciting wafer.

Chocolate base ingredients:
4 egg whites
160 g sugar
4 egg yolks
110 g flour
70 ml milk
40 g butter
30 g cocoa powder
Directions:
Place the egg whites in a bowl, and whip with a handheld mixer. When the egg whites are whipped to an even, smooth consistency, add 1/2 of the granulated sugar and whip together. When it’s very fluffy add the rest of the sugar, and keep whipping until it turns into a smooth, shiny meringue. Add the yolks to the meringue and mix well. Sift the cake flour into the batter. Use a rubber spatula and mix gently but thoroughly in a cut-and-fold motion. Put the butter and milk into a heatproof bowl, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for a minute and a half. When the butter and milk are warm, sift in the cocoa powder and mix to dissolve. Add the mixture to the batter a little at a time. Pour the batter into the lined mold, possibly the same as the one used to make the wafer sheets. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in a preheated 170°C oven. (As soon as it’s baked, drop it at a height of 20-30 cm onto a work surface to prevent the cake from shrinking.)

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To make the filling and assemble:
300 g unsalted butter
175 g sugar
175 g icing sugar
8 egg yolks
300 g ground walnuts
Directions:
Cream the butter with the icing sugar with a hand or stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add one egg yolk at a time, beating after each addition. Add the ground walnuts. Put 175 g sugar in a heavy skillet over low-medium heat and stir until sugar is melted and light brown. Remove the pan from the heat and pour over the walnut mixture. Stir quickly until well combined. Place back over low heat and slowly bring to a boil stirring continuously. Smear the cream on each wafer sheet while it’s warm, then secure the stack on the sponge base with the filling. Start to cover the wafer sheets from the inside and make sure to cover the edges of the wafer sheet with filling. Cover it with baking paper and place something heavy on top so that the filling will glue the wafer sheets. Leave it at least 2 hours or overnight. Once set, cover with melted chocolate and chopped walnut.

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