If you’re like me, you like a little sweet treat every now and again but you don’t want something huge that will fill you with the guilts. These caramel tarts are the solution.
There’s a story behind these tarts. I confess I’ve never made homemade caramel by heating a can of sweetened condensed milk. I’ve done the mixing and stirring and sometimes even bought it already made but filled with preservatives. I’d never faced THE CAN. Until the other day.
What I was most worried about was putting it on and letting the pan go dry and then BOOM – goop all over the ceiling and everything else. When I’m working on the computer, all else fades from my mind. It’s like I’m in another world and I know this happens to me so I’m pretty careful if something has to be watched.
I put the can on its side in the water and set it at a very low simmer and set the kitchen timer for an hour and went back to work. I cooked it for nearly 3 hours and every 45 minutes, my timer told me to check and I added boiling water a time or two. Then I left it to cool. Apparently from what I’ve read, the sweetened condensed milk begins to caramelize anytime after 2 hours so if you like your caramel light, you don’t need to cook it as long as I did.
OMG it was so good! It was dark and creamy and had the perfect caramel taste. I will never make it any other way.
When I moved to Australia I had a friend named Julie. She also worked for me but we were best mates. One day she brought these caramel tarts in her lunch and offered me one. They were crunchy, creamy and sweet and I asked her who made them. Julie didn’t cook – not when we first met. Her idea of a fancy meal was sausages, mashed potatoes and peas.
She swore that she’d made them herself and I raised one eyebrow and asked how. Julie’s cooking came from the frozen food aisle.
“You put a biscuit (cookie) in a tart pan and heat it in the oven and then when they’re warm you mash them into shape and then put the caramel (that she’d purchased, Nestlé Top ‘n Fill) in the tarts and top with whipped cream.”
It seemed too easy, almost like fake cooking and I never made them myself. Until the other day.
I went into the stacks in my laundry room where I keep heaps of kitchen gear I don’t use often and fished out my tart pans. Then went into the pantry and stole Rob’s Ginger Nut Biscuits and headed back to the kitchen. Sure enough, if you place one of these cookies into the tart pan and put it in the oven at 120C/250F for about ten minutes you can press on the cookie with the back of a spoon and get that little tart shape. They have just enough room for a tablespoon of caramel.
You can make the caramel and the tarts ahead of time, just keep the caramel in the fridge and the tart shells in an airtight container. If you can last that long.
Once I had the caramel in the tarts I thought they needed something a little more orgasmic so I dribbled some chocolate ganache on top of the caramel and added some chopped toasted macadamia nuts.
I headed to the photography table and while I had my camera in my hand, I heard John laugh and say, “Charlie! Don’t jump up on Gramps!!” He’d never done that before and I think they were both surprised. Rob likes his friend Charlie.
Disregard the totally messed up kitchen in the background. I hadn’t shut the dish drawer and my flipflops are still on the floor which meant I was barefoot too. The shock of it all.
I gave Rob one of the tarts to try and he gave them his stamp of approval and may he have another. He got whipped cream with his but I thought you couldn’t see the tart if I put it on the ones in the photos.
Have you ever made tarts from cookies?
- 1 package Ginger Nut biscuits (or ginger snaps or other hard cookie)
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk (or Top n Fill caramel)
- Whipped cream
- ⅓ cup chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon cream
- ½ cup toasted macadamia nuts, chopped
- This is a no brainer, seriously.
- Place unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in a pot of water and bring to a very slow boil
- boil for 2 to 2½ hours depending upon how dark you want your caramel
- remove from heat and let cool before opening the can.
- Place each cookie in a tart pan or cupcake pan and place in oven for 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and immediately press the cookies in the pan to form a shell. Place on rack to cool.
- Fill shells with a tablespoon of caramel and top with chocolate ganache, chopped nuts and whipped cream.
I’ve told you about our dog’s obsession with his toys and he has one favorite that I started calling baby back when he was just a little puppy. It’s got feet – it’s small – so it’s a baby, right? We’ve lost lots of “babys” in the canal. About 20 so far and these things cost $9.95 each.
I was clearing out room in the garage today so we can clear out the guest room to fit a bed for the folks coming for Thanksgiving dinner (always wait until the last minute to get things done) and while I was in there, Charlie found a green baby that still has the squeaker! Usually they’re chewed out on day one so this had to have been lost soon after buying it.
We haven’t taken too many photos of Charlie and his baby so I put the toy down while I plopped myself on the deck and said, “Wait!” Talk about intense! Then I tossed and he brought it back until I was bored.
Once we’re done, off he trots to the pool where he takes baby to cool off. This one floated but when there’s no squeaker, baby drowns. Charlie swims in circles over the toy.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have so few cares that chasing a ball is the highlight of your day? 🙂