Tāupo-based food blogger Vanya Insull has amassed a dedicated following for the family-friendly recipes she creates under her moniker VJ Cooks.
Summer Favourites is her new cookbook, released on September 5 as a follow-up to her bestselling Everyday Favourites – and it’s full of easy winners for entertaining, approachable weeknight dinners and topnotch baking.
From the latter section, this caramel slice is a textural twist on the classic with roasted cashews and rice bubbles to make a rich, crispy base. “If you have a sweet tooth or are a big caramel fan, you can double the caramel layer in this recipe,” says Insull.
Crispy Cashew Caramel Slice
Makes 20 pieces
Preparation time: Approx 15 minutes
Cooking time: Approx 25 minutes, plus setting time
½ cup white sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
1½ cups self-raising flour
1½ cups rice bubbles
1 cup roasted cashews, chopped
395g can sweetened condensed milk
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
200g milk or dark chocolate
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Preheat the oven to 170°C fan bake. Line a 27cm x 17cm slice tin with baking paper.
To make the base, place the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a large microwave-proof bowl and microwave until melted. Stir to combine.
Stir in the flour, rice bubbles and cashews.
Transfer to the prepared tin and press out to the edges. Bake for 10 minutes.
While the base is baking, make the caramel filling by combining the ingredients in a pot and stirring over a low heat until smooth.
Spread the hot caramel filling over the base, then return the slice to the oven and bake for a further 15 minutes. Allow to cool in the tin.
To make the chocolate layer, place the chocolate in a microwave-proof bowl and microwave in bursts until melted. Add the oil and whisk until smooth. Spread over the cooled slice.
Chill until the topping has set, then cut into 20 bars. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Images and text from Summer Favourites by Vanya Insull, photography by Melanie Jenkins (Flash Studios), published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $39.99.