Kvelling is a Yiddish word meaning 'glowing with pride'. I was kvelling about my shortbread because, if I say so myself, it was darned pretty, and since it was a gift for Eco Sis, I was all the happier. I made this shortbread for Eco Sis because I went to stay with her so we could have a sisterly day out together on Monday; because she likes millionaire's shortbread; because I wanted to bake it; and because it reminded me of a little story about her childhood.
When we were young, Kiwi Sis and I had piano lessons or some such activity after school which took up a relatively short amount of time, and wasn't worth Munchkin Granny and the small Eco Sis going home. So they used to go to a cafe nearby wherever we were (Oadby, in Leicester where we lived at the time, so Munchkin Granny told me at the weekend when we were reminiscing about it) and have a drink and a cake. It was a fun cafe over a gift shop, and the most memorable thing about it was that it had stuffed heads mounted on the walls. But these were stuffed toy heads, and the owner could stand on the other side of the wall and put his hand in them to make them move and talk. It was great fun keeping an eye on them to see if they were going to wake up and entertain us. Anyway, Eco Sis had a favourite cake at this cafe which she called 'the cake with long legs'. It was a bar cake, and the long legs were the stripy decoration (I'm not sure if I ever saw these cakes, but I imagine a Mr Kipling-esque slice - though less squiggly than the ones in the link). That's how cute Eco Sis was when she was little.
When I was looking out for recipes to make her a millionaire's shortbread - which is, incidentally, shortbread topped with caramel topped with chocolate - I found a recipe on Cookie Baker Lynn's blog which had a marbled chocolate top instead of a plain one. It immediately struck me that if I marbled it correctly I could give it 'long legs'. Unfortunately I completely forgot about the long legs when I actually came to the marbling as I got so carried away with the delights of making pretty patterns. However, as our great-grandmother used to say, 'it's the thought that counts'.
I used the recipe for Roxanne's Millionaire's Shortbread from Nigella's How to be a Domestic Goddess, which has handily appeared on various blogs. I halved the recipe since Eco Bro was away and I didn't want to make Eco Sis practice her coma resuscitation skills on herself, but it must make a whole heap of shortbread in its original quantity, as you can see that it still filled a square brownie pan. Nigella's instructions are to make the caramel in the microwave but I did mine in a saucepan as I was worried about burning either it or myself, as our microwave is very high up! I wasn't really sure how long to simmer it for, and my caramel could have been a bit firmer, but the taste was still there. I followed Cookie Baker Lynn's instructions for marbling though, by melting dark and milk chocolate separately, and painting them in stripes over the cake. Then I melted some white chocolate and dabbled it over the top of that, before using a cake tester to make marbled patterns through all three chocolates. Then I sat with it on my knee all the way to Oxford in the car and prayed for The Scientist to drive gently! (He did)
While my millionaire's shortbread did not have long legs, it got a very favourable response from Eco Sis (and her housemates!). The shortbread layer was quite thick, and I would perhaps reduce the quantity even further another time so that the caramel shone through a little more. With that much goopy goodness though, I don't think anyone will be complaining too much, long legs or no :) (And our sisterly day out in the Cotswolds was lots of fun too - the rain stopped us doing our walk, but we found a sewing shop and did cross-stitch in a cafe instead!)
Roxanne's Millionaire's Shortbread recipe is posted in various places
Instructions for marbling, and an alternative recipe here