Caramel slice is an incredibly delicious dessert which has 3 layers: a crumb or biscuit base, a caramel layer in the middle and it's topped with a chocolate layer. This New Zealand treat is available at many local cafes there, but if you live anywhere other than New Zealand or Australia you'll need to make your own. The good news is that it's surprisingly easy to make caramel slice.
However, most caramel slice recipes traditionally use coconut in the base. This can pose problems for several reasons:
- Some people don't like the taste of coconut
- Those who have nut allergies should not consume coconut. Even though coconut looks very different from a walnut or peanut, it is in fact a type of nut and can trigger an allergic reaction
- It can be difficult or expensive to find the same style of shredded coconut in the U.S. as is used in New Zealand
Why you need a different recipe for the base instead of simply leaving out the coconut
In most caramel slice recipes, you can't simply omit the coconut from the base, it just won't work. Instead you'll need to make a shortbread style base, which I'll give you the recipe for here.
For the caramel and chocolate layers, you can just follow your normal favorite caramel slice recipe. If you don't already have one in mind, I highly recommend the caramel slice recipe from RecipeTinEats because it's super-easy - there's no need for a candy thermometer. It all just works beautifully every time. The caramel layer holds together wonderfully and the chocolate layer is exactly right. That's the recipe I used in the image above for the caramel and chocolate layers.
The no-coconut base layer that I describe below was something I figured out by trial and error over the course of several yummy batches of caramel slice.
Bottom layer recipe for caramel slice with no coconut
This bottom layer recipe is a shortbread style base, where you combine grated butter and flour with your fingers and then add sugar. This recipe makes a base layer for your caramel slice to fit a 7 x 11 inch rectangle baking dish (28 x 18 cm).
As you can see, it's super easy! There's just 3 ingredients and you can't really get it wrong.
- 11⁄4 C flour
- 10 T cold butter (1 stick and 2T)
- 1⁄4 C brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C)
- Grease and line the bottom and sides of a 7 x 11 inch rectangle baking dish (28 x 18 cm) with parchment paper
- Put flour in a medium bowl, then grate butter into the flour
- Using fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until you have a crumb-sized texture (some crumbs may be pea sized but most should be smaller)
- Mix in the brown sugar
- Press the mixture into the pan. Flatten it with a pancake turning utensil or hard spatula
- Bake for 15 minutes or until surface is golden
That's it! Your base layer is complete for caramel slice. I recommend letting it sit for about 20 minutes afterward to let it cool slightly before making the caramel layer that goes on next. As mentioned above, you can use any caramel slice recipe you like for the remaining layers - I personally recommend the one from RecipeTinEats that I linked to earlier.
You now have the best caramel slice recipe! It has no coconut so that it works for most people's tastes and won't trigger nut allergies. Just start with the caramel slice biscuit base I showed you above. Then add the caramel and chocolate layers using your favorite recipe. This combines to give you a delicious and simple caramel slice recipe. The delicious result is certain to be a huge hit with everyone.
If you're looking for finger food appetizers or lunch ideas to add to your event, try these super-easy ham and pastry bites - your guests will think you're a genius!
If you're looking for more dessert ideas, I recommend this make-ahead sticky toffee pudding - it looks amazing and is easy to reheat in the microwave, tasting just as good or better the next day.