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Why Was My Caramel Too Thin For The Chocolate Peanut Squares?

Asked by Raefewster. Answered on 9th June 2023

Full question

I tried the Chocolate Peanut Squares recipe from Nigella Summer. The instructions for the caramel second layer said medium heat in the microwave. I looked up medium microwave heat and it showed 400 to 500. I did everything in the recipe and after 7 minutes it was still too thin and not brown. I tried 2 more minutes and there was no change. I ended up using it as it was and it was a total failure. I have reread the instructions over and over. What did I do wrong?

Chocolate Peanut Squares
By Nigella
  • 14
  • 2

Our answer

Nigella's Chocolate Peanut Squares (fromNIGELLA SUMMER is a peanutty version of millionaire's shortbread. The caramel is made by cooking butter, golden syrup and condensed milk in a microwave to a thick caramel. Nigella suggests cooking the mixture on medium heat, as this gives better control over the cooking of the mixture.

A medium setting on a microwave is usually around 50% of power and would be around 500W. The mixture should start to boil after around 4 minutes and at that point you need to stop and stir the mixture, then cook in 2-minute intervals. The recipe does mention that the caramel needs to be stirred every couple of minutes but it may help to make sure that the mixture is boiling properly before you start the stirring intervals and let it boil before you stir each time. We wonder of the mixture was not actually boiling in the microwave, which is necessary for it to turn to a thick caramel. If it is not boiling then you may need to increase the microwave power, but keep a close eye on it to make sure that the caramel doesn't darken too much. The caramel should be thick and gooey and if it is still too thin then continue cooking in intervals until it reaches that stage. We would also mention that the mixture will bubble up a lot as it cooks, so the mixture should come around one third up (and no more than halfway up) the sides of the bowl before you start cooking.


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