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Tan Slice | Classic New Zealand Recipe

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This sweet, creamy and crumbly Tan Slice is made with a melt-in-your-mouth shortbread base and topping, with a thick layer of irresistible caramel in between!

A New Zealand classic that takes just 45 minutes to prepare and bake… I promise that it’s going to become a family favourite slice in no time!

Introducing a Kiwi classic…. Tan Slice (also known as Tan Square)!

With it’s buttery base, crumbly top, all wrapped around a layer of sweet and chewy caramel, you won’t be able to resist a piece (or three!)

And if you have a sweet tooth like me (and love all things caramel), try my most popular chocolate caramel slice or my creamy no-bake caramel cheesecake slice, comforting caramel pudding or deliciously dense caramel mud cake!

Why You’re Going To Love This Recipe

A layer of thick caramel as well as buttery crumble – what better combination is there?

Basic pantry items – if you like to bake regularly, you’ll probably find that you already have everything you need to bake this yummy slice.

It’s freezer friendly – so handy to have pop some in the freezer for when you need something on hand and have no time to bake!

Versatile – you can serve this slice as is with a coffee, or warm it up and add a dollop of cream for a sweet dessert.

Rich and decadent caramel flavoured – when you just need that little sugar fix, the buttery crumble and rich caramel of Tan Slice is guaranteed to hit the ‘sweet spot’.

Conventional and Thermomix – I’ve included instructions for both methods in the recipe card below.

What You Need

The smooth caramel filling of Tan Slice is totally irresistible – cut it into little squares as it’s hard to stop at just one piece!

Note: Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom for the ingredients quantities and full detailed method.

For the Shortbread Layer:

Butter – softened to room temperature.

Caster sugar – also called superfine sugar.

Vanilla extract – or essence. Use a good quality vanilla such as Queen’s that has been extracted from the vanilla bean, and not synthetically flavoured.

Plain flour – also known as all purpose flour.

Baking powder – this is used as a raising agent. Check the expiry on your baking powder and make sure that it is in-date to be most effective.

For The Caramel Filling:

Golden syrup – if you choose, you can replace the golden syrup with corn syrup, honey or maple syrup. 

Sweetened condensed milk – choose a full fat sweetened condensed milk, not skim. The Nestle brand is a consistently good quality sweetened condensed milk that thickens really well.

Butter.

Sea salt – just a pinch.

Equipment Required

Handheld beaters or a stand mixer – of course, if you have a Thermomix, you can use that too!

20 cm baking tin – greased and lined with baking paper.

Saucepan – to make the caramel in on the stovetop.

Oven – all ovens vary slightly, however if you have a conventional oven (not fan forced) simply increase the temperature by 10-20 degrees celsius.

Step By Step Instructions

The shortcake base of Tan Slice is also used in the crumbly topping, which makes this slice recipe a super simple one to assemble.

Note: Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom for the ingredients quantities and full detailed method.

Step 1 – Cream The Butter And Sugar

Preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius (fan-forced). Line a 20cm square baking tin with baking paper and set this aside.

Using hand-held beaters or a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until it is pale and fluffy.

Add the vanilla extract or essence and beat this through the creamed mixture.

Step 2 – Add The Dry Ingredients

Sift the plain flour and baking powder over the creamed mixture, and mix all together.

The mixture will initially be a little crumbly.

Step 3 – Bake The Base

Press two thirds of the shortbread mixture over the base of the paper lined tin, smoothing it down with the back of a spoon.

Use a fork to prick all over the base, and then bake for 10 minutes, until the base is lightly golden.

Step 4 – Make The Caramel

Place the golden syrup, sweetened condensed milk, butter and a pinch of salt into a small saucepan over low heat.

Stir the caramel sauce gently for 10-15 minutes or until it has thickened (make sure your heat is very low and stir coninuously).

Pour the caramel over the cooked base and sprinkle over the remaining shortbread mixture.

Return the slice to the oven and bake for a further 15-20 minutes – it should be golden and firm to the touch.

Remove Tan Slice from the oven and set it aside until cool before cutting.

Expert Tips

Golden syrup substitutes – you can replace the golden syrup with corn syrup, honey or maple syrup, however I prefer to use golden syrup for it’s warm and rich flavour.

Condensed milk – use full fat condensed milk, not skim condensed milk, as skim won’t set properly. I find that brand name condensed milk (ie. Nestle) sets better than home brand condensed milk.

Caramel layer- cook the caramel until it’s thickened. If it’s not cooked enough, your caramel slice will end up in a runny mess! Cook it on the stovetop, gently stirring continuously over a low heat, or in the Thermomix until it’s obviously thickened, and then pour over the base in your slice tin. Leave Tan Slice in the oven until you can gently place a finger in the centre of the slice and it feels firm to the touch.

If the top is browning too much when baking – just place a sheet of foil loosely over the top and continue cooking until the filling has set firm.

Storing – store Tan Slice in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. 

Freezing – allow Tan Square to cool completely and then double wrap in plastic wrap or foil and freeze for up to 1 month. Allow to come to room temperature overnight before consuming. 

FAQ’s

Do I need to use full fat sweetened condensed milk? Yes, you do! Skim sweetened condensed milk will not set firm in the caramel layer so using full fat sweetened condensed milk is a must! What temperature do I use for a conventional oven? I specify fan-forced oven temperatures in my recipes, so if you have a conventional oven, increase the temperature by between 10 and 20 degrees Celsius.All ovens vary slightly, and caramel can burn if the oven is too hot, so if you notice the top browning, simply place a sheet of foil over it and keep an eye on it. When ready, your Tan Slice should be golden, and the filling firm to the touch.

If you’re a lover of everything caramel, like me, then treat yourself to some of these wickedly sweet treats!

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Tan Slice

A classic New Zealand favourite! This Tan Slice is made with a layers of buttery shortbread filled with a smooth and creamy caramel.

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Course: bars and slicesCuisine: New Zealand, Slices
Prep Time: 20 minutes minutesCook Time: 25 minutes minutesTotal Time: 45 minutes minutes
Servings: 16 serves
Calories: 319kcal
Author: Lucy – Bake Play Smile

IngredientsFor the shortbread layers
Cook ModePrevent your screen from going dark
InstructionsPreheat oven to 160 degrees celsius (fan-forced). Line a 20cm square baking tin with baking paper and set aside.Using hand-held beaters or a stand mixer, cream the softened butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. If using a Thermomix: Insert the Butterfly into the Thermomix bowl. Add the softened butter and caster sugar and mix for 20 seconds, Speed 4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for a further 40 seconds, Speed 4 (or until pale and creamy).Add the vanilla extract and beat through. If using a Thermomix: Add the vanilla extract and mix for a further 10 seconds, Speed 4.Sift over the plain flour and baking powder and beat until the mixture has come together (it will be crumbly at first). If using a Thermomix: Remove the Butterfly. Add the plain flour and baking powder to the bowl. Mix for 10 seconds, Speed 4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and repeat for a further 10 seconds.Press two-thirds of the mixture firmly into the base of the prepared tin and smooth with a spoon.Prick all over the base with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly golden.Meanwhile, make the filling by placing the golden syrup, sweetened condensed milk, butter and a pinch of salt into a small saucepan over low heat.Stir continuously for 10-15 minutes or until the caramel has thickened (make sure your heat is very low and you continue stirring until the sauce has obviously thickened).If using a Thermomix: place the golden syrup, sweetened condensed milk, butter and a pinch of salt into a clean and dry Thermomix bowl. Mix for 8 minutes, 80 degrees, Speed 4 (or until thickened). Pour the caramel over the cooked base and sprinkle over the remaining shortbread mixture. Return the slice to the oven for a further 15-20 minutes or until golden and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and set aside until cool. Place in the fridge once cooled and before cutting.

NotesRecipe Tips

Golden syrup substitutes – whilst I prefer to use golden syrup, you can replace the golden syrup with corn syrup, honey or maple syrup.
Condensed milk – use full fat condensed milk, not skim condensed milk, as it won’t set properly. I find that brand name condensed milk (ie. Nestle) sets better than home brand condensed milk.
Caramel layer – cook the caramel layer until it’s firm. If it’s not firm, your caramel slice will end up in a runny mess! Cook it on the stovetop, gently stirring continuously over a low heat, or in the Thermomix until it’s obviously thickened and then pour over the base in your slice tin. Leave the slice in the oven until you can gently place a finger in the centre and it feels firm to the touch.
If the top is browning too much in the oven – place a sheet of foil loosely over the top and continue cooking until firm.
Storing – store Tan Slice in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Freezing – allow it to cool completely and then double wrap in plastic wrap or foil and freeze for up to 1 month. Allow to come to room temperature overnight before consuming. 

NutritionCalories: 319kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 153mg | Potassium: 142mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 534IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 1mg

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