“As a small child, my mum always kept plenty of shop-bought Toffee Pops in the biscuit tin. Buttery, melt-in-the-mouth and utterly delightful, when I think of these sweet treats, I’m immediately transported to my childhood – getting home from school and finishing my homework to gain my reward of a chocolate biscuit and TV time before dinner.

As my early years moved into my teenage years, those simple little chocolate and caramel discs – which bear many similarities to Millionaire’s Shortbread – got overlooked and were eventually relegated to my memory, as newer, more exciting biscuits like Chocolate Classics, Gold Bars, Wagon Wheels, and Mint Viscounts took their place in my biscuit top 10.

To my delight, I rediscovered Toffee Pops as an adult many years later – while travelling round Australia during my sabbatical year – and found my love for them had not diminished. In Australia and New Zealand, where the biscuit was originally invented, they are immensely popular and I made a mental note to create my own take on the infamous biscuit once I returned to the UK.

What makes our Gleneagles version of the Toffee Pop so special is our buttery shortbread base. The recipe for our shortbread at Gleneagles was developed by the hotel’s pastry chefs in the 1920s and it’s an honour to be able to celebrate that treasured relic from the hotel’s history every day by continuing to serve it to our guests. While the recipe for our shortbread must remain a top hotel secret, we’ve created a version of it here to make at home.

On top of the shortbread we add a decadent salted caramel featuring sea salt from the Isle of Arran. The punchiness of the salted caramel helps to balance out the creaminess of the chocolate and shortbread, bringing all the notes together perfectly. At Gleneagles, we temper our chocolate to give it a beautiful shine and a crispier snap. Tempering chocolate is both time-consuming and tricky – requiring a marble surface, a thermometer and a metal scraper – so for this recipe I’ve suggested a quick and easy way to give your chocolate a brilliant shine that will still impress.

We serve Toffee Pops at Gleneagles in The Garden Café, which is home to a range of freshly prepared cakes and bakes and is a bustling little spot to read the papers or catch up with friends. Since we first added it to the menu, it has remained a firm favourite with our guests and I reckon it gives the Toffee Pops from my childhood a decent run for their money!” – Phil Skinazi, Executive Pastry Chef at Gleneagles

Relax after a busy day exploring the Gleneagles estate in the Garden Café this February during the half term holidays. Open to non-residents, guests are able to browse the variety of sweet and savoury snacks prepared by the Gleneagles chefs. The Garden Café is open daily.

For more information on Gleneagles, visit: www.gleneagles.com

Makes 10-12


For the shortbread:

160g unsalted butter

75g caster sugar

230g plain flour

50g rice flour

1.5g salt

For the caramel:

150g caster sugar

150g light brown sugar

125g golden syrup

100g unsalted butter

250ml double cream

2.5g sea salt

½ vanilla pod

For the chocolate coating:

250g milk chocolate coverture (35%)

35g sunflower oil

100g milk

25g double cream


1. For the shortbread, first, chop the butter into rough chunks then add it with the rest of the ingredients to a machine bowl with the paddle attachment.

2. Mix on a slow to medium speed until the mixture forms a smooth dough, then roll to about 5mm width and cut 75mm rounds. Bake at 160°C for about 15-20 minutes or until pale golden-brown.

3. For the caramel filling, start by making a dry caramel by placing the caster sugar in a pan on a low to medium heat. Once it has started to caramelize at the edges, gently stir to get rid of any lumps and use a cooking thermometer to boil to 121°C. Be very careful as this is extremely hot.

4. Meanwhile, boil the cream, light brown sugar, golden syrup, vanilla and salt together in a separate pan.

5. Then add the butter to the caramel to emulsify and add the cream mixture roughly a quarter at a time.

6. Pour into circular moulds or onto a baking tray covered with parchment paper, then allow to cool, ideally in the fridge. Once cool, cut using a 70mm cutter, then place on top of the baked, cooled shortbread disks.

7. For the chocolate coating, first, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Use the thermometer to heat to 45°C.

8. In a separate pan, gently warm the milk, cream and oil together, then add to the chocolate using a hand blender or whisk to emulsify.

9. Pour the chocolate mixture over the caramel and shortbread to enrobe completely. Place aside to set.