This Millionaire’s Shortbread is the perfect trifecta: Sweet simple, crisp shortbread, rich chewy, homemade caramel, and thick dark chocolate ganache. Sprinkle everything off with a scattering of sea salt and you have a decadently rich treat that lives up to every penny of its lucrative name.
I don’t think (and I’m sure they’ll correct me if I’m wrong) I’ve ever given my siblings anything really bad to eat.
Sometimes they eat my recipe fails, but only the most edible ones (cupcakes that are just slightly too dense, cookies that are a tad too crumbly), and I never did anything as treacherous as trying to pass off bean brownies for regular brownies, which one of my sisters actually did do to me one time (a deception I’ll never forgive).
So it’s slightly insulting to me that, when presented with any dessert that isn’t an obvious cake, cookie, or cupcake, they proceed with severe trepidation. Forks hovering nervously over their plates, eyes narrowed, skeptical, seeming to suggest — It could be an anthrax pie, how can we be sure it’s not? So much for gratitude.
But after explaining for the fourth time to my fourth sibling what Millionaire’s shortbread even is (“It’s like a fancy, homemade, gourmet twix bar”) not a single one seemed the least bit disappointed when they took their first bite.
There’s nothing to be disappointed about when it comes to Millionaire’s shortbread. This is a recipe I’ve been wanting to try my hand at for a while now and after a lot of running around in the kitchen I’m very happy to share it with you.
I don’t think I need to reiterate the fact that it’s a rich dessert — in fact I suggested to my sisters and brother that they cut each giant square into quarters, because while big squares look pretty in these pictures, they’re so rich that it’s a challenge to actually eat a whole one.
The shortbread (a faux shortbread, more on that below) is slightly sweetened but serves as the crispy vehicle to transport chewy caramel and a blanket of chocolate ganache. To make things even more decadent, it’s all topped off with a sprinkle of sea salt. It’s not called Millionaire’s shortbread for nothing!
As attaining millionaire status can change a person, so it has changed our “shortbread” cookie crust here. Surprise, it’s not a “true” shortbread. When I decided to give this classic recipe my own spin, this is one of the first changes I made.
Classic shortbread is made of only three ingredients — butter, flour, and sugar, but this is Millionaire’s shortbread so we’re making sure it lives up to its name.
An egg yolk, some brown sugar, and vanilla extract all make this cookie crust extra flavorful, and slightly softer than standard shortbread as well. Because of the added ingredients, your finished millionaire’s shortbread will cut more easily than standard shortbread (which usually breaks unevenly with jagged edges and scatters crumbs everywhere) but is still crisp and snappy beneath the soft chocolate and chewy caramel.
Andi liked the cookie layer so much she asked me to make her a pan of just that alone, nothing else.
I really wish that I could photograph the processes for these multi-step recipes — a picture of how the crumbled cookie dough should look, the caramel at its peak just before pouring it over the shortbread, the glossy chocolate ganache, etc… but since I only have two days of the week to shoot 3-4 recipes, I usually have to prepare the food Friday night, and there’s no light to take decent pictures then.
To make up for this, I try to include very detailed descriptions in the recipe, and you can always shoot me an e-mail, leave a comment, or drop by my Facebook page if you have any questions.
That being said, I don’t really think you’ll have any problem with this recipe, the trickiest part is the caramel and it doesn’t even require a candy thermometer!
I hope you enjoy this Millionaire’s shortbread as much as my siblings ultimately did!
- 2 14-oz cans sweetened condensed milk (792g)
- 14 Tablespoons butter cut into Tablespoon-sized pieces (198g)
- 1 cup light brown sugar packed (200g)
- ⅓ cup light corn syrup (80ml)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (340g)
- ½ cup heavy cream (120ml)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (5ml)
- sea salt for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 350F (177C) and line a 13x9 baking pan with parchment paper.
- Using an electric mixer, beat butter until well creamed.
- Add sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about 30 seconds.
- Add egg yolk and vanilla extract and stir well, pausing to scrape down the sides and mixing until ingredients are well-combined.
- Add flour, gradually (about ½ cup at a time), pausing to scrape down sides of bowl. Halfway through the addition of the flour, sprinkle in the salt with the beater still running.
- Don't over-beat the dough, you want it to be slightly crumbly to make it easier to press into the pan.
- Drop dough over prepared pan and gently, firmly, evenly, press dough into the bottom of the pan. To make it easier, I usually lay a piece of wax paper over the dough and use the palm of my hand to smooth the surface (and then discard wax paper).
- Bake on 350F (177C) for 20-25 minutes -- edges should be lightly golden brown.
- Allow to cool while you prepare your caramel topping.
- Combine condensed milk, butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat.
- Stir frequently until butter is melted and ingredients are well-combined. Continue to stir constantly until mixture begins to boil (this could take several minutes, but you don't need to increase the heat).
- Once mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer (slowly bubbling), still stirring constantly. Continue to stir 10-15 minutes until mixture turns a rich caramel color and has thickened (should begin pulling away from the sides of the pot as you stir).
- Remove from heat and immediately stir in the vanilla extract and salt.
- Pour evenly over prepared shortbread, use a knife to spread evenly if needed.
- Allow to cool at room temperature for several hours or in the refrigerator for 1 hour before topping with chocolate.
- Combine chocolate chips and heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Stir frequently until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Allow chocolate to cool just slightly for about 5 minutes, and then evenly spread over prepared caramel layer. Wait several minutes and then sprinkle with sea salt.
- Allow chocolate to harden (I recommend placing in refrigerator for about 30 minutes -- my family prefers these treats refrigerated anyway) before cutting and serving.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.
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