With its buttery base, gooey caramel and snappy chocolate top, Millionaire’s Shortbread is fondly remembered by many of us. But if you’ve tried to make it at home, you might have not produced the perfect results you were hoping for. We know we’ve had a few failures too! Here’s what we’ve learned – and a recipe for making Millionaire’s Shortbread at home.
Secrets Of SuccessSo what makes the difference between an ordinary slice of Millionaire’s Shortbread, and a sublime slice of Millionaire’s Shortbread? Here are some tips to bear in mind while making the recipe.
The Shortbread – Read our article about Shortbread for a primer on making crisp, crumbly slices. There are two secrets here: keep the butter cool, and don’t overwork the dough. You want the butter to go into the oven as cool and untouched as possible. You also want the flour to be worked lightly to prevent gluten formation.
The Caramel – There’s just one secret here, and it’s a recent revolution. We use a teaspoon of salt in the caramel to give a sophisticated edge to the deep sweetness. Why? Salted caramels have been the unexpected hit of 2008. Don’t worry – the salt is just a subtle aftertaste, but it’s enough to kick-start the taste-buds and heighten the overall experience. But if you’re super-sensitive to salt (scientists would call you a supertaster) or if you don’t like the idea, just leave out the salt in our recipe.
The Chocolate – Plain or milk? This is a matter of personal taste: but with the sweet caramel and shortbread, a thin layer of plain chocolate won’t seem as bitter as usual. However, those averse to dark chocolate may like to combine two types: in which case, use half dark and half milk or white chocolate. Melt the dark chocolate and spread it over the set caramel, then drizzle the contrasting chocolate over and swirl with a fork or skewer.
Millionaire’s Shortbread Recipe
Using our classic shortbread recipe, we’ve adapted the caramel topping to create a sumptuous new version.
For The Shortbread:
- 250g (9oz) plain flour, sifted
- 2 tbsp cornflour, sifted
- 100g (4oz) icing sugar, sifted
- 200g (7oz) unsalted butter
For The Caramel:
- 100g (4oz) caster sugar
- 200g (7oz) soft brown sugar
- 200g (7oz) unsalted butter
- 1tsp sea salt
- 225ml (8fl oz) double cream
For The Chocolate:
- 300g (11oz) plain chocolate (or a combination; see above)
Butter and line a 23cm square or 20x30cm tin. Preheat the oven to 170ºC. Sift the flours and sugar together, then add the butter, cut into cubes, and use a knife to cut it more finely through the flour. Use your fingers or a pastry cutter to rub it in, quickly and lightly, until the mixture is a coarse sand consistency. Scatter the mixture into the prepared tin and press lightly to even it out. Prick all over with a fork to prevent it from rising. Put into the preheated oven, turn down the heat to 150ºC, and bake for 30 minutes or until golden at the edges. Take out of the oven and cool.
In a large saucepan, warm the sugars. Bring slowly to boiling point, then bubble for about 7-8 minutes, or until the mixture is a rich caramel colour (watch carefully and stir to ensure it doesn’t burn on the bottom). Weigh the butter and cut it into pieces, then add to the sugar with the salt and double cream, and simmer for another 2-3 minutes. Let the caramel cool in the pan for a few minutes before pouring it over the shortbread base. Smooth it out with a spatula and let it cool for a few more minutes before you melt the chocolate.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. When it’s smooth, drizzle it over the caramel, spreading with a knife. Put the tray in a cool place to set. Cut into small squares to serve.