Millionaire’s Shortbread is made with layers of rich, chewy shortbread, decadent caramel, and smooth chocolate. It’s a sinfully delicious treat that pairs wonderfully with coffee!
Table of Contents
- Decadent Shortbread Bars Topped with Caramel and Chocolate!
- Why Is It Called Millionaire Shortbread?
- What Is Sweetened Condensed Milk Made Of?
- Let’s Make Millionaire’s Shortbread!
- Recipe Tips
- Easy Variations
- How to Store Millionaire’s Shortbread
- Can I Freeze These?
- Get the Recipe
- More Christmas Cookie Recipes
Decadent Shortbread Bars Topped with Caramel and Chocolate!
If you like Twix bars, this recipe is going to blow your mind – as many times as I’ve made it, it still blows mine! The triple whammy of sweet, freshly-made shortbread, chewy caramel, and chocolate may be simple, but it tastes like a million bucks (see what I did there?).
This is a gorgeous dessert to make for a special meal, and the bars are also really good for gifting or swapping. And since millionaire’s shortbread freezes well, you can make extras with no hassle. Is it perfection in dessert form? Maybe!
Why Is It Called Millionaire Shortbread?
This dessert has a few different names, but “millionaire’s shortbread” seems to be a Scottish name that became popular worldwide. The name is all about luxury, which makes sense if you try a bite! Millionaire’s shortbread is definitely a rich, ritzy treat.
Each layer of the shortbread has its own list of ingredients, but all of the items are fairly simple. You probably already have most of them on hand!
- Butter: Unsalted butter, softened.
- Sugar: I use regular granulated sugar.
- Shortening: Vegetable shortening helps give the shortbread layer the right texture.
- Egg Yolks: For richness and flavor, and to add structure to the dough.
- Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract is best, but you can also use vanilla flavoring.
- Flour: All-purpose flour is fine.
- Sweetened Condensed Milk: This ingredient makes creating the caramel layer quick and easy.
- Sugar: You’ll need granulated sugar and brown sugar for the caramel. Light brown sugar has a milder taste, while dark brown has a more molasses-y taste. Either will do!
- Butter: For the caramel, you don’t need to soften the butter – just cut it into cubes.
- Corn Syrup: This helps get the caramel to the right consistency.
- Chocolate Chips: Semi-sweet work well here – they are not overly sweet, which is good, since the other layers are on the sweet side.
- Heavy Cream: To make the chocolate layer smooth and luxe.
What Is Sweetened Condensed Milk Made Of?
If you’re not familiar with sweetened condensed milk, it’s a type of canned milk that’s handy for making certain desserts and candies. Sweetened condensed milk is “condensed” because the water that naturally occurs in milk is removed, and it’s “sweetened” by adding sugar. The result is a thick, shiny, deliciously sweet mixture that works well for creating caramel sauce, pumpkin pie, and lots of other goodies – including millionaire’s shortbread, of course.
Let’s Make Millionaire’s Shortbread!
Okay, now that we’ve covered the ingredients, let’s go over the baking and cooking process. There are a few steps here, but all of them are easy to do.
- Beat the Butter, Sugar, and Shortening. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and shortening on high until the mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl using a rubber spatula to make sure everything is fully combined.
- Add the Remaining Ingredients. Next, beat in the egg yolks, followed by the salt and vanilla. Finally, beat in the flour on medium speed for just one minute. You should have a smooth dough.
- Chill the Dough. Scoop the dough out of the mixing bowl, and shape it into a ball. Press the ball of dough flat to make a 1-inch thick disc. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for one hour.
- Bake the Shortbread. Once the dough has chilled, preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a 9×9 square pan with parchment, and lightly spray with baking spray. Evenly spread the dough into the baking dish, and bake on the middle rack for 30 minutes.
- Let the Shortbread Layer Cool. Take the pan out of the oven and place on a wire rack to cool while you make the caramel.
- Combine the Ingredients, Except Vanilla and Salt. Set a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, and pour in the sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup. Cook these ingredients over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they are melted and well combined.
- Simmer Until Golden Brown. Next, turn the heat down to low, and simmer the mixture for 10 – 15 minutes, or until the color changes to a rich caramel. At that point, quickly take the saucepan off of the heat, and whisk in the vanilla and salt.
- Add to the Shortbread. Pour the caramel onto the baked shortbread. Set it aside to cool completely while you make the chocolate.
- Heat the Cream. To make the chocolate layer, first place the chocolate chips in a medium mixing bowl. Then, in a separate microwave-safe bowl, microwave the heavy cream for 1 minute.
- Melt the Chocolate with the Cream. Pour the heated cream over the chocolate chips, and let it sit for 1 minute. Then briskly whisk to melt the chocolate, until the mixture becomes very smooth.
- Add to the Caramel, and Chill. Pour the chocolate over the cooled caramel. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator. Chill for 1 – 2 hours (or longer) before serving.
- Enjoy! Once the bars have cooled, cut them into 9 squares and serve.
Knowing the ins and outs of a recipe ahead of time is great, and can go a long way toward saving you time in the kitchen. These are my top tips for making the best millionaire’s shortbread:
- About the Shortening: Melted butter may be used instead, but using a little shortening will help keep the shortbread soft.
- Heating the Caramel: When making the caramel, use the sturdiest pot you have. Thin cookware heats unevenly and that could cause the sugar to burn, resulting in a burnt-tasting caramel.
- Color Change: Using a light-colored pot when making the caramel will help you to see when the color changes. You will want to take it off the heat as soon as it does.
- Parchment Help: To keep parchment paper in place, give your pan a light spritz with baking spray before you place the parchment. The parchment will cling to the pan more, instead of sliding around as much.
Want to change things up? Make this millionaire’s shortbread recipe your own! Here are just a couple of ways you can play with the original:
- White Chocolate: For a pretty touch, drizzle melted white chocolate over the cooled bars, in a thin zigzag or another pretty pattern.
- Sea Salt: Sprinkle flaked sea salt over the caramel layer.
- Almonds: Slivered almonds make a pretty and scrumptious topping. Add them before the chocolate sets so they stick to the bars.
- Gold Flakes: Edible gold flakes would make a gorgeous garnish. Gold leaf is completely edible and can be purchased online.
How to Store Millionaire’s Shortbread
Millionaire’s shortbread bars can be stored in an airtight container in your fridge for up to 5 days. Let them to come to room temperature before serving, so that the chocolate and caramel layers aren’t too hard or chewy to eat.
Can I Freeze These?
Yes, you can! These bars actually freeze very well. Wrap each one in plastic wrap, and then seal the wrapped bars in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months, and thaw to room temperature before serving.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- ⅔ cups + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¼ cup shortening
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 ⅓ cup all purpose flour
- 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter, cubed
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 3 ½ tablespoons corn syrup
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ⅓ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- Shortbread Layer
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, and shortening until light and fluffy. Beat on high for 1 minute or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl using a rubber spatula.
- Add the egg yolks and mix until just combined. Add vanilla and salt and mix to combine. Add flour and mix on medium speed for 1 minute until a smooth dough forms.
- Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and mold it into a 1" thick disc. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper and lightly spray with baking spray.
- Once the dough has been chilled, remove from the fridge and evenly spread into the prepared baking dish. Place into the preheated oven on the middle rack and bake for 30 minutes.
- Once baked, remove from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack. While the shortbread is cooling, make the caramel.
- Caramel Layer
- In a medium-sized saucepan, add the sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the ingredients are melted and well combined.
- Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the color changes to a rich caramel.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and salt.
- Pour the caramel onto the baked shortbread. Set aside to cool completely. While the caramel is cooling, make the chocolate layer.
- Chocolate Layer
- Add chocolate chips to a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
- In a separate microwave-safe bowl add the heavy cream and microwave for 1 minute.
- Once the heavy cream is heated, pour it over the chocolate chips and let sit for 1 minute. Then briskly whisk the chocolate minute until it becomes very smooth in texture.
- Pour the chocolate mixture over the cooled caramel. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator.
- Cool for at least 1-2 hours before serving. Once cooled, cut into 9 pieces and serve.
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