This Millionaires Shortbread is one of my favourite treats!
So my husband and I went on a little jaunt out into the depths of Shropshire last weekend. We of course took Archie our gorgeous golden retriever, here is looking wistfully into the distance:
First, we stopped off at Mortimer's Forest near Ludlow, a beautiful peaceful forest full of lovely walks. He was able to dart about here and there investigating this and that to his heart's content. Then we went on into Ludlow for a wander around. Many years ago I used to live a few miles away from Ludlow so it's a bit special to me. This lovely old market town is steeped in history including possessing its very own castle. It boasts lots of bespoke quaint little shops and cafes. Well worth a visit.
Following this meander, we decided to visit one of our favourite cafés for a cuppa and a sweet treat. Paul went for millionaire's shortbread. I didn't need to even consult the menu, rich fruitcake every time for me, please. As you may have worked out by now it's something of an addiction of mine.
Please Sir, may I have some more...
Of course, what he was hoping for was a decent man-sized slab of his favourite treat. What was delivered however was a short, stubby version cowering in the middle of the plate thus was, to put it mildly, somewhat disappointing. The waiter informed us it was however a standard portion as he gazed at the offering with an air of self-doubt.
I, on the other hand, was presented with a fat nice slab of rich, moist fruit cake gorgeousness so all was well in my world. I tried not to be too smug. But it was spot on ....
So in order to make it up to him I decided to give conjuring up this shortbread come caramel come chocolate combo a go myself.
And so to the tricks of creating the perfect millionaire's shortbread
Millionaire's shortbread, what a name. The joy of this little beauty is how perfectly the three sweet tiers complement each in terms of flavour and texture.
The shortbread is crisp and crumbly and works so well with the softness of the caramel above, which in turn is topped off by lovely soft chocolate. Adding cornflour is what gives the shortbread this consistency.
Caramel sauce tips
The caramel can be tricky but if you follow the steps below you will be fine, it's worth the effort. It is a bit needy though and requires constant attention. Use a heavy bottomed saucepan and whisk fast and continually. Just a few seconds of missed whisking and it will start to brown and catch on the bottom of the pan.
If you are using an electric hob it can be more difficult, so keep it simmering on a medium heat. If little flecks of dark brown start to pop up take it immediately off the heat and continue to whisk frantically, to stop it catching any further. The little brown flecks won't matter, they are really just a warning sign. Then, after about 30 seconds whisking, return to the medium heat and continue to whisk as it thickens.
The sauce has to simmer to thicken but if simmering too fast it will burn.
As I say it's a temperamental one to get right, but so worth it!
You will find that the caramel is ready after about 6 minutes of simmering and whisking. When ready it will be golden, gloopy and glossy, like a thick toffee sauce. Keep whisking for a couple of minutes when you take it off the heat to prevent it from catching as it's still very lava-like.
Then you can pour it onto your cooled shortbread and then leave it to set in the fridge for about an hour.
You will notice that the chocolate topping has a bit of flavourless oil in it, this is to ensure it keeps a soft texture. For a bit of snazz you can add some gold dust to the top if you so wish!
So please enjoy this recipe and do let me know how you get on.
Soft caramel millionaire's shortbread
Here's what you'll need...
- heavy bottomed saucepan
Ingredients you'll need...
- 200 g unsalted butter softened
- 80 g golden caster sugar
- 200 g plain flour
- 80 g cornflour
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 200 g unsalted butter
- 60 g golden caster sugar
- 4 tablespoon golden syrup
- 397 g tin of condensed milk
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 200 g milk chocolate
- 1 tablespoon groundnut oil or any flavourless oil
- 30 g dark chocolate
Here's what we do...
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/Gas mark 4.
- Line your 9" x 9" cake tin with greaseproof paper.
- Cream your softened butter and sugar together until soft and pale in colour, this will take about 4 minutes with a stand mixer, start with a low setting the increase to a medium once the ingredients are incorporated.
- Sift in the both of the flours and salt into the mixture.
- Beat together briefly until the it starts to come together as a dough, but is still a bit crumbly. Then bring together by hand, but don't knead or over mix, you want the dough to just be incorporated.
- Put the dough into your prepared tin, I find it easer to do this by dotting bits of it over the based first so that I know it is evenly spread, then pressing it down by hand and finally smoothing out with the back of a metal spoon.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for 25-30 minutes until just starting to become golden all over.
- Leave in the tin to completely cool before adding your caramel sauce.
- Add all of the caramel sauce ingredients to your heavy bottomed saucepan and heat on a low heat until fully melted and the all of sugar has completely dissolved, mixing gently with a whisk at all time. You must be sure the sugar has dissolved to avoid the caramel taking on a grainy texture.
- Whisking rapidly, turn the heat up so that the mixture begins to boil, as soon as it hits boiling point turn the heat back down to a medium heat and keep at a gentle simmer. Whatever you do don't stop that rapid whisking, it will very easily catch on the bottom of the pan otherwise.
- Continue to whisk the mixture rapidly whilst it is simmering for about 6 minutes until the caramel resembles a toffee sauce.
- Continue to whisk away from the heat for a minute or so, then pour over your cooled shortbread base.
- Place in a fridge to set for an hour.
- Bring two saucepans of water to the boil then remove from the heat.
- Melt the milk chocolate and groundnut oil in a heatproof bowl suspended over the pan of water.
- Melt the dark chocolate over the other pan of water.
- Pour the melted milk chocolate over your set caramel, drizzling evenly over then spreading out with the back of metal spoon.
- With a teaspoon take spoonful's of the melted dark chocolate and drizzle this over the top to create any pattern you fancy.
- Leave to set in the fridge for an hour.
- Cut your Millionaire's Shortbread into 12 squares (or smaller if you wish as it is quite rick) and enjoy!
If you are making the shortbread by hand you need to use very cold butter, grate it into the flour mixture and rub together until it forms breadcrumbs, then stir in your sugar and then gently knead together until it forms a dough, do not over knead. Caramel sauce:
Unfortunately there is no by passing the caramel stage by using caramel condensed milk as it won't set. If you do not have a whisk you can use a spatula with a flat base, you have to be sure to use a utensil that can scrap the bottom of the saucepan and get into the corners and can withstand very high temperatures. Caramel sauce warning :
The caramel sauce gets extremely hot and it can splash out of the pan slightly as it simmers, so be very careful!