Perfect millionaire’s shortbread

Millionaire's shortbread
I have only made millionaire’s shortbread a couple of times previously, and not been satisfied. I want to make some for a charity cake stall, so this time I googled and took the best bits of several recipes, so I feel like this is my recipe now. And the jury of two agreed that it really was perfect.

The key points:

  • I used the ever-reliable Felicity Cloake’s shortbread base. Including rice flour or fine semolina makes it really crunchy, a good contrast with the topping.
  • I used a thermometer to check the temperature of the caramel. It’s really important to get it exactly to softball stage (112C) so that it’s neither too runny nor too chewy, and it’s hard to judge any other way. See a recent Bake Off attempt at Twix bars!
  • Remember the name, and use really good quality chocolate. Cheap chocolate will ruin it. I used Lindt milk chocolate, which is not too expensive and streets ahead of the bog standard supermarket type.Use either milk, dark, or a mixture, according to taste.
  • Give yourself plenty of time; it needs to chill thoroughly before cutting.
  • Cut it into small squares … it’s very rich!

The quantities given are for an oblong tin, 24×18 cm. They will also work for a square tin around 22×22 cm. Butter the tin, but there’s no need to line it.
150 g plain flour
75 g fine semolina or rice flour
75 g caster sugar
pinch salt
150 g butter, cut into dice
75 g golden syrup
250 ml double cream
75 g unsalted butter
175 g caster sugar
200 g good quality milk or plain chocolate

Preheat the oven to 180C. For the base, whisk together the dry ingredients in a bowl, then add the butter and cut it in using two table knives, one in each hand. Finish by rubbing it in with your fingers as for pastry. Squeeze the mixture together with your hands, but don’t expect it to come together into a ball as pastry would. Tip the crumbly mixture into the buttered tin and press it down gently with your hands to form an even base. You can smooth it out with the back of a spoon. Bake for around 25-30 minutes so that it is a light gold on top and has shrunk very slightly from the sides of the tin. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile make the caramel. It’s very easy. Put all the ingredients in a bigger pan than you think you will need, and simmer over a moderate heat, stirring frequently to stop it catching, especially towards the end. Beware of splashes. It will take up to 10 minutes to turn a pale fawn. Keep checking the temperature, remove from the heat as soon as it hits 112C, and stir vigorously to stop it overheating. Let it cool for a couple of minutes, then pour evenly all over the cooled base, smoothing with a palette knife.

The caramel needs to be completely cold before you add the topping. Break up the chocolate into a heatproof bowl and melt it either over simmering water or in the microwave on low power. If using the microwave, give it a couple of minutes initially, then stir and give it further 30-second blasts until most of the chocolate has melted. Then stir to melt the remaining lumps. Pour the chocolate evenly over the cold caramel, tilting the tin to help it spread. Smooth with a palette knife if necessary.

Chill in the fridge for at least two hours before cutting into squares.

9 thoughts to “Perfect millionaire’s shortbread”

  1. Millionaire’s shortbread is my favourite treat!! I was disappointed with Felicity Cloake’s recipe, especially the way the caramel turned out (too chewy), so am looking forward to trying your recipe! Any suggestions of what to use instead of double cream here in France?

  2. Hello again, Veronica,
    I made the recipe yesterday and they turned out very nicely!! I would have liked the caramel to be a little darker/flavourfull, but was worried getting toffee 🙂
    Thanks for sharing that recipe!

  3. Hi Andreas

    Yes, I like my caramel to have a bit of an edge too. I wondered if making a dry caramel with the sugar, to the colour you like, and then adding the rest of the ingredients and cooking to softball stage, would work? I might try that next time.

  4. I think that might be a good way to go – be careful when you add the cream, it’ll bubble like crazy!! I’m really enjoying it though, brings back many happy memories, one small square at a time!!

  5. Hi Andreas

    Belated update, I tried this again using the method of making the dry caramel first. It was a bit nerve-racking cooking to the required temperature once the cream was added — I thought it might burn — but it worked really well. Lovely almost mahogany caramel that was still the right consistency. Milk chocolate needed to balance it.

  6. Hi Veronica,
    I just saw your update! I can imagine that cooking the caramel with the cream to the softball stage was a bit nail-biting, but glad to hear that it achieved the desired results!! I must make this again soon, once all the Easter chocolates are eaten!! 🙂

  7. Hi Andreas
    I made them again recently using the second method. I was making double quantity, and when I added the cream, the caramel seized in a massive lump in the pan. I thought I was screwed, but with a lot of patience and much stirring over a low heat, it eventually melted and the caramel layer was absolutely fine.

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