Contest Winner! Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Squares (a.k.a. Millionaire’s Shortbread)

5 stars based on 1 votes

Millionaire's-Shortbread

Thanks to all who participated in my holiday cookie contest! I received many wonderful family recipes but, in the end, these Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Squares of Scottish origin won me over. Sent in by Carrie H. of Rockville, MD and known as Millionaire’s Shortbread, presumably because they are so rich, they consist of a layer of crumbly shortbread, a layer of soft caramel and a layer of chocolate. To me, they taste just like gourmet Twix bars.

cookie-contest-selection

Other cookies submitted were wonderful too, particularly Dianne’s Dark Chocolate Buttercrunch with Sea Salt and Amy’s Snickerdoodles. I’ll be sharing these recipes on the site soon. (2-Tier Server by Julia Knight)


ingredients

Begin by making the shortbread layer. Simply combine all of the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor.

dry-ingredients

Blitz to blend, then add the butter in chunks.

adding-butter

Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, then add the ice water and egg yolk.

adding-egg-yolk-and-water

Pulse until the dough comes together in wet clumps.

dough-in-wet-clumps

Dump the dough into the prepared pan and press into an even layer.

dough

Prick the dough all over with a fork and bake until lightly browned.

pricking-dough

Meanwhile, make the caramel by combining the sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar, butter, golden syrup, vanilla and salt in a medium sauce pan.

caramel-ingredients

Cook until the caramel is smooth and thickened, and the temperature reaches 225 degrees.

caramel

Immediately pour the caramel over the crust and let set for about 15 minutes.

spreading-caramel-over-crust

Meanwhile, make the chocolate glaze by combining the chocolate pieces and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl.

chocolate-and-cream

Cook in 20 second intervals, so as not to scorch the chocolate, stirring in between, until the chocolate is smooth and creamy. Spread the melted chocolate over the set caramel.

spreading-melted-chocolate

Chill the bars for about an hour, or until the chocolate is completely set.

cutting-bars

Then lift the bars out of the pan and cut into small squares.

Millionaire's-Shortbread

Note: You’ll need a candy thermometer for this recipe to measure the temperature of the caramel. You can find one at any kitchen supply store. Don’t be intimated to use it; it’s easy!

Millionaire's Shortbread

Servings: 20-25 squares
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 2 Hours

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon ice water
  • 1 large egg yolk

For the Caramel Layer

  • 1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup (such as Lyle's Golden Syrup) or dark corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Generous pinch salt

For the Chocolate Layer

  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, broken into small pieces, best quality
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream

Instructions

For the Crust

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil, pushing the foil neatly into the corners and up the sides of the pan, using two pieces if necessary to ensure that the foil overlaps all edges (the overhang will help removal from the pan). Spray the foiled pan with nonstick cooking spray or grease with butter.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the flour, brown sugar, cornstarch and salt; process until well combined and no lumps of brown sugar remain. Add the butter and pulse until a coarse meal forms. Add the ice water and egg yolk and blend until moist clumps form. Dump the dough into the prepared pan and press with your fingers into an even layer (dust your fingers with flour if the dough is too sticky). Pierce the dough all over with a fork and bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

For Caramel Layer

  1. Whisk the sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar, butter, golden syrup, vanilla and salt together in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, the butter melts and the mixture comes to a boil. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and boil gently, whisking constantly, until the caramel is thick and the temperature registers 225 degrees F, about 6 minutes. Pour the caramel over the warm crust; cool for about 15 minutes, or until caramel is set.

For Chocolate Layer

  1. Place the chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring in between, until the chocolate is about 75% melted. Stir, allowing the residual heat in the bowl to melt the remaining chocolate, until smooth (if necessary, place the chocolate back in the microwave for a few more; just be sure not to overheat or the mixture will curdle). Spread the chocolate over the caramel layer. Refrigerate the bars until the chocolate is set, at least 1 hour. Using the foil overhang, lift the bars out of the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into small squares and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  2. Note: The shortbread layer will crumble a bit when you cut it; that's just the nature of it.

Reviews & Comments

  • I like to make ahead and freeze Christmas cookies/bars. Do you know if these can be frozen and retain all its goodness?
    thanks

    - cheryl on November 24, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Cheryl, Yes, these should be just fine to freeze. Hope you enjoy!

      - Jenn on November 25, 2014 Reply
  • I wanted to make this as an additional dessert for Thanksgiving, but with some serious competition of other foods that need to be cooked in the oven, I was wondering if this can be made 2 days in advance. If yes, How should it be stored? When should it be cut. Thanks!!

    - Sandi on November 22, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Sandi, Yes, they can definitely be made a few days ahead and stored in an airtight container.

      - Jenn on November 22, 2014 Reply
  • I give this recipe is fabulous!!!! I made it with almond butter and my friends enjoyed eating them.
    Thank you Ms Jenn for this delicious recipe.

    - Mila Becker on October 22, 2014 Reply
  • Do leftovers need to be refrigerated?

    - Missy on October 18, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Missy, No it’s not necessary to refrigerate them.

      - Jenn on October 18, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this recipe the first time and it turned out PERFECT. However, the second and third time.. the chocolate topping ALWAYS curdled and turned rough and grainy and oily. I wasted so many (expensive) dark chocolate bars over this. I don’t know why! I have no idea how it worked the first time.. I did it the exact same way. I give up.. I’m going to make a regular chocolate topping with a tablespoon of butter next time.

    - Wow on June 6, 2014 Reply
    • My guess is that you overheated the chocolate. Try shorter intervals and pull it out when it’s about 75% melted; if you stir the mixture, the residual heat will melt the chocolate completely.

      - Jenn on June 6, 2014 Reply
  • I made these today and they are excellent. The recipe is very easy to follow, especially with photos. I substituted milk chocolate and they are yummy!

    - Carole on March 17, 2014 Reply
  • Yummy cookies. It’s a keeper – I would make them again.

    - Toni on January 26, 2014 Reply
  • Just made these. Will take them to our daughter’s tomorrow. I’m being very good and not stealing a bite!! Can’t wait until tomorrow.

    - Barbara on December 24, 2013 Reply
  • I was skeptical because I never used a candy thermometer before. I had a little trouble with the caramel burning I think I needed a heavier pan? Anyway, made a double batch and everyone loved it!!! Cam right off the tin foil!

    - Edbtxas on December 22, 2013 Reply
  • You had me at gourmet Twix bars. Yum! Can’t wait to try them. Thanks!

    - Bonnie on December 19, 2013 Reply
  • I didn’t want to touch this recipe because it looked very complicated. But when I read the description that it is like a gourmet twix bar I decided I have to try. ;)

    - Andi on December 19, 2013 Reply
  • Awesome! Anxiously waiting for the recipe for Amy’s Snickerdoodles! :) Hopefully before cmas

    - sandi on December 19, 2013 Reply

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