Once again, I’ve been trying out my baking skills for my willing taste testers. This time it’s the marvel that is Millionaire’s Shortbread, a classic British favourite consisting of layers of shortbread, caramel and chocolate. It looks like it’d be complicated to make, but although it was a bit time consuming, most of the time was spent just waiting for the separate layers to cool down. I had about five recipes in my recipe folder for this (and could have found many other versions online), so I’ve combined them into my own new recipe.
250g plain flour
80g golden caster sugar
175g butter, cubed (I used salted for that hint of salt-caramel flavour)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
100g brown sugar (I used light brown soft sugar)
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 x 397g tin condensed milk
200g milk or plain chocolate, broken into small pieces
Preheat the oven to 180C. Rub in the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs (this bit can be done in a food processor or mixer but I prefer the hands on approach). Add sugar and vanilla extract. Form into a dough and knead lightly on a floured surface. The mixture might seem quite crumbly to start off with but just keep at it and it will all work out OK!
Press the dough into an approx 23 x 20cm baking tin that has been lined with baking paper. Bake for about 25 minutes, then remove and allow to cool.
Whilst the base is cooling you can make the caramel. Melt the butter in a pan, then add the brown sugar, golden syrup and condensed milk. Mix well, then allow to bubble gently, stirring often. After about ten minutes the mixture will have noticeably darkened and thickened and at this point you can try what is known in expert confectionery circles as the ‘soft ball test’ which basically involves dropping small amounts of the caramel into a glass of cold water to see if the drops form into soft balls. If they do, the caramel is ready; if not, give it a little longer then try again. Once the caramel is ready, remove from the heat and pour over your shortbread base. Leave to cool.
Once it’s set, melt the chocolate, either slowly and carefully in the microwave or over a pan of simmering water, and pour it over the caramel layer. Put the shortbread in the fridge for a few hours until the chocolate has set, then remove and cut into squares or slices. Serve, to much “mmmm”-ing from your friends, family and colleagues!
I hope you enjoy the recipe – any suggestions or problems, let me know.