Millionaires Shortbread – why reinvent?!

Recently, I had the urge to make Millionaires Shortbread. This is a three layered sweet concoction with short bread layered with rich caramel and then chocolate. Despite some serious damage that it does to calorie counting, it is a very popular treat in the UK. Now, everyone who makes this sugary extravaganza, has their own interpretation. This was my first time making it and given it is SO different to cake baking, I wanted a fool proof recipe to start with.

So I turned to the BBC. You might not know this, especially if you do not live in the UK, but the BBC have a massive range of recipes, from sweets to savoury and everything in between. Here is the recipe that I adapted for my own version:

(Millionaires Shortbread, adapted from BBC Good Food, see original here)

Ingredients

For the shortbread

225g/8oz plain flour

175g/6oz unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes

75g/2¾oz caster sugar

For the topping

150g/5oz butter

1 x 379g can condensed milk (TYPO alert, read below)

100g/3½oz golden syrup

350g/12oz dark chocolate, or a mixture of dark and milk, chopped into small pieces

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas (Tick)

2. Line a 23cm/9in square cake tin with baking parchment.Combine the flour and butter cubes in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. (Alternatively, you can rub the butter in by hand.) (Tick – I used a mixer)

3. Add in the caster sugar and pulse again until combined. (TIck, no problem so far)

4. Tip the mixture into the lined cake tin and spread it out evenly with the back of a spoon. Then press the shortbread down firmly with your knuckles so that it is tightly packed in the tin. (Tick – I used a potato masher, works beautifully)

5. Bake the shortbread for 30 minutes or until very light golden brown. (It took more like 45mins for a light golden touch, I was using a fan oven, a slightly dodgy one at home, don’t ask, and I do not like very pale shortbread)

6. Set aside to cool.Meanwhile, for the topping, heat the butter, condensed milk and golden syrup in a saucepan, stirring occasionally until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. (HELLO! I then realised that there is not such thing as a 379gm of condensed milk, my tin was 397gms. Disaster averted and I carried on, smugly)

7. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to the boil, stirring frequently. The caramel will thicken and turn golden-brown. Set aside to cool slightly, then pour over the cooled shortbread. Allow to cool completely. (Caramel colour changing took a long time, around 4-6mins, but Tick)

8. Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water (ensure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water), stirring occasionally. (I used a microwave on low setting. We do a lot of chocolate melting in our workshop and I am a bit of an expert in this field)

9. Pour the melted chocolate over the caramel and set aside until the chocolate has cooled completely.

10.Cut into squares and serve. – This is where I ran into a problem. I cooled everything down and then cut in – but these were not the perfect looking cuts I was expecting, the chocolate kept cracking. Thanks to everyone on our Facebook Page and Instagram, I was given advice to use a hot knife to cut.

This WORKED. I was also given advice to add a touch of butter to the chocolate, this would make it easier to slice through. Thank you for this advice, I shall take this into consideration. Another top tip was to score the chocolate before it sets, I can see how this will be very useful. After all the suggestions, I used a hot knife dipped in boiling hot water and wiped clean and the results were simply beautiful.

Of course, I could not simply follow a recipe without adding my own touch – so I added a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the caramel. I hardly call that recipe sabotage. It added a gorgeous depth of flavour. These are particularly rich and I challenge anyone to eat more than two in one sitting. I challenge.

Yum. Yum. Yum.

I do hope you give this a try and thank you for this wonderful recipe, BBC!