Bake this Now: Millionaire’s Shortbread

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(photo by Cory Flicher)

Sometimes it’s essential to take a step back from from the stresses of daily life (like the anxiety-inducing news cycle we’re all being pummeled with right now)  and focus on an activity that can put your mind at ease. Like we’ve talked about before, baking is a creative outlet that has the added benefit of producing delicious treats to share while simultaneously abating stress. There really is something about following a recipe to the letter when everything else in life feels totally uncertain, or getting to shape a piece of dough or choose colors for icing when so many other things seem out of our control. Whatever part of baking or cooking speaks to you, one of the bright spots of having the privilege to stay at home right now has been the ability to try out recipes that I just haven’t had the time (or energy) to tackle before. 

Now, for today’s recipe: Millionaire’s Shortbread. Never heard of it? Think delicious homemade Twix bars, but even better. This recipe takes some time to make as it’s comprised of three distinct layers, but it’s well worth the effort – and let’s face it, you probably won’t have as much time as you do right now in the foreseeable future. I should point out that this recipe is not for those who are afraid of a little butter – but during stressful times, couldn’t we all use a little more comfort? (Hint: the answer is a resounding yes!) Get your apron on, turn on your favorite jams, and let’s get baking.

Millionaire’s Shortbread
Ingredients

For the Shortbread Cookie Crust:

    • 2 ½ Cups All-Purpose Flour
    • ½ Cup Brown Sugar
    • 2 Sticks Unsalted Melted Butter, Wrappers reserved
    • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
    • 1 tsp Kosher Salt

For the Caramel Filling:

    • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter
    • 14 oz Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
    • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
    • ½ Cup Corn Syrup
    • ½ Cup Heavy Cream
    • 1 tsp Kosher Salt

For the Chocolate Topping:

    • 8oz Dark Chocolate
Directions

Make the Shortbread:

  1. Preheat oven to 350℉. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, flour and salt until blended. In a small bowl, add the vanilla extract to the melted butter and stir. Now pour the butter vanilla mixture into the flour and whisk the whole mixture until the liquid is absorbed by the flour and no dry flour remains. The mixture should be firm when pressed together but remain crumbly.
  2. In a 9×13 baking tray, create a sling with 2 sheets of aluminum foil, crossing over the tray first lengthwise and then widthwise like a cross. Using the butter wrappers, coat the aluminum foil with butter to grease the tray. This will help the shortbread release from the tray when the bars are done.
  3. Using your hands crumble the mixture from step 1 into the baking tray. After crumbling the mixture use your hand and fingers to compress the dough to an even thickness throughout the baking sheet. Next pierce the dough at 1 inch intervals with a fork to allow steam to escape during baking.
  4. Place the tray into the oven for 16-23 minutes, or until it is just starting to turn golden brown.
  5. Remove from the oven and place the tray on a wire rack to cool to room temperature (about 2 hours).

(photo by Cory Flicher)

Next, Make the Caramel Center:

  1. In a medium-large saucepan combine all the caramel filling ingredients and bring to a light simmer. Now whisk frequently for around 15-20 minutes while keeping a close eye on your thermometer until it reaches 236℉ and no hotter than 240℉. (Note: Your caramel needs to be in that temperature range to achieve the perfect chewy consistency. Too low and it would be too runny, too high and it will be too hard.)
  2. Once the caramel reaches the correct temperature, remove thermometer and pour caramel filling over the cooled shortbread. Use a silicone spatula to push the caramel into all corners and achieve an even height of caramel across the whole shortbread.
  3. Leave caramel coated shortbread to cool completely at room temperature, which can take up to 2 hours.

(photo by Cory Flicher)

Lastly, the Chocolate Topping:

  1. Take 8oz of chocolate and finely chop all of it, setting aside 2 oz for the next step. Transfer 6 oz  to a microwavable safe bowl and microwave on low in 20 second intervals for about 2 minutes, stirring each time, until the chocolate is completely melted.
  2. Add the remaining 2oz of finely chopped chocolate to the melted chocolate a little at a time, stirring until dissolved before adding more.
  3. Once chocolate is fully melted and homogenous, pour it over the caramel-coated shortbread and spread to an even thickness across the caramel using a silicone spatula. 
  4. Cover and refrigerate the baking tray for about 10 minutes, until the chocolate sets.

(photo by Cory Flicher)

Portioning and Storage:

  1. Lift up the foil sides on your sling to remove the bar and place it on a cutting board. Remove the foil.
  2. To portion, slide into individual bar length, first slicing through the chocolate and caramel with a gentle cut and then slicing through the shortbread. This will help avoid squishing the caramel or crushing the shortbread cookie.
  3. Slice the bar into 4 long bars with 3 slices on the 13 inch side of the tray and then slice each bar into 10 equal sized pieces to get 40 bars of deliciousness.

(photo by Cory Flicher)

Millionaire’s Shortbread will keep for a few days out in the open at room temperature. To keep longer, store in an airtight container for about a week or freeze for up to three months, bringing back to room temperature before serving. Enjoy the bars on their own, or even better, paired with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!