Millionnaire's Shortbread

By • September 28, 2010 • 30 Comments

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Author Notes: Millionnaire’s Shortbread. Even if you don’t know it by its official name (popular wisdom holds that it originated in Scotland and is called Millionnaire’s Shortbread because it is so rich), chances are you’ve had it: a base of buttery shortbread, topped with a blanket of smooth caramel and then a top layer of chocolate.

Now, doesn’t that sound like it could be even better with a sprinkling of sea salt? That’s what I thought, too.
Merrill Stubbs

Serves 16

For the shortbread

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
  1. Put a rack in the center of the oven and heat it to 350 degrees. Sift the flour and salt into a medium bowl and whisk in the sugar.
  2. Cut the butter into chunks and add it to the flour, stirring with a fork to make a soft dough. Gently pat the dough into a 9-inch square baking pan. Prick the dough all over with a fork and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until it is golden and no longer looks at all wet. Set aside to cool while you make the caramel and chocolate topping.

For the caramel and chocolate

  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 5 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 5 tablespoons salted butter, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon crème fraiche
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • Maldon, grey or smoked sea salt
  1. To make the caramel: Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, swirling occasionally until the sugar has melted but without stirring. Simmer for about 10 minutes, swirling the pot every once and a while, until the sugar turns a dark amber color. Do not let it get too dark, or it will taste burnt.
  2. As soon as the sugar reaches the right color, remove it from the heat and carefully add the cream, whisking all the time (the mixture will bubble up as you do this, so use an oven mitt or a long-handled whisk). Whisk in the butter gradually and then the crème fraiche. Set aside to cool for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. When the caramel is cool enough to touch, pour it evenly over the shortbread, tipping the pan gently and tapping it on the counter to get rid of any bubbles. Put in the fridge to firm up a little.
  4. To make the chocolate: When the caramel has firmed up a bit, bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Off the heat, immediately whisk in the chocolate until smooth and shiny. Let the mixture cool for about 5 minutes, and then pour over the caramel, again tilting the pan and tapping it against the counter to smooth it out. Let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes, until the chocolate starts to firm up a little.
  5. To finish, Sprinkle the top with salt and refrigerate until firm enough to cut into squares, at least 3 hours. Serve quickly, as the caramel will start to ooze quickly at room temperature.
Jump to Comments (30)

Tags: caramel, chocolate, sea salt, shortbread

Comments (30) Questions (0)

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Stringio

5 months ago Marcia Hunt Burdick

I made this over the weekend and the feedback I received were amazing! It took me three tries to get the caramel right. I figured out that I wasn't heating the sugar/water to a high enough heat. Once I turned up the heat, it worked perfectly. I didn't have any issues with either the caramel or chocolate firming up. Once everything was set, they cut easily. Even though it seems complicated, it really didn't take that long to make. Unfortunately, I'll be making these again and again and again.

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7 months ago Selina

So, this was my first attempt at making caramel and I took a risk and doubled the recipe for a dinner with my Flemish in-laws (to whom a dessert such as this is completely foreign.) Although the caramel was quite runny (I didn't read the comments before making it, either,) we served it in small appetizer dishes with a tiny fork with coffee and it was such a hit! I added a few salt crystals to the shortbread and the caramel (after it had cooled,) rather than to the chocolate and used some leftover valentine's champagne in place of water for the caramel as well. Beautiful recipe, I'll just have to practice my caramel craft for next time. Also, this recipe does not need to be doubled. . . it's rich enough to serve in tiny portions for perfection!

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7 months ago Virginia Plain

I was wondering about how much cream to use for the caramel, and how much to use for the ganache. Is the 1/2 cup divided between the two? 1/4 cup cream in the caramel, and 1/4 in the chocolate to make the ganache? Or 1/2 a cup for each recipe? Thank you.

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6 months ago Julie Lindgren

5 TBSP Cream in the caramel.
1/2 cup cream for the ganache.

Was0014

9 months ago lili chin

There is an Australian version of this - http://www.theydrawandcook...

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11 months ago Cameron

This is SUPER yummy...the caramel is the perfect gooieness! I'm already thinking of a pistachio addition to the shortbread crust.

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11 months ago Cameron

oh wow, Oh Wow! I've heard of this but have never made it until now. Wow! It's like a Twix...only a millionaire times better!! It's GREAT! WOW! Fun! Thank you!

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over 1 year ago toby kassoy

sure wish i read these reviews before trying it.... caramel way too runny. definitely not what is in the picture....

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over 1 year ago GypsyRose

We in South Africa make it into a fudge and pour out over shortbread followed by chocolate.. This way it will not be all gooey and runny

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over 1 year ago Suzanne Moore

After discovering this confection in Wales, UK, I tried to make this recipe but also found that the caramel would not firm up. BTW, I happened to find another recipe that included an additional layer of unbaked chocolate chip cookie dough! It was called Billionaire's Shortbread! Decadent!

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over 1 year ago Karen Silvernell

Did not turn out well for me. Caramel very runny.
Did not enjoy this.

Merrill

over 1 year ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Sorry to hear it! The caramel is slightly runny, which I kind of enjoy, but I understand that it may not appeal to everyone.

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over 1 year ago MrsK

A very simple way we make caramel in Brazil is to cook a (closed) can of sweetened condensed milk (leite condensado) in pressure from half to one hour. (And, no, I have never heard of any one having an accident when using pressure cooker--and consider that most women in Brazil own one.)

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over 2 years ago shannonstl

I tried this recipe yesterday and the caramel crystallized immediately. The only deviation I had from the recipe was that , due to a time issue, I poured the caramel immediately out onto the shortbread layer, rather than letting it cool in the pan. Could this have caused the crystallization? I have made caramel a number of times and never had an issue with crystallization. Any insight would be appreciated.

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over 2 years ago PistachioDoughnut

Hi, I want to try this soon. I had two questions , can I substitute creme fraiche with anything else. and, what would that be? And, secondly I can I parcel it overseas. If yes, what should I keep in mind doing so ?

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11 months ago Cameron

I used a tablespoon of sour cream and it worked perfectly

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almost 3 years ago Dots

Can you explain why, in the beautiful photo above, it looks more like a piece of fudge on top of the carmel instead of chocolate sauce? Also, Is there a way to do something similar that can stay out more than 3 hours?

Merrill

almost 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

It's actually supposed to be a solid chocolate ganache, not chocolate sauce -- the liquid chocolate mixture hardens as it cools, which is intentional. Homemade caramel and chocolate ganache are two things that don't usually sit well at room temp, but you could try adding just 1/4 cup of cream to the caramel, which should keep it firmer for a little longer.

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almost 3 years ago jibbitt

I first had this in Edinburgh Scotland and later on the Isle of Skye in a small community called Glendale. There it was made by a lass in a local restaurant that offered the most incredible collection of home baked goods I have ever seen--worth a trip back! My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I'm so happy to see the recipe.

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almost 3 years ago nicolena

I've heard that you can add a bit of cream of tartar to help prevent crystallization. Anyone tried that?

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almost 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Yes. I use a bit of cream of tartar when I make caramels. It causes the sucrose molecules to "invert" or break into glucose and fructose molecules. Different molecules in the mix interfere with the sucrose molecules linking together to form crystals. You can also add a bit of invert sugar (like corn syrup) for the same effect.

Stringio

about 3 years ago Wont Wonttorit

Try the sugar without the water. When I make flan I melt the sugar with no water. Be careful, when the sugar is liquid it is very hot. You have to hover and grab it when it's the right color. As was mentioned, too dark will taste burnt. It can go from golden to dark brown very quickly.

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almost 3 years ago Shuna Lydon

Shuna is a pastry chef in New York City and author of the acclaimed blog Eggbeater.

I tend to caution most people away from making caramel without water. It's a much trickier, less even, more dangerous way of making caramel-- unless all one needs is a few tablespoons. I am not challenging *your* prowess, per se.
For the record caramel is the most dangerous ingredient (gets and stays hotter than oil) in the edible kitchen, and any precaution to keep it safer, and cooking more evenly, is better, especially for consistency.

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over 3 years ago judiu

I don't have creme fresh, can I sub sour cream?

Merrill

over 3 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Should be fine!

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almost 4 years ago Parkenbergs

Hmmm, I swirled the sugar and water, but it didn't change color. In fact, after about 10 minutes, the water simply dissolved, leaving a gritty something. Any suggestions?

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almost 4 years ago Parkenbergs

And so I figured I had done something wrong and tried it again - - very carefully this time. It did the same thing!

Merrill

almost 4 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Hmm. It sounds like your mixture may have crystallized. If you make it again, try stirring the sugar and water with a wooden spoon just until the sugar is dissolved, and then simmer the liquid over medium heat, without stirring, until it caramelizes. If you see crystals start to form on the sides of the pot, you can take a pastry brush, dip it in water and gently run it around the side of the pot to dissolve the crystals. Caramelizing sugar can take a couple tries to get right. And make sure you're using a good quality, heavy pot -- that should make it easier!

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almost 4 years ago AlainB

Wow, this looks amazing, I have to try this out for Halloween!

Merrill

almost 4 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Let me know how it turns out!