Make Ahead

Slum Dog Millionaire's Shortbread

February 16, 2012
1 Ratings
  • Prep time 3 hours 45 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Makes 24 bars
Author Notes

Ever since Merrill posted her Millionaire's Shortbread, they have been haunting me, calling to me, telling me to make them. I've been having the same experience with coconut cream bars from Fran Bigelow's book, Chocolate. So many confections vying for my attention! You can only resist them for so long.

And now I've caved, big time. I decided I wanted to sort of combine the two ideas, and spice them up. Starting from the coconut, I was inspired by the Vosges Nagaga chocolate bar, which has a palate tingling combination of coconut, toasty curry, and deep milk chocolate. I'm usually one of those people who sneers at white chocolate and milk chocolate, but the white chocolate in the center layer here gives it a soft creaminess without distracting too much from the coconut. The little bit of milk chocolate in the ganache topping lightens it just a tad, making it a gentler background for the curry, which has an amazing, hauntingly sweet, almost cinnamony quality when paired with chocolate. And, I used salted butter in the shortbread, to give them a little extra saltiness to offset the sweetness in the rest of the bars, while little speckles of dried apricot add tang.

There's a lot going on here, but it all works really well together. And, while there are a number of steps for making these bars, all of them are quite simple.

And, I hope I'm not infringing on any copyrights or anything with the name! —fiveandspice

Test Kitchen Notes

Like their namesake movie, these bars from fiveandspice are full of juxtapositions that are somehow fated to wind up blissfully happy together in the end. Coconuts? Apricots? Curry? Three kinds of chocolate? But the results were sensational. The sweet coconut cream seemed cool, while the spiced dark ganache was full of warmth. The contrast of the two, on top of the nubby, fruit-studded shortbread, was an utter delight. —cheesypennies

What You'll Need
  • 1 1/2 ounces unsweetened, shredded dried coconut
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces really good quality white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup good salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon very good quality Madras curry powder
  • 2 1/2 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 1/4 ounces good milk chocolate, finely chopped
  1. First, make the coconut cream. Preheat your oven to 325F. Spread the coconut on a baking sheet and toast it in the oven until it is just light golden, 6-8 min. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup heavy cream just to a boil. Remove it from the heat and add the white chocolate to it. Let it sit for a minute, then gently stir until the chocolate and cream are completely incorporated into each other and you have a smooth mixture. Stir in the coconut. Then, transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface (like you would with pudding). Set aside to cool for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  3. Next, make the shortbread. Keep your oven at 325F. Lightly butter a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a standing mixture fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the edges every now and then.
  5. Add the dry ingredients, and stir them in at low speed. Just before they are fully incorporated into the butter mixture, add in the apricots. Continue to mix just until everything is fully blended together.
  6. Use your fingers to press the shortbread dough into the greased baking pan in an even layer. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown. Remove and allow to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
  7. When the coconut cream has cooled at least 3 hours and the shortbread is cool, you can assemble the bars. First, either in the stand mixer with the paddle attachment or using a hand mixer, beat the coconut cream on medium speed until lightened in color and the consistency of frosting, about 1 minute. Spread this in an even layer over the shortbread base.
  8. In a small saucepan, combine the last 1/2 cup cream and the curry powder. Bring just to a boil, then remove from the heat and dump in the milk and dark chocolate. Allow this to sit for one minute, then gently stir it until the cream and chocolates are fully combined in a smooth mixture.
  9. Let this ganache cool until it is lukewarm (around 85 degrees), then pour it over the coconut cream layer, and gently spread it into an even covering.
  10. Let the bars set at room temperature for at least an hour before cutting (it actually makes them much easier to cut if you stick them in the refrigerator for a while). To cut them, first cut through the top chocolate layers with a sharp knife where you're planning to cut the bars, then cut through the shortbread base. These bars should keep for about a week in the refrigerator in an airtight container. If they last that long. :) Their flavor develops and gets even better over the next couple of days.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • cheese1227
  • healthierkitchen
  • Midge
  • gingerroot
  • hardlikearmour

24 Reviews

Madhuja May 21, 2013
You have the best descriptions of food, did you know that? Dying to have this!
fiveandspice May 22, 2013
Wow, thank you so much Madhuja! You're so kind to say that! I hope you give them a try some time. They're pretty unique tasting, and delicious.
cheese1227 May 14, 2013
I will be trying these this weekend as my daughter just discovered that she likes coconut!
fiveandspice May 14, 2013
Oh awesome! I hope you guys like them as much as we do.
healthierkitchen May 13, 2013
Wow! These are so creative and sound delicious!
fiveandspice May 14, 2013
Thanks HK! There's a lot going on in them, but we loved them when I made them.
Midge February 25, 2012
Oh wow, I'm so impressed by your take on these and the name is awesome.
fiveandspice February 25, 2012
Thanks so much Midge! I'm psyched you like it! :)
gingerroot February 23, 2012
I'm so late to this shortbread party, but you had me at coconut and curry and apricot and ganache. These sound SO good, fiveandspice!
fiveandspice February 23, 2012
Thanks so much Jenny! I'm glad you think so!
jwiz February 17, 2012
Having personally tasted these (I'm only 2/3rds of the way through the pan - 1/3rd to go!), I can say that they are astonishingly delicious. In fact, let's go make that 2/9ths!
fiveandspice February 23, 2012
Or 9/9ths, if you wanted to record that accurately. ;)
hardlikearmour February 16, 2012
Gorgeous photo! The bars sound over-the-top yummy, too!
fiveandspice February 17, 2012
Thanks hla! The bars are over the top, but in a very, very good way!
EmilyC February 16, 2012
These are so creative, and I'll bet so, so good. Your addition of white and milk chocolate here makes a lot of sense -- and I'd love to taste the curry powder / chocolate / coconut combination, never having had it before. Add me to those who love the name! And nice photo, too -- I always marvel at your recipes AND photographs!
fiveandspice February 17, 2012
Thank you so much EmilyC! That's so nice of you to say! I'm always in awe of your recipes too.
aargersi February 16, 2012
Man these sound amazing - love the coconut curry chocolate thing going on. And - best name ever!
fiveandspice February 16, 2012
Thanks A! There are a lot of happy flavors packed in there! And, I'm glad you like the name! :)
mrslarkin February 16, 2012
these sound decadent! Love the name, btw.
fiveandspice February 16, 2012
Thanks MrsL! They are pretty decadent, kind of like a little candy bar!
AntoniaJames February 16, 2012
You totally had me at coconut + curry. I'm not wild about either white chocolate or milk chocolate, but you make such a convincing case here. This, my dear, is inspired! ;o)
fiveandspice February 16, 2012
Why thank you AJ! I'm completely thrilled you think so! Is it really bad of me to have been totally impressed with myself as soon as I tried my first bite? :)
LeBec F. February 22, 2012
No, it is NOT bad of yourself. Because you probably have unfairly dissed yourself hundreds of times before- as you sought perfection through your cooking life. Antoniajames wrote my exact reaction. years ago, I did have a dynamite lightly curried lemon cheesecake in Ellsworth ME and that was a revelation, so i look forw to trying these. thnx much. i'm new to 52, and had my Lemon Almond Cornmeal Diamonds as a CP, so it's really exciting to read the creative work of cooks like you!
fiveandspice February 23, 2012
Hehe! Thanks for the reassurance. I think you are quite right. Also, your lemon almond cornmeal diamonds look so completely delightful. My mouth waters every time I see the gorgeous photo of them, and it makes me very sad I can't eat almonds! Oh well, that's life.