Sorry for the lack of communication the last couple of days. I think I’d just exhausted myself. I fell asleep on the sofa on Friday whilst trying to think of what to blog. Hence the lack of posts. But I’m back now with a peace-offering. A crunchy chewy creamy sweet peace-offering.
I love millionaire’s shortbread. I used to eat it quite often if we would go to a café when I was younger. But if I’m honest, the home-made stuff is nothing like the café variety.
It is far better.
At first glance the recipe seems a little bit complicated.It’s really not, though. Sure there are three stages to it, but the last part is more or less just “melt chocolate and pour” and the first part is so easy a toddler could probably do it! Which leaves the middle part. Yes the caramel is slightly complicated. But once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s easy. Of course if you like you could used tinned caramel but… well, I really would suggest you make your own. It’s so much better.
Readers of previous recipes may remember me mentioning this one before. I made it when I was last in England, and I still haven’t managed to get the pictures from my brother… So the pictures you have today are from the last time I made it. That was at the end of October, for a multicultural food evening some of my classmates hosted at their flat. It was a great night with lots of yummy food, and these were my contribution.
As you can see from the pictures, I tried to make them a bit fancy looking with the feathered chocolate. I’m not happy with the way it turned out, to be honest. All it did was weaken the chocolate layer. I think the problem partly was that I was too slow doing it, so when I used a toothpick to make the feathery effect the chocolate didn’t flow back to “heal” the gap. Or something. Anyway, if I try it again I’ll certainly be doing it differently.
Anyway, perhaps you would just like me to get on with the recipe now?
For the shortbread base:
250g/9oz plain flour
70g/2 1/2oz caster sugar
175g/6oz butter, softened
For the caramel:
100g/3 1/2oz butter
100g/3 1/2oz light muscavado sugar
2x 397g/14oz tins condensed milk
For the topping:
200g/7oz plain chocolate
white chocolate (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.
Grease a brownie pan, approximately 30x25cm (13x9inch). I like to line it with greaseproof paper as this makes it much easier to remove the finished product from the pan.
Begin by making the shortbread. Sieve the flour and caster sugar into a bowl, and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Knead the flour mixtures until it resembles a dough.
Press the dough into the base of the tin, making sure to spread it nicely. Don’t worry too much if it is a little bit uneven. Prick the surface of the dough with a fork.
Put the tin in the pre-heated oven and bake for 20 minutes. It should be lightly browned and firm to the touch. I actually have found it tends to be a little soft but firms up nicely once it begins to cool.
Leave the shortbread to cool in the tin.
To make the caramel, put the butter, muscavado sugar and condensed milk into a pan. Non-stick works best for this, if possible.
Heat the mixture gently until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.
Carefully bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Make sure you scrape right around the edges of the pan to stop the caramel sticking.
Once it has reached the boil, reduce the heat and allow to simmer. Continue to stir constantly for about five minutes. At this stage the caramel should be slightly thickened and darker in colour.
Pour the caramel over the shortbread and leave to cool. The caramel will be very hot, so be careful. I tend to leave it overnight to make sure it is fully cooled. You can put it in the fridge, if you like, just make sure it’s cool enough to handle before doing so or you will warm your fridge up!
Whenever you are ready to do so, melt your chocolate. Do this in whatever manner you prefer. I usually just zap it in the microwave on one minute bursts, stirring in between. However, I recently bought a double boiler so in future I’ll probably use that.
Once the chocolate is evenly melted, pour it over the cold caramel and leave it to set.
If you want to do the feathered effect, melt the white chocolate at the same time as the plain chocolate. Separately, of course. As soon as the plain chocolate is on, drizzle the white chocolate in parallel lines across the surface. Before it can begin to set, run a toothpick through the chocolate perpendicularly to the white lines. So, if you made the white lines horizontally across the pan, run the toothpick vertically. You might like to alternate the direction of the feathers, for example first line run top-to-bottom, second bottom-to-top, third top-to-bottom etc.
Once the chocolate is cooled remove the millionaire’s shortbread from the pan and cut into bars or squares as you prefer. These are quite rich, so bear that in mind before you cut them so you don’t end up with enormous servings!
And enjoy! These are delicious as a dessert, or as a snack with a glass of cold milk or a mug of hot tea (I presume, I don’t actually drink tea myself…) If they’re not eaten before these will keep well for probably a couple of weeks. Store them in an airtight container either on the side or in the fridge.
If you’d like some other chocolate-y recipes, why not try having a look at some of these!
What treat from your childhood do you love to make? What treat would you most like to learn how to make?