Is there anything that tastes more luxuriously divine than Millionaire’s Shortbread Squares? A buttery shortcrust layered with creamy dulce de leche caramel and dark chocolate, topped with fine flakes of sea salt. I leave it up to you but it’s my partner in crime’s favorite pastry. Homemade Millionaire’s Shortbread Squares are worth the effort, pretty impressive, and can beat hardly anything.
This recipe describes the exact measurements that I used to make these Millionaire’s Shortbread Squares. A result of playing around with different recipes, measurements, and the ingredients I had available at the time. I suggest that you do too. Perhaps you like to use unsalted butter? Just add a pinch of salt. Do you have stronger dark chocolate at hand with a higher cocoa solid percentage? Just lower the amount of dark chocolate and increase the amount of milk chocolate to balance it out. I used fleur the sel with a mix of flower blossoms like rose, cornflower, marigold, and orange; for flavor and decoration. But adding any nice and flaky sea salt is fine for the right flavor. Any extra mildly flavored decoration is a nice addition.
Ingredients for 16 Millionaire’s Shortbread Squares
For the Shortbread base
• 160g salted butter (cubed)
• 160g wheat flour
• 60g granulated sugar
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Caramel layer
• 1 tin of condensed milk (397g)
• 150g salted butter
• 45g cane sugar
• 30g Cassonade or light brown sugar
• 25g Muscovado or dark brown sugar
For the Chocolate topping
• 120g dark chocolate (54,5% cocoa solids)
• 80g milk chocolate
• Flower sea salt
• 20 cm square cake tin
• Heatproof spatula or whisk
• Baking paper
• Heatproof bowl
How it’s done
heat the oven to 180°C/ 160°C fan/gas 4. Lightly grease a 20 cm square baking tin and line cross-ways with 2 strips of baking paper so the ends overhang. This way it is super easy to lift the shortbread out of the baking tin after baking.
For the shortbread base put the room temperature butter, flour, sugar, and vanilla extract in a bowl. Press the cubes of butter into the dry ingredients until no crumbs are left and dough with little spots of butter is formed. This dough does not need to be combined entirely or kneaded too much. This way the end result will be nice and Brittle. Press the dough evenly into the baking tin. Chill the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes, then prick the base with a fork. Bake for 30 minutes or until pale golden brown. Set aside to cool.
Tip: Sometimes the baking paper curls up after baking. When you want to pour your caramel and chocolate layers on top of the shortbread base it can cause some trouble. To prevent this you can tighten the baking paper around the edges with an elastic band or 4 sealing clips.
Melt the butter in a saucepan on low heat. Add the condensed milk and the sugars. Stir with a heatproof spatula or whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved. Keep stirring the mixture on medium-high heat until it starts thickening and bubbling. When the caramel starts to stick to the pan and creates little lumps, stir them vigorously trough the mixture (imagine drawing 8 figures with your spatula) and turn the heat down to low-medium heat. Simmer gently until the mixture has a nice and brown color and a thick consistency. This process will take about 10 minutes. Do not put the mixture on high heat. This can cause the caramel to separate. (The butter will then come as an oily layer on top. If this happens: take the pan off the heat, keep stirring the mixture until the oil will incorporate again, place it back on low heat and continue the process of thickening the caramel by continuously stirring.) Pour the caramel on top of the shortbread base and spread it out evenly with a spatula. Let the caramel cool down and firm up in the fridge.
Set a heatproof bowl over a pan with a small layer of water. This way you avoid the base of the bowl to touch the water (which makes the chocolate lose its shine and smoothness). If the chocolate is not already in callets or chips, chop them up into little pieces and melt it in the heatproof bowl. Pour the melted chocolate over the cooled caramel layer. If necessary spread with a spatula to even the chocolate layer out. Sprinkle a little flower salt to top it off. Let the chocolate set before cutting into 16 even squares. You can keep the Millionaire’s shortbread squares a couple of days in a sealed container. I kept them in the fridge, because of warm environment temperatures.
Felt the millionaires vibe and tried this square recipe yourself? please let me know how your Millionaire’s shortbread squares turned out and share your masterpiece @TalesofPastry or #talesofpastry.