Millionaire’s Shortbread

Millionaire’s shortbread is so called because it’s, well, rich and luxurious. Although due to recent inflation issues I believe it should now be known as billionaire’s shortbread.

It’s a layer of crumbly shortbread topped with creamy caramel and then smooth chocolate which makes for the perfect combination of taste and texture. It also makes it what amounts to a homemade Twix bar.

Millionaire’s Shortbread seems to have originated in the seventies, somewhere in the vicinity of Scotland and when I was a kid, it would generally make its appearance in December, which is probably why I always associate it with Christmas  — although it tastes delicious in every other month as well.

The shortbread and chocolate topping are pretty straightforward to make, but  the caramel can get a little tricky. With all that sugar the condensed milk burns easily so it’s paramount that you stir constantly so nothing stays in contact with the pan for too long.

The caramel will separate if you heat it too quickly and it has to be cooked just long enough or it wont hold its shape when you cut the bars up. Not entirely disastrous but not pretty either. If you make these often you really do get a feel for  things and then everything becomes pretty straightforward.

They make a great foodie gift and they freeze nicely so can be made ahead of time. Always a plus at this time of year!

~Millionaire’s Shortbread~


  • butter – 1-1/2 sticks, unsalted, cold and cut into cubes
  • sugar – 1/3 cup
  • flour – 2 cups
  • salt – 1/4 teaspoon
  • condensed milk – 1 can
  • golden syrup – 4 tablespoons
  • butter – 1 stick, unsalted
  • salt – 1/4 teaspoon
  • milk chocolate -8oz

Heat the oven to 350˚F and line an 8″ square pan with parchment, with sides higher than the pan so it can be used to lift the bars out (butter the pan first to help the parchment stick nicely).

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour and salt.

Add the cubes of butter and rub together with your hands until the butter is nicely worked in and the mixture is crumbly (you can also briefly blitz in a food processor, I just always do it by hand).

Tip into the prepared pan and firmly press it down until nice and even (I use the lightly buttered bottom of a glass to do this).

Bake for about 30 minutes. The shortbread should be a nice golden brown around the edges. Remove from the oven to cool while you make the caramel.

Gently melt the butter in a medium pan (slowly because we don’t want it to get too hot).

Add the golden syrup, the condensed milk and salt and whisk briskly until all the butter is combined with the milk for a nice cohesive mixture. Now the two are one, the goal is to not allow them to separate again.

Simmer over medium heat (on my stove I have the burner set to exactly half way between low and high). Whisk constantly to avoid burning and if it looks as though the butter is separating, whisk like your life depends on it. After about 8-10 minutes the caramel will visibly thicken and it will start to pull away from the edges of the pan (or the bottom if you tilt it to the side). You really do get the feel for this if you do it more than once.

Pour over the shortbread, smoothing with a spatula and leave to cool completely.

Put the chocolate in the top of a double burner to melt (or heat slowly in the microwave, stirring often).

Pour over the caramel layer, smooth out and put into the fridge to cool for a good hour or so. Using the parchment paper gently pull the shortbread out of the pan to cut. I cut them into nine even squares and then cut those in half for a final eighteen, given how rich they are.

You can use dark chocolate too which makes the bars a touch less sweet, but my family loves milk best. Also, if you have a hard time finding Lyle’s Golden Syrup, (World Market carries it also) you can use light corn syrup.



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