Three pieces of millionaire's shortbread stacked on a wooden board

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There’s something about Millionaire’s Shortbread that just screams indulgence. Maybe it’s the thick layer of buttery caramel or the rich chocolate coating. Whatever the reason, this classic biscuit is the ultimate indulgence. Perfect if you’re looking for a real treat or afternoon pick-me-up. Just be warned: once you start, it’s hard to stop!

What is it?

You may also know Millionaire’s Shortbread by the names Caramel Shortbread, Caramel Squares, Caramel Slices or the elusive title of Wellington Squares (comment below if you know the story behind this name!) I think calling it Millionaire’s Shortbread is very apt, suiting this treat down to the ground. It’s decadent, indulgent and downright extravagant.

While the origins of the biscuit, or its name, are not fully known, it is a safe bet to track its roots back to Scotland, home of the humble shortbread. While shortbread has been around since the 12th century, In the 1800s variations started to appear. These were adorned with extra flavours and toppings. It is likely that caramel shortbread was born around that time.

How do I store it?

You can keep millionaire’s shortbread in an airtight container at room temperature, providing your home is not too warm. Otherwise, keep it in the fridge to prevent the caramel and chocolate from melting. You can also store it in the fridge if your caramel is a little on the soft side. Millionaire’s shortbread will keep for up to 10 days.

Millionaire's shortbread on a baking rack

Can I freeze it?

If you’re planning on keeping the shortbread for more than a few days, you may want to consider freezing it. Wrap the shortbread tightly in foil or freezer bags and store it in the freezer for up to three months. When you’re ready to enjoy, simply thaw at room temperature.

If the chocolate is soft, then I recommend placing them in the freezer on a plate for 30 minutes first. This will stop the topping from getting squished when you wrap them up.

How do I slice it cleanly?

Slicing your shortbread might seem like a daunting task. What if that crisp chocolate snaps? Or the soft caramel squeezes out at the sides?

To slice your biscuits like a pro, first, make sure that you have chilled the shortbread in the fridge first. If the caramel and chocolate haven’t set properly then you could end up with a mess on your hands. Once fully set remove from the fridge for 10 minutes before slicing to slightly soften.

Secondly, run the knife under hot water first. Dry it off before slicing and, if needed, wipe it between slices. The heat will help the knife to sink into the chocolate to slice it neatly, rather than cracking it.

Millionaire's shortbread biscuits piled on top of each other

Why is my caramel too soft/hard?

Nothing is more disappointing than caramel that falls short of the buttery soft yet firm consistency you dreamt of for your shortbread. If you’re facing issues with yours, then it’s most likely down to how much you cooked it. If you didn’t cook it enough then you’ll be left with caramel which is way too soft. When cooked too much or too hard you’ll end up with a caramel that cools down to a consistency that leaves you worried about breaking a tooth.

As the caramel hardens as it cools, it’s tricky to know if you’ve got it just right when you remove it from the heat. Therefore, you need to rely on visual cues to know when it is done. It should turn a deep golden, caramelised colour. You can also set a timer so you know when you are roughly in the right area. It should take 20 minutes over medium heat. Keep it at a consistent low boil – with just a few bubbles rising to the surface.

Don’t be tempted to wander off to check your phone or make a cup of tea while making the caramel either. You need to stir it constantly to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

Ingredients

For a full list of ingredients with weights and measurements, jump to the printable recipe card.

Millionaire's shortbread ingredients

for the shortbread

  • Icing sugar
  • Butter, softened
  • Plain/all-purpose flour

for the caramel and chocolate topping

  • Butter
  • Golden syrup
  • Condensed milk
  • Caster sugar
  • Chocolate, two-thirds broken into pieces and one-third grated – you can use dark or milk chocolate, or a mixture of both

How to make it

For more detailed steps with recipe tips jump to the printable recipe card.

Recipe steps
  1. First, make the shortbread. Preheat the oven to 100C/320F. Line a 20cm x 20cm (8×8 in) square cake tin with baking/parchment paper.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar with a hand mixer for around 3 minutes, until fluffy.
  3. Sift in the flour and add the salt. Mix until just combined and crumbly looking.
  4. Remove the dough and briefly knead on a clean surface until just smooth. Press into the cake tin. Bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden
  5. Mix together the butter, syrup and condensed milk and heat over medium heat for 20 minutes. Stir constantly until it has turned a deep golden colour.
  6. Pour the caramel over the shortbread, allow to cool, and then place in the fridge for around an hour – until soft to the touch but firm.
  7. Melt the chocolate pieces in a heatproof bowl over a pan over simmering water.
  8. Once the chocolate has melted, remove it from the heat, and stir in the grated chocolate until fully combined and smooth.
  9. Pour the chocolate over the top of the caramel and return to the fridge until cooled and set.

Looking for more great snack recipes? Try:

Products that work well for this recipe:

Rolling Pin and Silicone Baking Pastry Mat Set

– Food Grade, High-Quality Stainless Steel – Perfect Thickness Every Time: The rolling pin makes you roll the dough to a precise thickness perfectly and consistently. Four sizes of detachable rings: 1/16, 1/8, 1/4 and 3/8 inches (2mm / 4mm / 6mm / 10mm)

Master class Square 8inch / 20cm Non Stick Cake Tin

– 2 layers of Quantum II non-stick – Pop-up base for neat results – Warp-resistant carbon steel

Hand Mixer with Beaters, Whisk and Dough Hooks

– 5 speed settings – Built-in storage – Stainless steel attachments
Print
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Three pieces of millionaire's shortbread stacked on a wooden board

Millionaire’s Shortbread


  • Author: caroline
  • Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 16 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

With a thick layer of buttery caramel and rich chocolate coating, Millionaire’s shortbread is the ultimate indulgence. A perfect afternoon treat!

The default recipe makes 16 pieces


Ingredients

Units Scale

for the shortbread

  • 75g icing sugar
  • 150g butter, softened (see note 1)
  • 225g plain / all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt

for the caramel and chocolate topping

  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • 397g condensed milk (1 tin)
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 200g chocolate, broken into pieces + 100g grated chocolate – dark or milk or a mixture of both (see note 2)

Instructions

First, make the shortbread:

  1. Preheat the oven to 100C/320F and line a 8 x 8in (20 x 20cm) deep square cake tin with parchment/baking paper. Make sure all the sides are fully covered.
  2. Add the butter and sugar to a large bowl and beat with a hand mixer for around 3 minutes – until very fluffy.
  3. Sift in the flour and add the salt. Mix with a spoon until just combined. It will look very crumbly and dry and nothing like dough at this stage – fear not!
  4. Remove the dough and briefly knead on a clean surface until it sticks together. Press the dough into the cake tin and push it down so it is in an ever layer.
  5. Bake the shortbread in the oven for 20-25 minutes until it is lightly golden on top.

Next, make the caramel:

  1. Mix together the butter, syrup and condensed milk in a saucepan and place over medium heat. Heat constantly for around 20 minutes until it has turned a deep golden colour. Stir or whisk the mixture constantly while heating to stop it from sticking and burning on the bottom of the pan.
  2. Pour the caramel over the shortbread and then transfer to the fridge and allow to set completely. It should be slightly soft to the touch but firm. This should take around an hour. (see note 3)

Finally, add the chocolate:

  1. Place a large heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Make sure that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Add 200g of the chocolate to the bowl and stir constantly until just fully melted.
  2. Pour the chocolate into a clean bowl and add the remaining 100g grated chocolate. Stir constantly until all the chocolate has melted. (see note 4) Pour over the top of the caramel and then return to the fridge until it’s cooled and set.

Notes

  1. When making shortbread you need full-fat butter to achieve the right texture. Margarine or low-fat options won’t work here.
  2. You can alternatively finely chop the chocolate rather than grating it.
  3. The caramel will be very very hot when cooked down so be extremely careful when dealing with it and don’t be tempted to stick any fingers in it!
  4. You can just melt the chocolate and then pour it on top, however, the extra step of cooling it with the unmelted chocolate ‘tempers’ it, which means it will be shinier and will result in that ‘snapping’ texture when you bite into it, which is just oh so satisfying.
  5. Store the shortbread in a sealed container. If your house is on the warm side, or your caramel seems a little soft, then you can keep it in the fridge. It will last for up to 10 days.
  6. Make sure the shortbread has set fully before slicing it, and remove it from the fridge 10 minutes before slicing. Run your knife under hot water and wipe off before slicing.
  7. To freeze the shortbread place it in the freezer on a tray so the chocolate is fully solid. Then wrap in foil or food bags and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Cooling / Setting time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Category: Snack
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: British

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1

Keywords: shortbread, dessert, snack, treat, indulgent, caramel, scottish, british, chocolate, afternoon tea

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