You just can’t beat a slice of Millionaires shortbread – the combination of buttery shortbread, smooth, rich caramel and melted chocolate truly is a wonderful thing.
Follow my step by step guide on how to make the perfect Millionaires Shortbread with trouble shooting tips and advice.
Very few people I know can resist a slice of Millionaire’s Shortbread, and I am not one of them.
The combination of those different textures – buttery, melt in your mouth shortbread, a smooth, rich caramel filling and a creamy chocolate topping is simply irresistible.
You can buy perfectly good pre made caramel shortbread, but nothing beats home made!
Looking for a twist on the classic recipe? Try my stunning chocolate orange Millionaires shortbread!
more tray bake recipes to try
If you love a traybake style recipe, you might also like these recipes –
- Mars Bar Crispy Cake
- Jammie Dodger Blondies
- Salted Caramel Brownies
- Chocolate Orange Brownies
- raspberry and white chocolate brownies
- fruity flapjacks
ingredient list for millionaires shortbread
Here’s everything you”ll need:
- Butter. Many recipes will advise you to use unsalted butter, but my preference for making shortbread is always salted butter. I personally believe that the extra salt in the butter adds extra flavour. I always reach for salted butter when making Scottish shortbread. Whether you use salted or unsalted, please make sure it’s real butter and not margarine!
- Sugar. I prefer caster sugar (super fine sugar in the US) for making shortbread. The finer grains of the sugar dissolve into the butter much quicker than regular (granulated) sugar.
- Plain (all purpose) flour
- condensed milk. Any brand will do. I’ve not found one better than any other (yet!) Not to be confused with evaporated milk – this will give you a completely different (not good!) outcome.
- sugar. I like to use soft light brown sugar for the lovely caramelly notes, but you can use white caster sugar instead. Brown sugar is better though.
- golden syrup. I’m a devotee to the Lyle’s brand and it’s really worth seeking out. It has a unique flavour that you really can’t find anywhere else, but you can substitute it with light corn syrup. It won’t taste the same though!
- chocolate. It’s worth buying a chocolate you love eating for the topping. I wouldn’t advise using anything labelled “cooking chocolate”. I’ll be totally honest here – I buy the 30p supermarket 100g “value” bars and have never had an issue.
- I like a milk chocolate topping for caramel shortbread, but you can use dark chocolate instead.
The Shortbread base
The Shortbread layer is very simple – just butter, caster sugar and plain flour. I often add cornflour to my Shortbread for a light melt in the mouth texture, but it’s not really necessary here.
You don’t really want the base to be too delicate – it needs to be sturdy enough to hold up the caramel layer.
The Caramel filling
The caramel filling is without a doubt the part that most people have trouble with when making millionaires Shortbread.
It can be tricky – it’s not difficult, but if you take your eye off the ball for just one second your caramel can turn from perfect to burnt and ruined. So maddening. Keep reading for tips on how to stop this from happening!
The chocolate topping
Obviously, you can use whatever chocolate you prefer – I like to use milk and white chocolate swirled together to make a pretty pattern. Some people prefer to use dark chocolate.
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Pour the melted chocolate over the set caramel base and gently tilt the pan to spread it out evenly and ease it out into the corners. Place the Shortbread in the fridge to set.
How long does the caramel take to make?
It’s very difficult to give a precise time. It depends on a few factors – the type, size and base of your pan, the ingredients and your heat source.
I have a ceramic hob that is fiercely hot so I have to be very careful when I make caramel. It should typically take between 8-12 minutes, but it’s tricky to put an exact time on it.
How to make the caramel filling
Place condensed milk (NOT to be confused with evaporated milk – they are completely different beasts!), sugar, butter and golden syrup in a medium sized heavy based pan over a medium heat.
Let everything melt together, stirring occasionally until the sugar has completely dissolved (if it hasn’t your caramel will be grainy).
Once the sugar has completely dissolved and everything has melted, increase the heat slightly and bring the caramel to the boil, stirring constantly (watch out for splatters) until the caramel has darkened and is starting to thicken.
Immediately remove the pan from the heat and pour over the cooled shortbread base. Place the shortbread in the fridge to set for a couple of hours.
Can i use a tin of Carnation caramel instead?
Yes technically you can, but it has a much looser consistency so when you try and cut your shortbread into pieces the caramel will ooze out all over the place. Still delicious to eat, but very messy.
BUT there is a way around this – you can thicken Carnation caramel by boiling it with caster sugar and butter. It makes a dark, rich gooey caramel that is absolutely gorgeous.
I’ve adapted the caramel recipe used by Kirsten of the Mountain cafe in Aviemore. Sadly, the cafe is no longer open, but her Millionaires Shortbread is still legendary! You’ll find the method for this caramel at the bottom of the post in the recipe card.
help! my caramel is like toffee
If your caramel is more like toffee, you boiled it for too long. It can happen very easily. Unfortunately, there is no way to remedy this. Just try boiling it for less time next time you try it. Practise makes perfect!
My caramel didn’t set – it’s too runny
If the caramel is too runny, then it wasn’t boiled for long enough. You could try and keep the shortbread in the fridge for a few hours longer to see if it firms up. As long as it’s still delicious, it shouldn’t matter too much. You just won’t be able to cut the shortbread into neat slices.
my chocolate topping cracked when I cut the millionaires shortbread
If you cut the shortbread while it’s still quite cold, the chocolate will very likely crack and splinter. To prevent this from happening, remove the shortbread from the fridge and leave it on your counter top for about 15 minutes before cutting.
Be sure to use a large sharp (not serrated) knife. Don’t cut the shortbread using a sawing action – just cut straight down in one fell swoop and you should get nice neat slices.
If you find your chocolate topping cracks and splinters no matter what you do, you could try adding a little butter (about 50g) to the chocolate when you melt it – this will soften the chocolate and make it less likely to crack.
my chocolate topping “bloomed”
If your chocolate has little white dots all over it then the chocolate became too hot when you melted it. This is called “blooming” and the white parts are tiny pieces of fat from the cocoa butter.
This occurs when the chocolate is left to sit at room temperature. Storing the shortbread in the fridge should prevent this from happening.
- Before you start the recipe, make sure to line your baking tin so the paper rises a few centimetres above the top of the tin. This will enable you to lift the millionaire’s Shortbread right out of the tin when it’s done. Makes your life much easier!
- Don’t over bake the shortbread – it might look a little underdone when you take it out of the oven, but it will firm up on cooling.
Millionaires shortbread will keep in the fridge or in a coolish kitchen at room temperature for up to five days. The caramel will become a little harder after day three.
Wrap the completely cooled shortbread in a double layer of cling film and tin foil before freezing. It will keep for up to 3 months.
got any more questions?
Hopefully I’ve covered everything to help you make perfect Millionaire’s Shortbread, but if you need any more help or have any questions, please leave a comment below or contact me on my social media channels. I’m more than happy to help!
made this recipe?
I would love to hear what you thought! Leave a comment below and rate the recipe by clicking on the stars in the recipe card. Share any photos of your creation with me on Instagram
want to see more recipes?
Check out my bars and traybakes archives for inspiration.
- FOR THE SHORTBREAD BASE
- 150g soft butter
- 100g caster sugar
- 200g plain flour
FOR THE CARAMEL FILLING
- 1x397g can condensed milk
- 180g unsalted butter
- 50g caster sugar or light brown sugar
- 2 tbsp golden syrup
- 1x397 can Carnation Caramel
- 200g unsalted butter
- 125g caster sugar
FOR THE CHOCOLATE TOPPING
- 250g milk chocolate
- 75g white chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 160C/140Fan/Gas 3. Grease and line an 9x9 (23cm) inch square baking tin with baking paper, making sure the paper rises above the tin by a couple of inches so you can easily lift it out later.
- To make the shortbread, cream the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon until light and pale. Add the flour and gently mix it all together until you have a dough. You might need to get your hands in at this stage. Place the dough in the tin and press it out evenly so that it fills the tin. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until very light golden brown around the edges. Leave to cool slightly in the tin.
- For the caramel, place all the filling ingredients in a saucepan and place over a low to medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved.
- When the sugar has dissolved competely, turn up the heat to medium high and bring the mixture to the boil, constantly stirring. Watch it very closely and try not to let the mixture catch on the base of the pan - if it does, little brown bits will start to appear. If this happens, turn the heat down to low-medium again and stir like mad. Keep stirring until the caramel has darkened slightly and is thicker. This should take around 8-12 minutes, but it depends on your hob, the pan you're using and the ingredients.
- If you're making the caramel with a tin of Carnation caramel, place the caramel, butter and caster sugar in a medium sized heavy based pan over a low to medium heat. Allow the indredients to melt together, stirring occasionally until the sugar has completely dissolved. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to the boil, stirring constantly until the caramel has thickened slightly. If little brown bits start to appear, this means the caramel has caught on the base of the pan - so remove from the heat immediately and stir like crazy.
- Pour the caramel evenly over the cooled shortbread base and allow to set for at least one hour before adding the chocolate topping.
- Once the caramel has set, melt the chocolates separately. Pour the milk chocolate all over the caramel, tilting the pan so you get an even covering. Using a teaspoon, drop little spoonfuls of white chocolate over the milk chocolate. Using a knife, swirl the chocolate together to create a pretty pattern. Leave the shortbread to set for a couple of hours. I don't usually put it in the fridge, but you can if your kitchen is very warm. The chocolate will lose some of its shine though.
- When the chocolate has set, remove the shortbread from the fridge (if you didn't set it at room temperature) and leave for about 15 minutes to take the chill off (if you try and cut it straight from the fridge the chocolate will crack) Using a very sharp knife, cut into squares,
For salted caramel Millionaire's shortbread, add 1/2-1tsp of sea salt flakes to the cooled caramel. Sprinkle the melted chocolate with a few sea salt flakes, if desired.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 483Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 96mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 1gSugar: 32gProtein: 3g
Calories and Nutritional information are provided by a third party application and should be used as indicative figures only.