Monday, 11 July 2011

Millionaires' Shortbread

Recipe Number Sixty:  Page 235.

I ended up making these very late Friday evening. Neil had a few friends coming over on Saturday morning for a run and I hoped I could off load some of these rich slices. Yes, I am even trying to pass my cakes on to people who are trying to get fit – I have no shame! As the shortbread takes quite a long time to make due to the three different layers, I wouldn't have the time in the morning so I made a start just before 8pm!!

I weighed out the flour; I needed 250g. I tipped this amount into my weighing scales and then put the flour away. In this short space of time, my scales decided that actually it was 256g. I tsked to myself as I retrieved the packet of flour. By the time I was back at the scales it was now telling me it weighed 262g. OK, something wasn't right! I then proceeded to give a running commentary to Neil who was in the living room. “It's 264, now it's 266, you won't believe it now it's 270” Neil, for some reason, soon tired of this and came into the kitchen. He asked when I'd last changed the battery. I said I had never changed it. I should point out that I have owned these scales for about 6 years!! Neil changed the battery and the scales performed perfectly. I think he only puts up with me because of the cake!!

Anyway, I digress! Once my scales were behaving I could proceed with the shortbread base. I added sugar to the bowl and last of all some butter which I rubbed in until it looked like a big bowl of breadcrumbs. I then changed to a more heavy handed approach and kneaded the mixture into a dough. It didn't take long to press the dough into my swiss roll tin as it was soft and easy to work with. I levelled the surface as best I could and then popped the shortbread into the oven for about 20 minutes. Once out of the oven it had to cool in the tin, so I decided not to make the caramel straight away so got on with other things whilst it cooled. At 9pm I felt it was time to make the caramel; I wasn't looking forward to this part. The last time I'd made some was for the Banoffi Pie I baked a few months ago. I'd had to sieve it to get rid of the burnt lumps!! I needed two cans of condensed milk, butter and light muscovado sugar. It was becoming obvious that millionaires' shortbread is not something even to contemplate if you are watching your weight! I put the ingredients into a saucepan and set it over a moderate heat. Mary says to stir the mixture continuously and not to leave it even for a second. I obeyed this instruction as I didn't want to sieve my caramel again. After about five minutes of constant stirring my wrist was aching but thankfully I could stop as the caramel had thickened up. I poured the thick and very sweet caramel over the shortbread base and then left it to cool. I went and enjoyed a rest; my back was also aching by now!

About 40 minutes later, I peeled myself from the sofa and trudged back into the kitchen. The last job was melting two bars of chocolate for the topping. For quality control purposes, and to keep myself awake, I broke a square off for a taste. Even though it was cheap chocolate it tasted perfectly acceptable!! I broke the bars up and put the pieces into a bowl set over a saucepan of hot water. It took ages before it showed even a vague willingness to melt! Eventually I had a bowl of melted chocolate so that I could pour it over the cooled caramel. At first I had thought it was a lot of chocolate, but I found that I could have done with a bit more. I only had just enough to cover the caramel – maybe sneaking that square was a mistake!! I decided I would have to leave it to set overnight as it was still really runny and my bed was calling me.

Bright and early on Saturday morning I got up and headed to the kitchen straight away. The chocolate had set to a matt finish and was ready to cut into bars. There was no way it was going to tip out of the tin, so I set about cutting it up where it was. Some of the shortbread crumbled as I extracted the bars, so a few were missing a tiny bit of base, but not enough to worry about. As the chocolate on top was so thin, it cracked around the edges and so looked a little messy.

Finally I had a bite to see what it tasted like. Oh my goodness it was rich! I felt a bit sick after two bites and had to abandon the rest of the bar. I suppose that could have had something to do with the fact I that I had yet to eat my breakfast!! My favourite bit is the shortbread base; it really is delicious. The caramel is good but very sweet, and of course the chocolate on top is a winner! After Neil and his running companions got back from their run, they were soon offered a slice; they all gamely accepted! It did make me chuckle, the irony of the situation. These men had just been on a fat burning run but were now sat in the garden eating cake! It went down well and they willingly took some home. Millionaires’ shortbread is not for the faint hearted, it really is rich. But it is perfect if you are hankering for a sweet treat; just remember to cut small slices!
These didn't take long to disappear!


  1. These look great! Everytime i make them the caramel comes out different! But i dont get any complaints :)

  2. Ahh, thank you :-) Wonder if it's down to the amount of stirring you do?! Bet your family love you!!