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millionaire shortbread

 Really good millionaire shortbread is homemade:

Millionaire Shortbread

the basic recipe.

1. Shortbread.  My base recipe (8" square tin) is

150g butter
75g caster sugar
175g plain flour
25g semolina

Cream the butter and sugar, then beat in the flour & semolina to form a soft, quite sticky dough. Line your tin with baking parchment so that it covers the base and sides and squish the dough into it with your fingers so that it forms an even layer, then poke the base with a fork a few times.

Bake at 160C for 25 minutes, ish, until it is golden brown in colour.

But: you can tweak the recipe to suit your tastes; add lemon zest, or lavender, or cardamom to the butter & sugar. Swap some of the flour for cocoa. Add toasted hazelnuts to the mix, or finely chopped stem ginger.

2. Caramel.

225g caster sugar
25g butter
140ml (a small pot, IIRC) of double cream

Once the shortbread has come out of the oven, make your caramel. Don't mess about with this too much - although experiments are good - as the ratios have to be fairly close to stop it recrystallising. I like my caramel to be chewy, but not so much that it'll pull fillings; it does have to have some structural integrity as the chocolate layer needs supporting, so it'll need to hit the soft-to-firm ball stage. In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan put the ingredients in.

Over a low heat, gently stirring constantly, melt everything together, then once the sugar has dissolved turn the heat up and boil until it reaches 120C.

If you don't have a sugar thermometer boil for five minutes, take a teaspoon of the caramel and drop into iced water, then try to form the caramel into a ball using your fingers; if it keeps its shape when you take it out of the water it's done, otherwise put the caramel back on the heat for another two minutes (or longer, if the caramel didn't form into a ball underwater) and try again.

If it's done, add a good pinch of salt and stir, then pour onto the shortbread; it should spread itself out evenly.

To experiment with this layer, you could add similar flavourings to above, but I wouldn't bother. I would, however, tinker with the sugar; use 50/50 white caster and light soft brown, or dark soft brown, or even demarera. You can over or undercook the caramel to make it more or less chewy, but be careful of this. I'll do a post on caramels as sweets in a couple of weeks.

3. Chocolate.

About 100g for an 8" tin
Knob of butter

Melt some chocolate with a knob of butter and pour it over the caramel.

Do what you like here; add chili, more lemon zest, peppermint oil, or melt some contrasting coloured chocolate and swirl it using a cocktail stick, whatever you like. Then leave to cool, and refrigerate until completely set. Then take the whole lot out of the tin on the baking parchment and chop into squares, bars, circles, whatever shapes and sizes you like depending on how much of a diabetic coma you like.

Taken from Mike's Baking Alphabet.  Read more there!

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