The crumbly, buttery flavor of a shortbread cookie is one of those sweet treats that pairs perfectly with a cup of coffee or tea … it’s a classic recipe that’s hard to beat. But what happens when you top a classic shortbread cookie with caramel and two types of swirled chocolate? Well, Millionaire’s shortbread, is what happens, and it’s as rich and delicious as it sounds. If you’re wondering how the dessert got its name, recipe developer Ting Dalton explains that she thinks it’s due to how rich the dessert is. "This millionaire’s shortbread is decadent, creamy, and sweet. You may want to eat more than one, but one square will give you a rich caramel hit," she says. "They’re really indulgent and one slice really is plenty!"
And sometimes, life’s little indulgences are worth a wait. While the recipe itself only requires about 20 minutes of hands-on work, each layer needs time to set and cool, which adds about 2 hours to the total time requirement. But Dalton emphasizes that you won’t be disappointed. "These are a real treat for the whole family, and well worth the wait for [them] to chill in the fridge," she says.
Gather your ingredients for millionaire’s shortbread cookies
The fact that you have to wait for the dessert to set in the fridge can be offset a little given that this recipe uses store-bought shortbread cookies, saving you from having to make your own. So first up, you’ll need enough shortbread cookies (just choose your favorite type) to leave you with 2 ½ cups of shortbread crumbs when they’ve been fully crushed. You’ll also need butter, condensed milk, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and both dark and white chocolate.
Make the shortbread base
The first step is to make the shortbread base, so you’ll need to crush your shortbread cookies into crumbs. Place them in a large freezer bag, seal the bag (removing any air first), and use a rolling pin to crush the cookies completely.
Place the cookie crumbs in a bowl with the melted butter and mix them together until well combined. Transfer the "dough" into a square cake pan (an 8×8-inch or 9×9-inch pan will work) and use the back of a spoon to press the mixture evenly across the base of the pan to create the first layer. Place the pan in the fridge to cool for 10 minutes as you make your caramel.
Make the caramel and pour it over the shortbread
While the shortbread base chills, heat the brown sugar and ⅔ cup butter in a non-stick pan. Stir constantly until the butter and sugar melt to prevent the sugar from burning. Add the condensed milk, cinnamon, and vanilla, and bring the mixture to a boil on high heat as you continue to stir. You’ll need to keep stirring until the mixture thickens slightly — about 5 minutes. "Be very careful that none of the caramel splashes you, as it will be hot," warns Dalton.
When the caramel has thickened, remove the shortbread from the fridge and pour it over the base in an even layer. Allow the caramel to cool for 20 minutes at room temperature. Once cooled, transfer the pan to the fridge or freezer for the caramel to set completely, about an hour.
Melt the chocolate and swirl it on top of the caramel
When the caramel has set, remove the dessert from the fridge to ready it for the top layer. Place the dark and white chocolate in separate, microwave-safe bowls and microwave them in 30-second bursts, stirring between each round, until the chocolate has melted completely.
Pour the dark chocolate over the caramel in an even layer — use a spoon to spread the chocolate and push it to the edges, if needed. Then, add the white chocolate in spoonfuls dropped in separate spots across the top of the dark chocolate. Use the back of a spoon to swirl the white chocolate across the dark chocolate until you get a marbled effect.
Chill to set, then slice and serve
All your hard work is done, but now it’s time to wait for your millionaire’s shortbread to set. Put the pan back in the fridge to allow it to chill for another 30 minutes. Once it’s fully set, slice it into squares and serve, just keep in mind this may take a little finesse. "Perhaps the hardest part is slicing," says Dalton. "I suggest getting a large, sharp knife and heating the blade with some boiling water, and drying [it] off with a cloth before attempting to slice."
When it’s time to dig in, Dalton suggests enjoying them with a glass of milk or a cup of tea or coffee. And given that you probably shouldn’t eat more than one at a time, you can look forward to leftovers — they keep well when stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week.
- For the shortbread layer
- 2 ½ cups shortbread biscuits, crushed
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- For the caramel layer
- ¾ cup dark brown sugar
- ⅔ cups butter
- 1 (14-ounce) can condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the chocolate layer
- 1 cup dark chocolate
- ¼ cup white chocolate
- With a rolling pin, crush the shortbread cookies in a freezer bag. Put the crushed cookies into a bowl with the melted butter. Mix them together, then using a spoon, press the mixture into the base of a lined, square cake pan. Chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.
- Gently heat the sugar and ⅔ cup of butter in a non-stick pan, stirring until melted.
- Add the condensed milk, cinnamon, and vanilla, and bring to a boil, stirring continuously until the mixture has thickened slightly — on a high heat for about 5 minutes.
- Pour the caramel over the base, then allow it to cool for at least 20 minutes. Once cooled, chill in the fridge or freeze until set — around 1 hour.
- Melt the dark chocolate and white in separate bowls. Put them in the microwave for 30-second bursts on high and keep stirring until melted.
- Pour the dark chocolate over the caramel, then add spoonfuls of the melted white chocolate on top.
- Using a spoon, swirl them together until you get a marbled effect. Put the pan back in the fridge to set for another 30 minutes.
- When set, slice into squares and serve.