The crunchy base, the buttery caramel, the rich chocolate—no wonder it’s called millionaire’s shortbread. Surprisingly, though, this fanci-fied candy bar is easy to pull off at home (and the results are impressive enough to serve to company). Wait, are we implying homemade caramel is easy? Yes, yes we are.
The secret to a foolproof filling is in the ingredients: This salted caramel is made with a combination of dark brown sugar, corn syrup and sweetened condensed milk, so it won’t crystallize while you’re stirring at the stove. And the base is a press-in shortbread that comes together with pantry staples. You can use milk chocolate as we did here, or swap in semisweet to temper the sugary components if you don’t have as much of a sweet tooth.
We are going to ask you to bring out your stand mixer for this one…but you were looking for an excuse to use it, weren’t you?
Salted Caramel Millionaire's Shortbread
Servings: Makes about 40 bars
1 cup (452g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
⅔ cup (130g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (120g) all-purpose flour
½ cup (113g) unsalted butter
One 14-ounce can (396g) sweetened condensed milk
1 packed cup (213g) dark brown sugar
½ cup (113g) heavy cream
½ cup (156g) light corn syrup
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 ounces (227g) milk or semisweet chocolate, chopped
Flaky salt, to garnish (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick spray or butter.
2. Make the Shortbread Base: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the side of the bowl; add the salt and vanilla, and mix until combined. Add the flour, and mix on low speed just until the dough comes together.
3. Turn out the dough into the prepared baking pan, and press into an even layer. Bake until the edges are golden brown and the center looks dry, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool while you prepare the caramel.
4. Make the Caramel: In a medium heavy-bottom saucepan, add the butter, condensed milk, brown sugar, cream, corn syrup and kosher salt, and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently with a silicone spatula and scraping the side and bottom of the saucepan, until a thermometer reads 235°F to 240°F, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla, then carefully pour onto the shortbread base. Cool at room temperature until set, 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes.
5. Finish the Bars: In a heatproof bowl, melt the chocolate in 20-second intervals in the microwave, stirring in between. (Alternatively, you can use a double boiler.) Pour the melted chocolate over the caramel and use an offset spatula to smooth into an even layer. Sprinkle with flaky salt (if using) and chill until the chocolate is fully set, at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
6. Run an offset spatula or paring knife around the edge of the pan to release the bars. Use a serrated knife to slice into 32 small bars, gently sawing through the chocolate layer.