9 December 2012

Little Treats: Salted Millionaire's Shortbread

Millionaire's shortbread has always been one of my favorite treats. In the summer, I had a go at making a batch for a picnic. I used condensed milk for the caramel -you can buy it already caramelized or you can pierce the top of the tin and leave it in a saucepan of simmering water for a couple of hours. That was delicious, but I wanted to have a go at using my own caramel this time around.
In theory, millionaire's shortbread is simple, but each stage requires your judgement as to when it is ready. You need a little time, as you need to allow time for everything to cool and set.

  • For the shortbread:
  • 150g butter at room temperature.
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 180g plain flour
  • 55g rice flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt (unless using salted butter)
  • For the caramel:
  • 150g sugar
  • 150ml double cream
  • 1 tsp course sea salt 

  • 120g chocolate, milk or dark

Firstly make the shortbread. Preheat the oven to gas mark 3, 170'C. Grease and line a rectangular baking tin.
Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric beater or mixer until light and fluffy. Sift over the flours baking powder and salt, and combine until the mix resembles breadcrumbs. Press the  mix into the tin using the back of a spoon and smooth over. If the butter is too cold, the mix may seem dry and not come together so well.
Bake for 40-45 minutes. You don't want any colour on the shortbread, so keep an eye on it. Mark out and score where you want to cut your shortbread pieces and leave to cool on a wire rack.

As the shortbread cools, make the caramel. Sprinkle a thin layer of sugar onto a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. As the sugar starts to melt, sprinkle over another layer of sugar. Continue to gradually add more sugar. NEVER stir the caramel as it will crystallize a be spoilt. Swirl the sugar a little in the pan instead if needed. After all the sugar has melted, keep heating and swirling until almost coca-cola coloured. Now pour in the cream and salt, being careful as the sugar may spit. Heat until 108'C or until the caramel coats the back of a spoon, and transfer to a bowl to cool.
When the caramel is no longer runny, carefully spoon it over the shortbread (if it is too runny, you will loose most of the caramel and end up with a very sticky biscuit...). Again, leave to cool completely.

Now break up all the chocolate into a bowl. Even if you're not a fan of dark chocolate, try to use a little as the chocolate will set slightly harder, which contrasts really well against the soft, gooey caramel. Heat the bowl of chocolate over a pan of simmering water until melted.
 Immediately remove from the heat, and pour or spoon over the set caramel and shortbread. Leave it to set at room temperature if you can, as the chocolate will look dull and soft if chilled in the fridge. Feel free to use your artistic license with drizzled white chocolate, chopped nuts, salt or whatever you fancy.
 Enjoy x
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