Chocolate, caramel and shortbread are all well and tasty on their own, but layer them all together and you have one of the most indulgent desserts imaginable: Millionaire's Shortbread.
Most people buy it rather than make it, but if you make it yourself you have the power to doctor the layers, and have a richer, sweeter experience with a thick sandwich of caramel – ideal served with ice cream as a dessert, or be sparing with the caramel and chocolate for a less decadent snack - more appropriate for lunch boxes. But however you make it, it will beat the shop-bought varieties because shortbread is far better fresh.
Here's what you'll need to add to your shopping list:
100gs of milk or plain chocolate 400g-ish tin of condensed milk (some come in 397g tins) 250gs plain flour 220gs of unsalted butter 60gs of caster sugar 120gs of demerara sugar 3 egg yolks
and a pinch of salt
Step One: The first layer you need to make is the bottom one: the shortbread layer. Put the pinch of salt in with the flour and beat up the caster sugar with 100gs of softened butter. Once it's mixed, add the egg yolks one at a time and then gradually add the salty flour. At this stage get your hands involved with the mixing, and kneed it until it's nice and doughy.
Step Two: Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for two hours. While you're waiting prepare your baking tray with paper, then get started on the caramel.
Step Three: There are different ways to make caramel, but this is the heat-up-the-tin-of-condensed-milk method. Basically you put the whole tin of condensed milk into a saucepan and cover it with water. Then bring it to the boil and let it simmer for four hours. You'll need to keep adding more water every now and then to keep the can covered.
Step Four: Once your dough has rested and is chilled, remove it from the fridge and roll it out to a thickness of about a centimetre before putting it into the baking tray and pressing it down nice and flat. Then put it back in the fridge for another hour. About 10 minutes before you're due to take the shortbread out of the fridge preheat your oven to 160C, so that when it's done in the fridge you can pop it straight into the oven for 20mins. Or until it's golden instead of just lemon yellow.
Step Five: You should now have your shortbread ready to go, set aside cooling in the tray, and your caramel almost done. After four hours you can take the tin of condensed milk out of its water bath and let it cool. Don't open the tin until it's cooled down. While you're waiting get 120gs of butter melting on the stove and pour in the demerara sugar, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
Step Six: Pour the contents of the condensed milk tin into the saucepan and whisk until the mixture is smooth.
Step Seven: Spread the caramel layer on top of the shortbread layer evenly, then leave it to cool and set.
Step Eight: Melt the chocolate in a water bath (break it up into pieces and drop them into a bowl sitting in water on a hob at a medium heat). When it's fully melted and silky, pour it on top of the caramel and smooth it out. Then put the tray into the fridge to set.
Step Nine: After about 15 minutes in the fridge score the chocolate to make it easier to cut, diving it into squares. Once it's set use a very sharp knife to cut along the scores. Then enjoy!
For something a bit more grown up try adding pecans to the caramel. And for something even sweeter – if you can handle it – try white chocolate instead of milk or plain. Remember to adjust your layers to please.