Sunday, 22 August 2010

Millionaire's Shortbread Recipe

If you have a family of what my mother calls "good eaters", (as if it were a kind of skill like dentistry or playing the oboe) like our family, having  a tray of a great standby bake like Millionaire's Shortbread in the fridge pleases everyone and lasts through various teas and snacks over a lovely family weekend such as we have just enjoyed. Everyone knows what it is, the biscuity bit, the caramelly bit and the chocolate on top.

So far so good. But I'm afraid that many of the things I have sampled which purported to be Millionaire's Shortbread were in fact nothing of the kind, Skinflint's Biscuits of the worst sort, mere impersonations of the proper thing. I have even come across these Fagin's Follies in National Trust Tearooms of all places, I know they have to make a profit but really! A thick dry wedge of biscuit, a thin scraping of caramel topped with an even thinner scraping of chocolate, or, deary me, "chocolate flavoured" something or another.

It's quite simple, you just have to think "generous" in all respects. In terms of millionaires, Think Zsa Zsa Gabor, not Srallan Sugar.

Millionaire's Shortbread
Base
8 oz/250gr plain flour
6oz/175gr butter
2oz/50gr icing sugar

Whizz all together in processor until the mixture binds together, then press into a 8"x12" tin and bake in a low oven until slightly golden. Do not overbrown.

Caramel
1 x 1kilo tin condensed milk
10oz/300gr butter
10oz/300gr soft dark brown sugar

Melt the sugar and butter together in a saucepan over a low heat. Stir in the condensed milk and continue to stir over a medium heat until the mixture is a rich brown colour. Should take about five minutes or so. Don't leave it to answer the door, or stop stirring as it will immediately burn. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Spread over the shortbread and allow to set.

Topping
 300gr bar of good milk chocolate (I recommend Lidl's Madagascan chocolate)

Melt the chocolate and spread over the caramel. Chill in fridge.

Notes
1 You could probably use a bigger tin as I had some left over even with this generous layer. Half quantities would do in an 8" tin if you're on a diet, or have a small  family with delicate tastes.
2  Leftover caramel can be kept in a jar in the fridge and warmed with some cream to make a hot caramel sauce for ice cream.
3 You should have about a centimetre/half inch of shortbread, topped with a very generous layer of caramel and enough chocolate to crack invitingly when you try to slice it straight from the fridge. Probably best in small squares, they can always ask for more.
Proper job.

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