Saturday, November 6, 2010

Millionaire's Shortbread


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I tweeted this recently:
Lugged 10 heavy cookbooks from the library back home. Gonna s-l-o-w-l-y relish every page of food porn! *rubs hands in glee*

Now that the school year is finally coming to a close (in my mind, it already has!), I can happily bury my nose in cookbooks for a good dose of much-needed inspiration.

I looked at my library haul and realised - without much surprise - that out of the 10 books, a whopping 6 were on cakes, 1 on eggs, 1 on tapas & 2 on cooking. Clearly, I was thinking with my sweet tooth. :)

Here's the first recipe I tried - a dessert, what a shocker - Millionaire's Shortbread. It's a lethal combination of sandy shortbread, creamy caramel and smooth chocolate. In other words, a glorified Twix bar. Really.


Rough around the edges. Uncut.

Recipe
(from Small Cakes by Roger Pizey)
Makes 16 bars

For the shortbread base
- 200g (scant 1 cup) unsalted butter
- 100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp double (heavy) cream
- 225g (2 cups) plain all purpose flour

For the caramel
(I halved the measurements)
- 180g (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
- 75g (6 tsp) caster sugar
- 50ml (3 tbsp) golden (light corn) syrup (I omitted since I didn't have any, and the quantity is so little)
- 350ml (scant 1 1/2 cups) condensed milk
Note: I added a splash of heavy cream to dilute the caramel a little.

For the topping
(I halved the measurements)
- 250g (9oz) 60% cocoa dark (bittersweet) chocolate
Note: Please do use a good quality, bittersweet chocolate. I used Valrhona Equatoriale 55% and it made ALL the difference. Else, you might as well eat that Twix bar.
- 50g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter

1. Preheat the oven to 170 C/340 F/Gas 3. For the base, cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, then add the egg yolk and double cream. Stir in the flour. Using your fingers and thumbs, work the mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Bring together and work a little on a floured surface. Wrap in a clingfilm (plastic wrap) and place in the fridge to rest.

2. To make the caramel, melt the butter in a pan, add the sugar, golden (light corn) syrup and condensed milk, and stir continuously on a low heat until it turns a caramel colour. Remove from the heat and leave the mixture in the pan. (It is worth testing a small amount to see if it will set in the fridge before removing completely from the heat). This mixture can catch very easily, so take care - if you notice small dots, change your pan, as this means the mixture is catching, which will spoil the flavour.

3. Roll the shortbread mixture to 1-cm (1/2-inch) thick and press it down into a 24-cm (9 1/2-inch*) square non-stick tin**. Bake on the middle shelf until light brown. Leave to cool. Pour over the warm caramel, lightly shaking the tin to ensure an even covering. Leave to cool, then put in the fridge to set.
* Smart-aleck me used a 6-inch tin, which resulted in the shortbread being extra high and cooking unevenly - you can see from my pics. Meh. Please use less shortbread dough if you plan on using a smaller pan.
** I would highly recommend lining the tin with overhanging sides, for ease of removal from the tin.

4. For the topping, melt the chocolate and butter in a mixing bowl over a bain-marie (water bath). Pour over the chilled caramel and shortbread. Place in the fridge until set, then slice into bars.


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You have to admit, these Millionaire Bars do make quite a statement. :) Their humble Twix cousins will surely protest! Proof that presentation makes a huge difference, doesn't it?

All I did was dress them up with a few sheets of sultry red foil (recycled from my heart-shaped chocs here) and let them shine. If you really want to gild the lily, you can add some edible gold flakes on top. But I figured less is more when you're dealing with a good-looker. ;)

Now, let the holidays begin! *BEAM*

39 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting a comment on my blog. I am so flattered that you took the time to stop by!

    Your photographs are stellar. Any tips re: lighting? This is something I struggle with while taking photographs indoors.

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  2. Ju, the shortbread bars look decadent! Beautiful shots!

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  3. You did a magnificent job on these cookies Ju!
    I think yours may be about the prettiest ones I have seen!
    Have a good Saturday!
    L~xo

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  4. Are they as delicious as they look? Oh my Ju.. Little works of art..and beautifully presented..Yes the lighting is always superb!

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  5. I need to master this one! Haha, in my Restaurant City game on Facebook, that is! Never seen it in real life before, so thanks for showing me what it looks like!

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  6. OH...EM...GEE.... They look so beautiful!

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  7. Ohh you got a tapas book! I like tapas :D And those cakes look great :D

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  8. Hoohaa! You are fast on the holiday wagon. And the millionaires shortbread looks great, with some red as the holiday setting.

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  9. Your food porn translates to OUR food porn. Thanks for lugging those books!! ; )

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  10. Goodness... what if you're a poor person.. can we still eat this?? Lols.... love it!

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  11. I have always wanted to make these and never have. I am going to have to cave. My "to do" list is growing! Looks gorgie!

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  12. they look like gold bars, no wonder the name haha.. the fudge on top looks heavenly!

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  13. Hi, Lovely lovely! Only one question, how much butter goes in the chocolate topping?

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  14. You have just reminded me how much I can't WAIT to go to the library as soon as this semester is over. wahoo!

    These millionaire's bars sound fantastical in every way! Definite indulgence.

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  15. WOW!! this is awesome!! millionaire indeed!!!!

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  16. hope you didn't eat the whole lot yourself, your poor coronary arteries, haha.

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  17. Indulgent and very very millionaire type! WOW!!

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  18. Brilliant photos. I've wanted to make millionaires shortbread for so long I can't remember LOL. Thanks for sharing.

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  19. Guess they weren't called the millionaire shortbread for nothing huh! looks fantastic!

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  20. Fantastic photos and the shortbread looks amazing. I love the caramel.

    I’d love for you to submit one of your beautiful photos, and a link to your post, to my new vegetarian photo gallery showcasing the best vegetarian dishes and recipes on the web.

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  21. Thank you everyone for dropping such lovely comments.

    Biki: Thank you for asking! I missed out that line. It's 50g unsalted butter (as updated in the recipe). :)

    alwaysalmostravenous: For this, sharing is compulsory! :D

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  22. Oh I forgot I have that book too! Thanks for your post, now I should dig it up and start baking!

    One thing to note, from my baking class I learned that corn syrup in recipes does serve a purpose to change the sugar structure (it's an invert sugar), it's not only for sweetness. Don't omit them next time!

    I can't wait to try these babies out!

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  23. Millionaire Indeed, too beautiful to eat :D

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  24. Gorgeous! I would love a piece of that.

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  25. Whoa! I saw the photo on foodgawker and that was exactly what I said. Then I clicked on it and found that it was you and that didn't surprise me at all. I'm looking forward to storing this in my bookmarks folder and probably never getting around to using it. :) Cheers.

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  26. Those look delicious! How do you get such clean edges when cutting? Any tips?

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  27. I always lug a lot of cookbooks from library, just returned 10+ copies plus story books from my daughter, overdue for 1 wk plus, too busy and totally forgot to return :P. The fine is going to burn my pocket >< The shortbread looks tempting, you a re great at slicing the shortbread, looks so neat and clean.

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  28. Gorgeous! I'm not a Twix fan, but Millionare Bars is DO love. So much better homemade. You did a great job, too, the chocolate topping looks super smooth.

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  29. ohh my these look to die for. I am adding them to my baking list. thank you for sharing!

    http://pleasedontburnette.blogspot.com/

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  30. I was just wondering if its ok to rreplace the condensed milk with sweetened creamer that we have here in malaysia. Its difficult to get the sweetened condensed milk here.

    Lauren

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  31. This sounds delightfully rich! YUMM

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  32. I've seen this type of bar several places but this looks really amazing! Love how cleanly you sliced them. Yum!

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  33. Nice work. I'm about to make these now. I like the fact that you admit to making wee mistakes here and there; I do it all the time, too. :-) Thanks for posting!

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  34. Oh my... These are decadent little beauties! 8 a.m. and I am salivating. Great job on the photos! I'm vegan and I am so going to veganize this recipe. Thank you for sharing :)

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  35. Wow! You struck it rich with this recipe! The chocolate topping just took the cake! Sinfully rich! I'll make this treat and eat it too!

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  36. wow.. looks so yummy..
    how long does it take to bake the base?? also, are the ingredients already halved??

    Jan

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  37. Hi...
    I love this recipe and have made it twice (thank you for posting it!) but I have some of the same questions as Anonymous above. I left the shortbread in for a total of 35 minutes. Also, I had no idea what you meant by small dots, and why changing your pan would help prevent the caramel from catching, until mine caught. Also, ditto above, you halved the measurements posted here, or these are halved?

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