In general the weather we’ve experienced so far this year has been much nicer than it would be back home. That being said however, we did have a tornado warning a few weeks ago which thankfully missed us but did make for a gloomy afternoon stuck indoors with nothing to do. I’d already done all the housework I promise.

I had been craving M&S Millionaires Shortbread for a while so I considered it to be mother natures way of telling me to don my apron. Despite it’s often toothachingly sweetness I’ve always had a soft spot for this particular treat and as a child would take great delight in picking off the top layer of chocolate before sinking my teeth into the buttery biscuit and caramel below.

If I’m making shortbread for shortbreads sake I like to add semolina to the mix to give it a bit more bite and texture but I’m not convinced it’s needed for these.  I don’t think it would work with the smooth flow of the caramel and might end up being the edible equivalent of sand in your shoes. I also like to cut back on the sickly edge by using dark chocolate and adding some seasalt to the caramel layer.

millionaires shortbread

INGREDIENTS

Makes about 12 slices

150g plain flour

50g white sugar

250g butter

270g of sweetened condensed milk

40g soft light brown sugar

220g of dark chocolate

white chocolate drops to decorate.

Preheat the oven to 170c and grease and line a baking tin (the one I use is 6″ by 7″ and this fills it nicely)

Place the flour and white sugar into a bowl and add 120g of the butter (cut into small pieces). Rub this together until the fat is well distributed. Press this out into the base of the tin and smooth off the surface with the back of a spoon. Prick little holes in the surface with a fork and bake for around 30mins or until the surface in golden and feels crisp. Leave to cool in the tin.

That’s the baking part over with but now it gets a bit more tricky. In a medium to large pan with a heavy bottom melt the rest of the butter. Add the brown sugar and the condensed milk  and whisk carefully until all the fat has emulsified. Now gently bring this mixture to the boil whilst very carefully stirring – no-one wants to get splashed by molten hot caramel. When it’s ready it should have thickened and darkened slightly. When you’re happy with it’s colour and consistency remove it from the heat and immediately pour it over the shortbread base. If you’re a fan of salted caramel then this is the time to sprinkle on a little seasalt. Pop it in the fridge to set.

Once the caramel has firmed up a bit you can melt the chocolate, any which way you like, I’m pretty lazy so I always use a microwave. Pour this on top of the caramel and spread it out to cover it evenly. Then it’s simply a case of popping up-turned white chocolate drops on the surface in any pattern you like – you could even make them look like dominos if you’re prone to playing with your food.

Chill to set the chocolate and then cut into bars and indulge.

Variation

I haven’t actually tried this yet but I was thinking it could be fun to tumble roasted peanuts into the caramel layer before blanketing it in chocolate to make the illegitimate love child of a Twix and a Snickers.