So. Matt Preston.
I love reading his articles and I love watching him on Australian Masterchef. So of course, when I saw a cook book by his hand, I had to have it. Honestly, it’s worth buying for his writing alone, he is very knowledgeable about food and it is a pleasure to read. That’s not to say that the recipes aren’t excellent because they sure as hell are.
I present to you the best millionaire’s shortbread you will ever eat (in my oh so humble opinion). These were surpisingly easy to make and have everything you could ever want: cookies, salted caramel and chocolate. Like I said many times before, I love eating caramel but I do not enjoy making it. This one however, is not difficult at all. Just some good old sugar and butter, helped along by the magic that is condensed milk. You have to heat it all up and bring it to the boil before you pour it on your baked cookie base. Then you put it back in the oven. This is also the reason why you have to make sure that you do not use a smaller baking tin then advised in the recipe. The caramel will bubble and boil in the oven and you do NOT want that to spill over. As you can see below, I used a square cake tin that’s actually just a little too small (I believe it is 18cm & 18cm, do NOT go smaller than this or you will have a problem).
Note: I did change the recipe for the biscuit base a tiny little bit. Matt uses coconut but since I am not the biggest fan of the texture, I replaced it with almond flour. If you prefer coconut, go for it!
If you want to make this recipe, you should remember that the caramel needs to chill for some time in the fridge until completely cool so that you can pour the melted chocolate on there. The chocolate layer, of course, has to be chilled as well. If I make this, I usually make sure to prepare the shortbread layer and the caramel before noon. This way I’m sure we can have it for dessert at night. After all, dessert is an important part of the day.
After everything is completely cooled off and firmed up, I take it out of the cake tin and first cut off the edges so everything is a little neater. (And of course, this way you get to snack a little, chef’s privilege). I would advise to not cut the squares too big as the caramel is rather sweet and filling.
Millionaire’s Shortbread with Salted Caramel
(recipe adapted from: Preston, Matt. “Plaatgebak met gezouten karamel en chocolade.” Fast, Fresh and Unbelievably Delicious. Antwerpen: Kosmos Uitgevers, 2014.)
Ingredients for the shortbread base:
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
75g light brown sugar (lichtbruine basterdsuiker)
70g almond flour
90g melted butter
Ingredients for the caramel:
1/2 tsp salt
95g light brown sugar (lichtbruine basterdsuiker)
a can of condensed milk (about 390 g)
Ingredients for the chocolate ganache:
100g dark chocolate
salt flakes for garnish
Directions for the shortbread base:
- Preheat your oven to 170°C. Line a 17cm & 26cm cake tin with baking parchment. (I found this link to be very helpful: https://food52.com/blog/13618-the-fail-safe-way-to-line-a-baking-pan-with-parchment-paper)
- Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
- Stir in the sugar and almond flour with a wooden spoon. Then add the melted butter. Mix well (dough will be crumbly).
- Spoon the dough into your cake tin and press it down until it is even.
- Bake for 10 – 13 minutes.
- Do not turn your oven off because the caramel will need to be baked too.
Directions for the caramel:
- Put the butter, salt and sugar in a non-stick saucepan. Heat it up over a low fire.
- Add the condensed milk and slowly bring it to a boil while continuously stirring (I recommend a wooden spoon for this).
- Carefully pour the caramel on top of your baked shortbread base.
- Put it back into the oven for another 10 minutes.
- After you take it out, let it cool completely in the fridge.
Directions for the chocolate ganache:
- Melt the chocolate and butter au-bain-marie (make sure the bowl does not touch the boiling water).
- When it’s melted, take the bowl off the saucepan and make sure the butter and chocolate are well mixed
- Pour the ganache on the completey cooled shortbread and caramel. Spread evenly.
- Let it firm up in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
Before serving, you can sprinkle on some sea salt flakes, which I highly recommend!