Thursday, August 26, 2010

Millionaire's Shortbread

Millionaire's Shortbread

The passing of Independence Day here marks the beginning of festival season. When I was in school, I used to love this time, we had a lot of holidays, leading up to almost a whole month of vacations for Diwali. It's a time where family keeps meeting up. One of those festivals just passed a few days ago, called Raksha Bandhan, where a Hindu girl ties a rakhi [piece of string] to her brother and gives him sweets, in exchange for a lifelong promise of protection, and a gift [raksha means protection, bandhan means bond]. It started off as a North Indian tradition, but is practiced almost throughout

Even though nowdays it's turned into more of a fun occassion, an excuse to get gifts, somewhere in the bottom of my heart, it holds a lot of meaning. We usually just buy sweets from the local sweet shop and give to our brothers, but I wanted to make something myself this time, especially since they all have seen the blog, but haven't yet tasted much of what I make.

It is also the month of Shravan [a holy Hindu month], where people refrain from eating non-vegetarian food, even eggs. Even though I don't personally follow it, I know that family does, so I had to look for something that was eggless, delicious, and easy to mulitply and bake in large amounts. I settled on these delicious bars that I've seen around a lot, but avoided making because of the high amounts of fat it.

Shortbread Crust

Millionaire's Shortbread
Adapted from SGCC and Nestlé
Makes about 24 3"x1" bars

For the crust - 
2 cups [240 g] flour
1/2 cup [75 g] cornstarch
1/2 cup [120 g] sugar - Use about 3/4 if using salted butter
1 cup [226 g/2 sticks] unsalted butter, cut in small pieces

For the caramel layer
You can either use straight up dulce de leche, or use the following recipe. I found that the caramel below isn't sickly sweet, and more of a goeey yet firm mixture.

1 14 oz [400 g] can sweetened condensed mik
1 1/3 stick [150 g] butter
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp [150 g] sugar
 4 tbsp corn syrup - I used honey
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp vanilla

For the chocolate layer -
200 g [7 oz] semisweet chocolate
1/4 cup [1/2 stick / 57 g] butter
1 tbsp corn syrup - I used honey

Tools used
Pastry blender
Candy thermometer
Pastry scraper

Instructions -

 For the shortbread crust
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F [190 C]. Line a quarter sheet pan, or a 9"x12" cake pan, with foil or parchment, leaving a little overhang on both sides for easy removal.
  2. Sift or whisk together the flour, cornstarch and sugar. Add the pieces of butter, and work them in with your fingers, a pastry blender [my favorite way], or a food processor. 
  3. Work it all together until it is sand-like in texture. Don't be too afraid, this dough will take a little handling.
  4. Dump the dough into the prepared pan, and pack it in together. Prick the dough all over with the tines of a fork, you don't it puffing up!
  5. Bake for about 30-40 minutes [I took 35], until light golden brown all over, and not doughy to the touch.
  6. Set aside to cool to room temperature while you begin preparing the caramel.
For the caramel
  1. In a medium saucepan, mix together all the ingredients except vanilla. Constantly stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, and the mixture darkens and begins to bubble, about 237 degrees F on a candy thermometer.
  2. Remove from the heat, whisk in the vanilla, and pour over the cooled shortbread crust. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
For the chocolate layer
  1. In a double boiler, or a saucepan over low heat, melt together the chocolate and the butter. Stir in the corn syrup, and pour over the caramel, spreading to the edges.
  2. Chill in a refrigerator for about half an hour to achieve cleaner cuts. Using the overhang, take the bars out of the pan. Cut into bars using a knife or my all-time favorite way for bars/brownies, a pastry scraper.


    1. What a lovely tradition, I always wanted an older brother for just that reason (protection.)

      Avanika, your millionaire's shortbread bars make me want run out and buy all the ingredients! I forgot how amazing these are. I like that you used honey in place of corn syrup. :-)

    2. Beautiful...and what a lovely name. I must make this...hopefully to become a millionaire...haha.

    3. These look amazingly tempting! I saw Heston Blumenthal do a gingerbread house using millionaires shortbread last night.

    4. How sweet of you do make these for your brothers. I'm sure they really appreciated the delicious homemade treats. I didn't know anything of this tradition before, so thanks for sharing a bit of your culture with us :).

    5. What a lovely treat..I am sure your bro's would have enjoyed!!

    6. Reminds me of Twix candy bars. Looks de-lish!

    7. Wow Valerie, that was quick :P :P

      I can't say much about the protection part, but it's definately a fun tradition :)

      Honey is much easier to get here than corn syrup, which I also have. When the need arises, you have to get creative. I had seen your post too, when deciding the recipe :)

      MaryMoh - Lol. The name is given because it's soo rich!!

      Kim @ Two Good Cookies - The perfect combination, isn't it?

      Lorraine - Wow, that sounds amazing. Off to Google it!

      Xiaolu - Oh yes they did! :)

      Divya Kudua - Thanks! The entire family loved it :D

      Katrina - It is very much like Twix. And if you add some nuts, like Snickers :)

      Simran - Thank you, darling!!

    8. Looks yummy n sinful Avanika! Am sure ur family loved it!

    9. What a lovely holiday! Your shortbread looks wonderful. I've never tried this one. You have inspired me. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

      I saw these on Epicurious and was thinking about making them...uh, well now I must!
      they look insanely good!

    11. that looks so good! i have been wanting to make shortbread for years and never gotten around to it...i don't think i have a choice anymore now that i've seen your pictures =)

    12. Hi Av,
      You just won a copy of the Mainland China book from the giveaway on my blog. Would you email me your adress so I can have the book sent to you!
      Take care, Deeba
      {Announced here - }

      PS ... Now may I have my share of this absolutely scrumptious shortbread! It's gorgeous!!

    13. This looks like one could eat it, from the screen. Wish, I could.

    14. I haven't had these in much too long. I wish you could send some over my way!

    15. Mmm I love Shortbread! This sounds fabulous!

    16. Hello,

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    17. Goodness,gracious me! I just love these bars and I always drool over them when I see it on blogs!

    18. I love that treat. Your bars look so delicious! *drool*



    19. Apeksha - Thanks. They all did!!

      Mary - Oh, you are missing out!!

      Noshings - How did I miss Epicurious' recipe? Off to check it out!

      the twins - It was actually my first time, and I'm ofcourse, hooked!!

      Deeba - Even though I made 6x the recipe, it's all over!!

      Sweet and Savory - Someone really must create such a program!!

      Deborah - I would make some all over for you, if you come on over!!

      Jessica - Thank you!!

      Ria Mathew - Don't stop at drooling, you are sure to love these!

      Rosa - Hehe thanks :D

    20. I have had them and i was never satisfied with how much ever i ate....i don't mind gaining extra pounds, Avanika don't ever stop making such treats ;-)

    21. this has been on my to do list for years! i have to make this soon. your photos are tempting me!

    22. Wow, I've never heard of this before but it looks amazing! Guess I'll have to put it on my list to make! :-)

    23. Gigi - You shouldn't hold out on a dessert as sumptous as this!

      Tracy - You'll love it!

      cookies and cups - Thanks :D


    Please leave your thoughts below, I'd love to hear from you :-)

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