Brownies and Bars,  Desserts

Millionaire Shortbread

I have wanted to make this dessert for our Simply Sells Kitchen family since we started the website. Nothing excites me more than to bring you into our family and share what we enjoy in times of celebration. I come from a family that has very few traditions, but this one seems to have stuck for a long period of time. No pun intended as the caramel in this recipe is no joke, Ha! I wouldn’t say we have generational traditions but we usually bring this millionaire shortbread recipe out during Christmas time and have for years. 

Christmas traditions help bring on the Christmas cheer. Our Millionaire Shortbread is a layered dessert that has shortbread as the base, followed by a rich caramel in the middle and covered in chocolate. The ingredients are simple in each layer but bring a lot of richness when combined. It is a dessert that you would find in the UK, as it originated in Scotland (the Scottish are known for their shortbread). The layers of this bar resemble the components of a Twix candy bar. The UK is famous for their sweets and buttery pastries, which may be my biased opinion because I was born in England, but I honestly believe they make delicious sweets.

Making Shortbread

The first step in making Millionaire Shortbread is to make the shortbread biscuit layer. Start by preheating the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, and then prepare an 8×8 pan by lining it with parchment paper that overhangs the pan so that you can lift the entire dessert out of the pan when it is complete. Next, in a large bowl beat together the sugar and butter till fluffy. Slowly add the flour and salt, and then combine them until crumbly in texture. Press the dough into the prepared pan and then bake for about 35 minutes. The corners should be a light brown and the center like a soft baked cookie. Let it sit out to cool.

The second step is to begin the next layer, which is the caramel. This is the part that requires a little muscle but isn’t as hard as you may think. A candy thermometer ensures that you get the caramel to the right candy stage. Start by melting the butter in a medium saucepan on medium heat. To the butter, add the can of sweetened condensed milk, light corn syrup, and salt. Begin to stir the ingredients together and monitor consistently to avoid burning the mixture. While stirring, insert the candy thermometer and bring the temperature up to 220-225 degrees. The consistency should be soft and the appearance a light golden milky color. Next, mix in the vanilla. The last step for this stage is to pour the caramel over the shortbread layer, spreading it evenly.

Last but not least it is time melt the chocolate. I have used several types of chocolate and I have never been disappointed. Begin by melting the chocolate over a double boiler or use your microwave. Once the chocolate is melted, pour it over the caramel layer, spreading it evenly. It takes about 30-40 minutes for the chocolate to set, but if you place the pan in the fridge it may speed up the process. 

To serve your Millionaire Shortbread

To serve the millionaire shortbread or “caramel squares,” as my mother calls them, lift the dessert out of the pan by using the overhung parchment paper and transfer it to a cutting board. A tip for cutting the shortbread is that cutting them upside down on the shortbread side is easier. The size of the bars is a personal choice and no judgement will be given (ha ha). 

The millionaire shortbread bars are so delicious it seems like you can’t have just one. I hope you enjoy these with your family and friends! They are great to package up as a gift, also.


Millionaire Shortbread

  • Author: Sandra Sells
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 9 large squares 1x


Units Scale

Shortbread layer:

  • 1 1/2 sticks salted butter (12 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Caramel layer:

  • 114 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 stick salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Layer:

  • 8 to 11 ounces of chocolate (of choice)


For the Shortbread:

  1. Preheat oven to 325º F.
  2. Line one 8×8 glass or metal pan with parchment paper.
  3. Mix flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized bowl; set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl (or stand mixer) beat the butter, sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. 
  5. Combine half of the flour and all the salt with the wet ingredients and mix until just blended. Then, add the other half of the four and mix until the dough forms a crumbly texture.
  6. Press the dough into the prepared pan bringing all the crumbles together to one surface at the bottom of the pan.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes until soft brown in color.
  8. Pull out of the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.

For the Caramel: (Tip: have a candy thermometer on hand if possible)

  1. On the stovetop in a medium saucepan melt the butter.
  2. Bring saucepan to medium temperature and add the sweetened condensed milk, corn syrup, and salt.
  3. Stir the ingredients together gently and constantly to avoid any burning at the bottom of the saucepan.
  4. While stirring put in the candy thermometer (if you have one) and bring mixture to about 200F but no more than 225F.
  5. The consistency of the caramel will start to come together and thicken. It will turn slightly darker in color. Then add the vanilla and keep stirring.
  6. Take caramel off the stovetop and pour over the shortbread in the 8×8 pan.
  7. With a rubber spatula spread evenly across the entire pan.

For the Chocolate:

  1. In a double boiler add the chocolate of choice. (this can be bars, chips, or anything you like best)
  2. Stir chocolate and melt fully.
  3. Once fully melted pour over the caramel layer in the 8×8 pan.
  4. Spread chocolate evenly. 

Refrigerate for 2-4 hours until the chocolate layer is completely solid. Then pull out of the refrigerator, slice with a sharp knife and enjoy!

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