The Cheshire Dining Experience’s Billionaire’s Shortbread – not just a millionaire’s treat

Here at The Cheshire Dining Experience we like to indulge in the sometimes ‘out there’ ideas and concepts, especially when it comes to desserts. However, it is possible for the wow factor and taste sensation to be achieved through a simple recipe. With it being half term, we want to get the kids involved!

The Millionaire’s shortbread is something that has been watered down over time and is represented in many inferior forms to the point that it can now be purchased in a motorway 24 hour petrol/service station. Not so millionaire…

In our own way, we have taken this classic and slightly turned it on its head a little to bring back the luxury! This is a recipe so easy, that Andi and I got our five year old son, Rupert, to follow it!

It is commonly known that I have the sweeter tooth within the team and therefore I jumped at the chance to tell you about one of my favourite sweet treats that only consists of three main ingredients and tastes, well, simply divine.

A base of homemade shortbread, a generous helping of caramel and a top layer of tempered dark chocolate make this at least three of your five a day, in my opinion that is!

Here are the ingredients you will need to create the ‘Food of the Gods’:

The shortbread. Classic & tasty

225g plain flour

175g unsalted butter (cubed, soft)

75g caster sugar

The caramel. Simple & effective

2 cans of sweetened condensed milk

The Chocolate. Velvet & shine

350g dark chocolate (70-80%)

Luxury extras

Popping candy

Gold Leaf

Can of edible gold spray

Let’s get started!

So as I said earlier, this really is an easy recipe to follow with minimum effort needed to create this masterpiece.

The first job you want to do is bring a large pan of water to the boil to which you will place your cans of condensed milk into (make sure you take of the labels if there are any on there). When you have carefully placed the cans in, reduce the heat to a moderate simmer. This is where the cans will call home for the next three hours of their immense development. Aim to turn the cans over every half hour to reduce overcooking on one side.

After the three hours is up, let the cans rest for a while before you take them out of the water, but aim to have them out and cooling naturally within the next hour. They will be able to go in the fridge after a few more hours.

Chill overnight.

Now for the shortbread.

After you have started the caramel process you can now make your base. I tend to prefer a shortbread base but you can do this with a digestive biscuit base (cheesecake style) if you fancy or even a honeyed granola if you are trying to keep it healthy or celiac friendly. Variety is the spice of life as they say.

So, sift the flour into the caster sugar and mix through with a wooden spoon. Start adding the butter and mix through with your fingers till it forms a dough consistency. Then place it between two pieces of baking parchment or grease proof paper and roll to fit your tray. Grease your tray with butter and then put the shortbread base mix into the tray.

I’m not one to brag but we finally bought ceramic baking beans that can be used to blind bake (spread them out on a sheet of baking paper which has been placed on top of your base mix). Their purpose in life is to stop the pastry from rising when it’s baking. Before, as a poor boy from a poor family, you guessed it, nobody loved me, I used rice wrapped in parcels of cling film. However, as a word of warning, make sure the rice doesn’t get into the pastry as it will more than likely take some of your tooth out if you eat it raw and unannounced!

Put the tray with your blind baking artillery of choice into the oven (125 degrees/gas mark 2) for around 30 minutes. Now take the blind baking materials out along with the layer of baking paper and put in the oven for a further 10 minutes or until a nice golden brown. Once cooled, this can now be cling filmed and stored in a dry cool place. As for the shortbread, that’s all, folks!

Now it’s time to reap the rewards of the condensed milk. Open the can and add the thick gooey caramel to the shortbread base (after you’ve inhaled three spoons of it, just to check it of course!). Spread evenly with the back of a large spoon.

Here is where it gets a bit funky and breaks the tradition of the standard Millionaire’s Shortbread.

Place the caramel topped shortbread into a preheated oven (same as the cooking temp above) while you prepare the chocolate.

For the chocolate, bring a small amount of water to the boil in a pan and place a glass or ceramic mixing bowl (make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Break up your chocolate and start adding it handfuls at a time until 2/3’s are into the bowl and melted. Take the bowl off the heat and add the remaining 1/3 and stir in until melted. This is a quick way to temper the chocolate and will give you a great shine.

When the chocolate is all melted, take your caramel shortbread out the oven, pour the chocolate evenly over the top of the caramel. Take your spoon and now fold the caramel and the chocolate together. This may seem odd but trust us! You are now making a sort of chocolate & caramel ganache which is something quite special.

Once you have created a marble effect with the chocolate and the caramel, wrap it in cling film and place back into the fridge for 24 hours.

After the 24 hours has passed, the chocolate and caramel will have set and will be ready to cut. To ramp up the luxury in this even more, we opted to finish ours off with some gold spray, popping candy and some gold leaf. You can do as you wish, feel free to break out and add what you want!

Cut the pieces into big slabs or do what we did and serve it to guests with their coffee as an after dinner treat, either way, it’s a sure fire winner!