Happy Friday! I have a wonderful recipe today, inspired by the gray skies and rainy days of Seattle. The cherry blossoms bloomed, we had a couple sunny and nice days, and now the rain and clouds are back to remind us that summer’s not quite coming for another few months. However, the poor weather outside means that I’ve been in the kitchen! I made some caramel shortbread last week with my baking buddy Shelby, and it inspired me to make one of the things that’s been on my list for a couple years now-millionaire bars!
I have no idea what the origin of the name millionaire bars is, but they’re basically homemade Twix bars. There’s a shortbread cookie layer on the bottom, soft caramel in the middle, and the whole thing is topped with chocolate! I personally like dark chocolate better than milk, so that’s what I used. A lot of recipes for this that I found just called for storebought caramels for the caramel layer, but I wanted to make it from scratch (plus I didn’t want to make a grocery trip just to buy caramels). I generally don’t like caramel, but mostly due to the sticky taffy texture, and the caramel we made for the shortbread caramel cookies tasted more like toffee and it was nice and soft without sticking too much to your teeth, so I took that caramel recipe for these bars and it was wonderful! It’s not super sticky or hard, so it does tend to squish out of the bars a little bit, but you still get a nice toffee caramel flavor in each bite. After mixing and matching a few recipes and some improvisation, here’s what I came up with!
Millionaire Shortbread Bars
Makes 1 8×8 pan
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
¼ cup unsalted butter
2 tbsp heavy cream
8 oz dark chocolate
Preheat the oven to 350˚F and line an 8×8 baking pan with greased aluminum or parchment paper. Cream together the butter, sugar, and flour until a course mixture forms. Press the shortbread mix into the pan and bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool before pouring the caramel over the shortbread.
To make the caramel, melt the butter and brown sugar together in a saucepan until bubbles form, then remove from heat and whisk in the heavy cream. Set aside to cool and thicken about 10 minutes, before pouring over the cooled shortbread. Spread the caramel evenly, then set aside to cool while you make the chocolate.
To make the chocolate layer, melt the dark chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler, then pour over the caramel layer and spread evenly. Place the bars in the fridge to set for at least an hour, then slice into bars. Serve and store at room temperature so the chocolate isn’t rock-hard. Enjoy!