Millionaire Shortbread

With its layers of shortbread, caramel, and dark chocolate, Millionaire Shortbread is the candy bar of bar cookies. Each bite delivers a perfect blend of flavor and texture: sweet, salty, crunchy, and creamy. While Millionaire Shortbread looks fancy on a cookie plate, it is easier to make than you might think. The only special tool you will need is a candy thermometer to make the homemade caramel. Be patient during this step and make sure the caramel mixture registers between 236°F and 239°F. To make sure the bars can be lifted out of the baking pan easily, be sure to line the pan with aluminum foil, allowing 2 to 3 inches of foil to extend over the sides. Lightly grease the foil with cooking spray before pressing the shortbread mixture in the bottom of the pan. Slice the cookies into strips or small squares—like a millionaire, they are very rich.

Millionaire Shortbread
Photo: Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Ali Ramee; Prop Styling: Sarah Elizabeth Cleveland
Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
4 hrs
Makes 32 bars (serving size: 1 bar)



  • 1 1/2 cups (about 6 3/8 oz.) all-purpose flour

  • 1/3 cup (about 1 1/3 oz.) powdered sugar

  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans

  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt

  • 3/4 cup (6 oz.) unsalted butter, cubed

  • Cooking spray

Caramel Layer

  • 1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup (4 oz.) unsalted butter, softened

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

  • 1/2 cup cane syrup (such as Steen's)

  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Layer

  • 1 (8-oz.) extra-bittersweet (70%) chocolate baking bar (such as Ghirardelli), chopped

  • Flaky sea salt (optional)


  1. Prepare the Crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Pulse flour, powdered sugar, pecans, and salt in a food processor until thoroughly combined and pecans are finely chopped, 8 to 10 pulses. Add butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 or 9 pulses. Line bottom and sides of a 13- x 9-inch pan with aluminum foil, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extend over sides; lightly grease foil with cooking spray. Press mixture evenly and firmly into bottom of prepared pan.

  2. Bake in preheated oven until lightly browned, 18 to 22 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack, about 30 minutes.

  3. Prepare the Caramel Layer: Stir together condensed milk, brown sugar, butter, cream, cane syrup, and salt in a large heavy saucepan. Cook over medium, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer registers between 236°F and 239°F, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla. Immediately pour over cooled crust, and spread to even thickness using a small offset spatula. Cool completely, about 2 hours.

  4. Prepare the Chocolate Layer: Place chopped chocolate in a medium-size microwavable bowl. Microwave on MEDIUM power (50%) until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Spread chocolate evenly over cooled caramel layer. Let stand 5 minutes, and, if desired, sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Chill shortbread until chocolate is just set, about 10 minutes.

  5. Lift shortbread out of pan, using foil overhang as handles, and transfer to a cutting board. Cut shortbread in half crosswise to create 2 (6 1/2- x 9-inch) rectangles. Cut each rectangle in half to form 4 (3 1/4- x 9-inch) rectangles. Cut each strip crosswise into 8 equal pieces. Store shortbread between layers of parchment paper or wax paper in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

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