Millionaire’s Shortbread Cups

Millionaire's Shortbread Cups

Many moons ago, I lived in Edinburgh for a time, very close to a great little deli. It was there that I first discovered Millionaire’s Shortbread – traditionally sold as a wonderfully decadent slab of shortbread, covered by a thick layer of caramel and finished off with a chocolate-based topping. Since then, I have sampled it all over, with varying degrees of enjoyment. If one layer isn’t quite right, it can spoil the whole indulgent experience. The shortbread might be too dry, or too cakey or too crumbly. The caramel might be too sweet, too solid, or too runny and if the topping is made from something merely ‘chocolate flavoured’ – then there’s definite disappointment ahead, not to mention all the ‘snack malfunctions’ that might occur, leaving you with a devastation of crumbs and caramel tumbling down your front.

The solution would seem to be to make it yourself – however that too is fraught with difficulties. Quite apart from all the possible pitfalls mentioned above – using pure chocolate for the topping isn’t the solution either, as I learned when I made some for visitors a while back. After lovingly making the caramel from scratch and then spreading the top with a thick layer of the finest chocolate, I decided to cut it at the table for maximum effect (Attention-seeking? Moi?). Well it certainly made an impact, but not in the way I had hoped, because as I plunged the knife into the (thick and now quite solid) chocolate layer, the knife stuck firmly and took the whole slab of chocolate with it, thereby forcing the entire caramel layer to squidge out the sides and drip onto the table.  Awkward.

Anyhoo – enough of the preamble. Here’s my solution to all of the above problems. Mini shortbread cups you can eat in just 2 bites, filled with caramel and just drizzled with melted chocolate. Great for the school fete bake stall too!

Millionaire’s Shortbread Cups
250g butter
75g icing sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
230g plain flour
35g cornflour

1 x 397g tin of Nestle Carnation Caramel
100g plain chocolate – 70% cocoa for preference

Food processor
Mini-muffin tray
Pestle or some other round-ended item
Piping bag

  • Blitz shortbread ingredients in food processor until they come together in a ball. The dough will be very soft.
  • Divide into balls weighing 15g. This is not as fiddly as it sounds, as long as you have a digital scales – you soon ‘get your eye in’ on the size required, and then it’s only a matter of trimming excess dough if necessary.
  • Put one dough ball into each of the well-greased mini-muffin cups and press it to the sides. Handy Tip: I use the rounded end of my pestle to just press down onto the ball – and it’s so soft it moulds to the muffin cup with one simple movement. Prick the bases with a fork to keep them from rising during cooking.
  • Put muffin tray into the freezer for 15 minutes, to firm up the dough. This will help it hold its shape when put into the hot oven.
  • Heat oven to 160C Fan.
  • Bake on bottom shelf of oven for 10 minutes. Turn pan, then cook for another 10 minutes or until shortbread is browned. NB Don’t take the pan out too early, or the bases will not be cooked.
  • If the shortbread has risen too much, while its still hot, use your pestle to press down firmly to re-form the cup shape.
  • Cool the shortbread for 5 minutes, then ease the cups out of the pan and set to cool on a rack.
  • When the shortbread has cooled completely, tip the caramel into a bowl and beat briskly with a fork until smooth.
  • Put a teaspoon of caramel into each cup. Be careful not to overfill the cups – you want the caramel level with the top of the biscuit – it really is a very scant teaspoon.
  • Break the chocolate into pieces and put into a ceramic or glass bowl.
  • Heat in the microwave in bursts of 30 seconds, stirring after each turn.
  • Spoon the melted chocolate into the piping bag, snip the end (if using a disposable bag) and drizzle zigzags of chocolate  over the cups.

Makes about 40 mini-cups

Cost: £4.05 (July 2011) – 10p a cup!

10 Comments on “Millionaire’s Shortbread Cups”

  1. Yummy – will certainly be giving these ago on the weekend 🙂 Vashi x

  2. That’s brilliant, I have real issues with making millionaires shortbread, it always oozes too much but cups will solve that broblem, they’re on my ‘to bake’ list

  3. Sarah Harrison says:

    I have tasted these, thanks to your husband bringing them into his workplace and my partner bringing one home for me, they are absolutely delicious, I will defiantly give them a try and hope they come out something like yours.

  4. Jo Wheatley says:

    They sound fab. will be trying very soon.

  5. like tea and biscuits says:

    This is a genius variation on a theme, I love it!

    Discovered your blog today, it’s going on my list of favourites. Brilliant stuff.

  6. Lesley says:

    I’ve never made millionare’s shortbread before, but I think I’ll be giving this recipe a go sometime soon. It will make a change from my gingerbread or bakewell pie that I usually make to take into work. Lesley

  7. Jay says:

    M-A, I made these tonight as a treat for my 12 year old who doesn’t like mince pies, Christmas cake or the other festive treats I’ve baked. They are very sweet and incredibly delicious! You’ve made my son very, very happy indeed

  8. Charlene says:

    They look beautiful x

  9. Kim says:

    Hi there! I love the idea of these little cups they’re so cute 🙂 I made the BBC goodfood version of millionaire’s shortbread (on their website) but replaced the caramel layer with home-made dulce de leche. I’ve only made them once and they came out perfect! Here’s a few hints:

    To make dulce de leche (milk caramel): Purchase 2 400g tins of good quality sweetened condensed milk. Pour into a shallow baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Place covered dish into a larger roasting dish and fill the larger dish with boiling water coming up to two-thirds of the sides of the smaller covered dish. Place both dishes into an oven that’s been preheated to 220Celcius and leave for 1 hour. After that hour replenish any evaporated water with more boiling water to maintain the water level. After another 30-45 minutes remove from oven. The milk will have caramelised and thickened. Whisk together to form a homogenous mixture. It will ‘curdle’. This is because it is quite thick. Use this for the caramel layer, spreading it over the cooled shortbread. You can use as much as you want!

    For the chocolate layer: I find that adding a few drops (approx 1-1.5 teaspoons for 250g of chocolate) of vegetable oil (NOT olive oil!) added to the chocolate whilst it’s melting helps with the cutting of the chocolate! Also and VERY IMPORTANT, after spreading the chocolate, leave to set for 30 minutes in the fridge, get the dish out again, use the tip of a sharp knife to mark out the cuttings in the chocolate (this way you will have already cut the chocolate and it will not crack!). Put back in the fridge OVERNIGHT. The next morning, run a heavy bladed knife under warm water and wipe with a tea towel. Cut once, and repeat the rinsing and wiping method after each cut.

    The result: PERFECT squares! Always serve straight out of the fridge as the caramel is at the right consistency when just out of the fridge, plus the chocolate crunches with every bite. The elimination of the additional butter and sugar for the caramel layer makes this a treat which is less rich than other recipes of this treat and doesn’t make you sick! 🙂

    Love, Kim

  10. Betzemama says:

    Yummy! I wasn’t sure there was enough liquid to form the dough but sure enough out of the processor was a divine shortbread! I made 24 millionaire’s shortbread cups AND 12 yummy shortbread biscuits 🙂 🙂

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