millionaire’s shortbread w sweet maple walnuts

This post is kindly sponsored by Diamond of California but all opinions stated are my own. Thank you for your support!

Around this time of year, I have a couple very specific cravings. Number one, I need shortbread. Everyday. Not just any shortbread. Only the shortest shortbread will do. If you don’t know what that means, it’s the type of buttery goodness that is so tender, it almost melts under your bite. It’s just sweet enough, with a hint of salt to balance it out perfectly. Another craving that is more constant throughout the entire year is, you guessed it—chocolate! More specifically, dark chocolate. Any time I need a pick-me-up, I turn to chocolate and it never lets me down! Lastly, my sweet tooth would never be fully satisfied without the occasional ooey gooey chewy caramel! Salted caramel, dark caramel, caramel with chocolate, or just plain ol’ caramel all by itself—I want it all!

This is why the Scottish geniuses who invented the millionaire’s shortbread are my best friends! This treat consists of a layer of beautifully baked shortbread, topped with a thick and creamy golden caramel, finally finished off with a layer of chocolate.

These bars are perfect the way they are, but my variation gives them that tiny bit of umph just to kick them up a notch! By adding Diamond of California Sweet Maple Snack Walnuts! It adds the perfect amount of crunch and complexity in taste and texture that you never knew was missing! Most importantly, I’ve developed this recipe to be the easiest and most simple millionaire’s shortbread recipe ever! No complicated ingredients or methods. Just simple and delicious!

Prepare yourself to make these time and time again—because they’re perfect for gifting to loved ones this holiday season! But you’ll have to make some for yourself too, of course!

INGREDIENTS
makes 9 bars in an 8×8 pan

shortbread layer
½ cup (1 stick, 113g) salted butter, softened
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 cup (128g) all purpose flour

caramel layer
1 can (397g) sweetened condensed milk
1 tb unsalted butter, room temperature

chocolate + walnut layer
1 bag Diamond of California Sweet Maple Snack Walnuts, roughly chopped
10 oz (2.5-4oz bars) dark chocolate bar
flaky sea salt (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and line an 8×8 square baking pan with parchment paper and leave an inch of overhang over the edges of the pan so removing the bars will be easier. I like to secure the overhang paper with small binder clips.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter just until soft and creamy (this entire process can be done by hand with a silicone spatula as well). Mix in vanilla well. Add powdered sugar and flour and mix on low for a minute until large clumps are formed.

3. Dump the dough into the lined pan and press the dough into the pan to form an even layer with no holes or cracks. Bake for 20-22 minutes until lightly golden. Remove and set aside to cool.

4. Meanwhile, in medium HEAVY BOTTOMED saucepan, heat condensed milk and butter over low heat, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula or whisk. Keeping the heat on low, continue to cook and stir the condensed milk until it starts boiling slightly. This will take several minutes (you may be tempted to increase the heat, but this could burn your caramel or cause the milk to split). Mixture will slowly become a light amber color. Keep mixing until it’s golden amber and thickened. Immediately remove from heat and pour over shortbread. Spread it over the shortbread evenly.

5. Sprinkle walnuts over the caramel and let caramel set at room temperature or in the refrigerator for about an hour.

6. To melt the chocolate, prepare a double boiler (or bain-marie) by bringing about an inch of water to a simmer in a small to medium saucepan. Finely chop the chocolate bars and place in a heat safe bowl big enough to sit on top of the saucepan without touching the water. Place the bowl over the saucepan and stir constantly as the chocolate melts. Once 90% of the chocolate has melted, remove from heat and continue stirring until all the chocolate is melted and smooth.

7. Drizzle chocolate over the walnuts and caramel to evenly cover all the caramel. You may need a small spoon or offset spatula to help spread all of the chocolate all the way to the edges and all the nooks and crannies.

8. Optionally, sprinkle more finely shopped walnuts and flaky sea salt on top and let chocolate set in room temperature (or refrigerator).

9. When chocolate is just about set, cut into bars with a clean and warm knife. For clean cuts, I use a long sharp knife and I wipe it off after each cut.

10. Store in an air tight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. 

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