I love millionaire bars. Buttery crumbly shortbread crust, a creamy sticky caramel middle, and a smear of ganache on top. You literally can't go wrong here.
One of these days I plan to make these treats decorated with gold foil flecks. Meanwhile, I like to brush the squares with a brushed line of gold disco dust.
[for the shortbread crust]
1 stick (4 oz) of cold butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1/3 cup of white sugar
1/4 teaspoon of salt
[for the caramel center]
1 14-oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup of light brown sugar
6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
2 tablespoons of light corn syrup
1 teaspoon of vanilla
pinch of salt
[for the chocolate top]
6 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons of heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x9-inch pan with tin foil and spray lightly with cooking oil.
In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, sugar and salt. And the butter. With a pastry cutter, blend the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. (Alternatively, you can use a food processor. Place ingredients in the processor and pulse.) Pour the crumb mixture into the prepared pan and use your fingers to spread it out and press it down. You can use the bottom of a measuring cup to press down and create a level crust. Bake in the preheated oven until golden, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, sugar, butter, syrup, vanilla and pinch of salt. Set the pan over medium-high heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the butter is melted and the ingredients are combined. Bring the mixture to a boil and attach a candy thermometer. Continue to stir until the mixture registers 225 degrees, about 5-7 minutes.
Pour the caramel over the shortbread crust. Use a spatula to spread it evenly.
Place chocolate and cream in a glass pyrex bowl and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir until completely melted. If you need to, pop in the microwave for another 10-15 seconds. (Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate and cream together over a double-boiler.)
Spread the chocolate on top of the caramel layer, using an offset spatula to smooth. Place in the refrigerator until set, about 1 hour.
To serve: lift the foil out of the pan and place the bars on a cutting board. Cut into squares.
Note: Traditional millionaire bars are cut in 3x3 inch squares, but since these are pretty much candy, I like to cut them into smaller 1-inch squares or little rectangles.