Millionaire’s Shortbread

I’ve heard of millionaire’s shortbread before but never really thought much of it or was interested enough to try it. Well that changed when I saw an article in Food & Wine magazine’s March 2014 issue featuring a recipe for Billionaire’s Shortbread. I must say that sometimes the photo of the item is what convinces me to try a recipe, as it did in this case. Perhaps it was the perfectly even layers of ganache, caramel and shortbread that were equal in thickness that got my attention. Or maybe it was the golden flecks of cornmeal in the shortbread that piqued my interest. Or it could’ve also been the stark contract between the dark ganache and white  flaky sea salt sprinkled on top that caught my fancy. Whatever it was, I was determined to try and make this. The night before, I was just enjoying TCHO’s TCHunky TCHOtella bar. If you haven’t tried it, you must – it’s absolutely delicious. The chocolate is meltingly smooth and the chunks of hazelnuts adds a delightful crunch to every bite. I decided to merge the two ideas with the hope that a delicious concoction would be the result.

Millionaire Shortbread with Hazelnuts

Millionaire’s Shortbread with Hazelnuts

All right, I admit that there are a lot of steps. But that’s how you get all the layers! Quite frankly making each individual layer is not terribly difficult to do. You can go and have lunch or watch some TV or do something in between each layer instead of watching it cool down (which is not very exciting). Or start on one day and finish the next, it’s not a huge deal to break it into steps since you each layer to cool completely before adding the next. And if you ask me, it’s absolutely worth the effort.

Millionaire’s Shorbread with Hazelnuts

Adapted from Food & Wine March 2014 issue
Shortbread:
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla paste or vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
  1. Combine the butter and sugar in a stand mixer with paddle attachment until just combined, scraping down the paddle and sides of the bowl often. No creaming, please.
  2. Add vanilla paste and salt and stir to just combine.
  3. Add the flour and continue to mix on low speed, scrape down the paddle and sides of the bowl often.
  4. When the flour is almost fully integrated, add the chopped hazelnuts, and stir for another 5-10 seconds until the hazelnuts are just incorporated.
  5. Line an 8″x8″ pan with parchment or foil and allow it to hang over 2 of the edges so you can use the flaps as a sling and pull the whole thing out easily afterwards. Press into pan in an even layer bake for 350°F for about 25 minutes when the edges are golden. (I took my parchment out of the pan and used a rolling pin to roll out the dough on the parchment to properly gauge the size. Trim and fill in the edges and corners as best you can after inserting parchment with rolled dough back into pan.)
  6. Allow shortbread to cool completely before making the caramel.
Caramel:
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts
  1. Combine butter, cream and salt in a heatproof container and heat in  microwave until warm.
  2. Combine sugar and water in a thick bottomed  medium saucepan and cook over medium heat, without stirring, until the sugar takes on a light golden color.
  3. VERY carefully add the melted butter and cream to the sugar mixture in a slow stream and stir constantly. The mixture is extremely hot –  it will get foamy and extremely steamy so be careful! I like to do this part on low heat so it doesn’t bubble up too much.
  4. Continue cooking the caramel until it reaches 230°F and immediately pour over the shortbread. Sprinkle on the chopped hazelnuts, and allow to cool completely before starting the ganache.
Ganache
  • 9 oz dark chocolate, 70%
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 Tbsp toasted hazelnut oil
  1. In a heat proof container or in a small saucepan, scald the cream in the microwave or on the stove top.
  2. Pour over the chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes to allow the chocolate to melt from the heat of the cream.
  3. Add the hazelnut oil, and stir until smooth. Emulsify with an immersion blender if you wish.
  4. Pour over the caramel layer and spread it evenly with an offset spatula. Add whatever toppings you desire – more hazelnuts, perhaps, then place in the refrigerator to chill for about an hour.

Remove the shortbread from the pan using the parchment paper flaps. Using a knife dipped in hot water, cut the shortbread into squares. Wiping the knife thoroughly between each cut will ensure sharp edges for a clean look. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and enjoy!

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