It doesn’t get much richer than Millionaire Bars. Also called millionaire’s shortbread, it traditionally consists of a shortbread base topped with a layer of gooey caramel filling and chocolate. For a sophisticated holiday spin, we added a homemade Chestnut Praline Paste to the caramel. A final sprinkling of cacao nibs and fleur de sel over the velvety ganache creates an ultra-crunchy topping to offset the sweetness. Find more delicious recipes with shortbread in our 2018 November/December issue!
- 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup (67 grams) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (32 grams) cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
- 1¼ cups (284 grams) cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
- Chestnut Praline Caramel Filling (recipe follows)
- Dark Chocolate Ganache (recipe follows)
- Garnish: cacao nibs, fleur de sel
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a 10-inch square baking dish with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pan.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat flour, sugar, cornstarch, and salt at low speed for 1 minute. Add cold butter and vanilla bean seeds; beat until a ball starts to form, 2 to 3 minutes. Press dough into bottom of prepared pan.
- Bake until edges are golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely in pan.
- Pour warm Chestnut Praline Caramel Filling over prepared crust. Let cool at room temperature for 1 hour. Wrap pan in plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
- Pour warm Dark Chocolate Ganache over Chestnut Praline Caramel Filling, spreading in an even layer with an offset spatula, if necessary. Let set for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with cacao nibs and fleur de sel, if desired. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
- Using excess parchment as handles, remove from pan, and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Plan Ahead: This recipe is a 2-day process. On day 1, bake the shortbread cookie base, make the Chestnut Praline Caramel Filling, and top the cookie base with the filling. Refrigerate overnight. On day 2, top with the Dark Chocolate Ganache, and refrigerate again before slicing.
Chestnut Praline Caramel Filling
Makes 3 cups
- 1 cup (240 grams) heavy whipping cream
- ¾ cup (255 grams) light corn syrup
- ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (110 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter
- ¼ cup (75 grams) Chestnut Praline Paste (recipe follows)
- ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
- In a 5-quart enamel-coated Dutch oven or large stainless steel saucepan, bring cream, corn syrup, sugars, and butter to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Cook about 20 minutes, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 248°F (120°C). Remove from heat; add Chestnut Praline Paste and salt, stirring to combine. Use immediately.
Chestnut Praline Paste
Makes ½ cup
- ½ cup (80 grams) roasted peeled chestnuts*
- ¼ cup (60 grams) water
- 1 tablespoon (12 grams) granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon (1 gram) vanilla extract*
- In a medium saucepan, bring all ingredients to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until chestnuts are softened, about 30 minutes.
- Transfer to the container of a blender; pulse until smooth. (Alternatively, an immersion blender can be used.) Use immediately, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to
*We used Gefen Organic Whole Roasted & Peeled Chestnuts and Heilala Vanilla Extract.
Dark Chocolate Ganache
Makes 1½ cups
- 10.5 ounces (315 grams) 70% cacao dark chocolate, chopped
- ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons (105 grams) heavy whipping cream
- In the top of a double boiler, combine chocolate and cream. Cook over simmering water, whisking constantly, until melted and smooth. Use immediately.
Could you use roasted pecans instead of chestnuts?
Hi Julia! Thank you for reaching out. Yes, you could switch out the chestnuts for roasted pecans. Although, we have not tested this recipe with pecans we do believe it would still work. Happy Baking!
Could the Chestnut Praline paste be omitted?
Thank you for reaching out! We have not tested this recipe without the Chestnut Praline paste and we suggest keeping it in the recipe as it adds lots of the flavor in these bars. But, you could take it out if you wanted to! Happy Baking!
The caramel got too hard (like a toffee candy) even though I cooked it to that exact temperature. Should it be cooked to a lower temperature because it continues to cook after it’s been pulled off the heat and poured?