Tag Archives: baking

Millionaire’s Shortbread (Chocolate Caramel Shortbread)

20141012_192116I learned about this treat when I lived in Scotland: a layer of fresh shortbread, a layer of homemade caramel, and a layer of chocolate, cut into a square. I didn’t get the recipe until I moved back to the States, but it’s been one of my favorite dessert recipes for a long time. Living in NYC, the ingredients were always just expensive enough that I’d find a reason not to make it, but now that I’m living the country life I decided it was time to treat my office-mates.

Because each layer needs to cool, this can be a time-consuming recipe, but I’ve gone so far as to wait overnight with the trays in the fridge between layers. You don’t have to attend to it constantly, so you can take it easy and make it over the course of the day.

What you’ll need:

2 cups flour
1 1/2 sticks of butter
1/2 cup “caster” sugar (in quotes because I’ve always just used regular granulated sugar, and never had a problem)

Caramel Filling:
1 can evaporated milk
1/2 stick butter
3-4 cups brown sugar (my recipe calls for much less, but I’ve always had to add up to this amount to get the caramel to thicken properly)

Chocolate topping:
Chocolate chips (at least 1 bag, more if you want a thicker chocolate layer.


  • 20141012_140751Rub the margarine and flour together in a bowl until you have a mix which is similar to breadcrumbs.
  • Stir in the sugar.
  • Spread the mixture evenly into a 9″ (23cm) square tin which has been lined with baking parchment. (I just rub Crisco vegetable shortening over the pan.) 
  • 20141012_144814Bake in a pre-heated oven at 170C/340F (160C/320F if fan assisted) for approximately 35 minutes until it is golden brown.
  • Allow the base to cool.
  • 20141012_16494520141012_171717IMG_20141012_17224620141012_173748Heat the filling ingredients together in a pot, making sure that you stir it constantly (otherwise it will stick!) until it begins to simmer.
  • Continue stirring until it thickens (which it should do in a few minutes).
  • Spread the filling evenly over the base and again allow to cool. (At this point, there is usually leftover caramel – put it in a jar and use on ice cream, in your coffee, or to eat with a spoon.)
  • 20141012_19125620141012_192123Melt the chocolate so that you can spread it over the filling. (I use a double boiler)



  • When it has cooled and you are ready to eat it, cut up into squares or rectangles with a sharp knife

Millionaire's Shortbread

Bon appetite!

Context and Bagels


I was talking to my roommate earlier tonight and mentioned people saying that bagels were fattening. We talked about it for a while, and neither of us was able to think of why bagels, of all baked goods, would be particularly fattening. Full of carbs? Yes. Low in fiber? Sure. But where was the fat coming from?

I started asking around on Twitter, and @TwinnerCat chimed in. Bagels used to be made with lard – okay, but “used to be” in what sense, that we would have heard this said in our lifetimes? That there would have been a time when it was so widely used that its absence was noted so strongly? While I waited for an answer, I looked for a recipe for bagels that used lard.

bagelsWere the bagels being fried in lard? Was lard somehow mixed into the dough? Because if it was, wouldn’t that result in something more like pastry?

Digression: A few weekends ago, my mom and I made cookies; I accidentally dropped the sugar in with the dry ingredients instead of beating it into the wet ones (including butter). What resulted was a cakey, floury thing, kind of like a scone. Instead of a cookie. The order you mix things in matters. 

A look at this recipe showed that the lard is not used the same way as it would be in a pie crust, where it’s mixed in with the dry ingredients. Interesting. It reminded me of the cookies. The order things were mixed in mattered, because a bagel does not taste like a pie crust.

Back to the original thought: bagels stopped being made with lard at the same time “they banned saturated fats.”

A ban on trans-fats seems to have arrived in America in 2007. This intersects with my last year in Edinburgh (I say, by way of excusing why I didn’t notice). By 2011, a BMJ (British Medical Journal) study recommended a global ban on goods high in saturated fats as a first step towards preventing cardiovascular disease.

But “they,” in this case, and according to Wikipedia, are the Food and Drug Administration, which makes the ban sound more like a labeling requirement. I’ll need to look further into this if obtaining lard for the cooking experiment becomes a problem, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it in specialty shops around NYC, so I don’t think things will get to that point.

If it does, I’ll be sure to let you all know.

Same thing for the baking project.

PS – Here’s someone else’s bagel-baking adventure. Enjoy.