Millionaires’ Shortbread recipe

This is one of my children’s favourite treats and I am pretty fond of it too.

The original recipe came off the back of a tin of condensed milk over fifty years ago.

The home made version is so much better than any commercially produced version I have ever tasted, so it is worth making it.

The pictures below (for the eagle eyed) are taken from two recent sessions of making millionaires’ shortbread.

You start by making the shortbread

First take a 13 x 9 inch swiss roll tin – [Now it is worth saying that I have only recently obtained the correct sized tin and for years had to make do with a round 7 inch tin and a square 8 inch tin and it was so hard to share the ingredients equally. However that was actually less square inches, and having made it in the specified size tin, I think that a slightly smaller tin that gave a slightly thicker result may be better – say no smaller than 12 x 8 inch tin.]

Line the tin with foil (or greaseproof) and grease well with margarine or butter.

Greased tin

Then take

  • 6oz plain flour
  • 4oz butter
  • 2oz caster sugar

Ingredients for shortbread

and rub together until like fine bread crumbs. [I think the mixture in the photograph could have been rubbed a bit more.]

Shortbread mixed

Spread evenly in the tin and press down well.

Shortbread in tin

Then cook at 350deg F ( 170deg C) for about 20 minutes or less, depending on your oven.

Shortbread cooked

[As I said this was one of two sessions. The first time the shortbread was cooked slightly less which was just as good. Any colour betweent he two below will do.]

Shortbread comparison

While the shortbread is cooking you can make the caramel topping


  • 4oz butter
  • 4oz sugar
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup
  • 1 large tin of condnsed milk. (397g)

[I don’t usually use the best butter for this but the Lurpak was the only one I had at the time.]

Caramel ingredients

Melt the butter and sugar in a saucepan then add the golden syrup and condensed milk and mix well.

Caramel ingredients in pan

Boil over a low heat for about 10 minutes. Stirring all the time. It is as well to start testing the mixture after seven minutes. I suppose it is what you would call the ‘soft ball’ stage.

Spread the carmel over the shortbread which should now be cooked. It should be easy and will spread itself to a large extent.

Carameil spread[Again the colour can vary between batches this is at the lighter end of acceptable but it does need to be no more than a very pale brown.]

Leave to cool.

When it is cold you can

cover with 6-8oz of chocolate

I use 200g Cadbury’s Bournville as a good balance between quality and price. Good quality cooking chocolate is even better as like the caramel it will spread itself and give a smooth finish. However I find most cooking chocolate in the shops is of a lesser quality.

Bar of chocolate

Break the chocolate into pieces and heat in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Do not let the water boil or the chocolate will spoil and go gritty.

Chocolate melting

Then spread over the caramel and shortbread.

Chocolate Spread

A fork can make the irregularities of the spreading disappear.

When the chocolate is firm but not fully set cut into pieces.

Cut into pieces

[I may have left the chocolate slightly too long here but cutting it up is the hardest part for me.]

And enjoy.



13 thoughts on “Millionaires’ Shortbread recipe

  1. yum! Years ago, Mom and I traveled to Scotland and discovered this, then spent the rest of hte trip eating it. We searched high and low for a recipe, never thought to look on the back of a can. šŸ™‚ thanks so much for sharing this, now I can try it. But I have one question – what is golden syrup? We haven’t got it here under that name,


    1. Golden syrup, as it says on the tin, is “partially inverted refiners’ sugar”. (Made from cane sugar). It is golden in colour and has a toffee like flavour. As far as I can see it is there to stop the sugar crystalising as much as anything else though it is used for it’s flavour and consistency in lots of english recipes. It is sold abroad but if you really can’t find it, a little extra sugar and some lemon juice may do as well.


  2. So many memories of that simple sweet treat. If I can’t get to the British store, I substitute light cane syrup when I make it in the US. My kids love it as much as we always did.


    1. I think it is probably mostly that but I have seen other versions, even on the condensed milk tins that use shortcuts. The present Carnation recipe on their web site uses crushed shortbread biscuits and says to boil the caramel for a minute or so. The original is best in my opinion! I think I even saw one once that added gravy browning or something to get the colour for the caramel.


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