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Cookie Mondays: Millionaire Bars

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I made these bars in my new Perfect Brownie pan and now I’m going to make a batch of brownies tonight because it worked so well, I can’t wait to see how perfect it will turn out the product it was intended for!

These bars consist of a buttery, flaky shortbread layer, a creamy caramel layer and a chocolate layer. They are sooo delicious and for the first time since cookie Mondays, Dennis didn’t return home with any leftovers. They remind me a lot of Twix and I’ve seen them turned into homemade Twix bars here, so I might try that next time just for fun!

Millionaire’s Shortbread Bars
Recipe from Joy of Baking

SHORTBREAD:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 stick) (170 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (210 grams) all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt

CARAMEL FILLING:
1 – 14 ounce can (1 cup) Dulce de Leche or sweetened condensed milk

CHOCOLATE TOPPING:
6 ounces (170 grams) semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Grease with butter (or use a cooking spray) a 9 x 9 inch (23 x 23 cm) pan.

FOR SHORTBREAD: In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour and salt and beat until the dough just comes together. Press onto the bottom of your greased pan and bake for about 20 minutes, or until pale golden in color. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool while you make the filling.

FOR CARAMEL FILLING: If using Dulce de Leche then simply warm the caramel in the microwave or in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. If using sweetened condensed milk, pour the milk into a heatproof bowl and place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cover and cook, over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 60 to 90 minutes or until the milk has thickened and has turned a caramel color. Remove from heat and beat until smooth. Pour the caramel over the baked shortbread and leave to set.

Note: You can also do this step in a microwave oven. Place the sweetened condensed milk in a large microwaveable bowl and cook on medium power for about 4 minutes, stirring halfway through baking time. Reduce the powder to medium-low and continue to cook for another 8 to 12 minutes, or until the milk has thicken and has turned a light caramel color. Remove from microwave and beat until smooth.

FOR TOPPING: Melt the chocolate and butter either in the microwave oven or in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Pour the melted chocolate evenly over the caramel and leave to set. Cut the shortbread into pieces using a sharp knife.

Store the shortbread in the refrigerator to keep the chocolate nice and firm. (I found this unnecessary–it was hard at room temperature.)

Yield: 16 – 2 inch (5 cm) squares

If you’d like to make this in your Perfect Brownie pan, spray the pan & insert with cooking spray. Press the shortbread into the pan with some waxed paper (it was sticking to my hands and this worked perfect) and then press the insert into place before baking. You don’t need to bake it on top of a cookie sheet–the shortbread won’t leak out. After removing the shortbread (I only had to cook mine about 18 minutes), you can immediately remove the insert. Take a minute to admire the perfection of the shortbread squares.

Spread the warmed dulce de leche over the bars after you remove the insert and let them cool. Then spread on the chocolate layer. Now this is where I went wrong. I let the chocolate layer set up before I tried to put the insert back to re-divide the bars. The insert isn’t sharp enough to cut into that hard chocolate layer, so I had to cut into it with a knife in order to separate the bars. Next time I would spray the insert again with cooking spray and insert it while the chocolate is still warm and then remove it once set. That should work!

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