Mary Berry Caramel Shortbread Recipe (Mary Berry’s Millionaire Shortbread)

Mary Berry Caramel Shortbread
Yields: 4 Servings Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 25 Mins Cook Time: 35 Mins Total Time: 1 Hr

Mary Berry is a renowned British baker, author, and television personality who has been baking for over 60 years. She is best known for her role as a judge on the popular show The Great British Bake Off, where she showcases her expertise and passion for baking. One of her most famous and beloved recipes is for caramel shortbread, also known as millionaire’s shortbread or caramel slice.

This decadent dessert consists of three mouthwatering layers: a buttery shortbread base, a gooey caramel filling, and a chocolate topping. While easy to prepare, it does require some patience and attention to detail to get the textures and flavors just right. In this guide, I will walk you through how to make Mary Berry’s famous caramel shortbread recipe step-by-step, along with handy tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way.

What is Mary Berry Caramel Shortbread?

Mary Berry’s caramel shortbread is a luxurious treat that combines a crisp and buttery shortbread base with a rich layer of sweet caramel and a smooth chocolate topping. It’s a popular dessert in the UK, often found in cafes and bakeries, and is known for its perfect balance of textures and flavors.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Mary Berry’s caramel shortbread is a beloved recipe for many reasons:

  • The shortbread base is perfectly crisp on the outside while remaining melt-in-your-mouth tender on the inside.
  • The caramel layer is cooked to just the right consistency – thick and gooey without being overly sweet.
  • The chocolate topping adds a luxurious finish and contrasting texture.
  • The combination of flavors and textures is simply sublime!
  • Though it takes a bit of work, the results are worth it. This impressive dessert always gets rave reviews.

Ingredients Needed to Make Mary Berry Caramel Shortbread

To make this recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

For the shortbread base:

  • 250g (9oz) plain flour
  • 75g (3oz) caster sugar
  • 175g (6oz) butter, softened

For the caramel filling:

  • 100g (4oz) butter or margarine
  • 100g (4oz) light muscovado sugar
  • 397g (14oz) can condensed milk

For the chocolate topping:

    • 200g (7oz) plain or milk chocolate, broken into pieces

Useful Equipment

You will also need the following equipment:

  • A 20cm x 30cm (8in x 12in) baking tin
  • Baking parchment
  • A saucepan
  • A wooden spoon or spatula
  • A sharp knife
  • A chopping board
  • A microwave-safe bowl
  • A microwave or a double boiler

Instructions to Make Mary Berry Caramel Shortbread

Follow these instructions to make Mary Berry’s caramel shortbread recipe:

Step 1: Preheat the oven and prepare the tin

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4. Lightly grease the baking tin and line it with baking parchment, leaving some overhang on the sides. This will make it easier to lift out the caramel shortbread later.

Step 2: Make the shortbread base

In a large bowl, mix together the flour and sugar. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Alternatively, you can use a food processor to do this step.

Knead the mixture lightly until it forms a smooth dough. Press it evenly into the prepared tin, using the back of a spoon or your knuckles to compact it. Prick the surface lightly with a fork.

Bake the shortbread base for 20 minutes or until it is firm to the touch and lightly golden. Leave it to cool completely in the tin.

Step 3: Make the caramel filling

In a medium saucepan over low heat, combine the butter, sugar, and condensed milk. Stir occasionally until the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth.

Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Be careful as the caramel will be very hot and bubbly.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer the caramel for about 5 minutes, stirring continuously, until it has thickened and turned golden brown. You can test if it is ready by dropping a small amount on a cold plate. It should set quickly and not run.

Remove the caramel from the heat and let it cool slightly. Then pour it over the cooled shortbread base and spread it evenly with a spatula. Leave it to set completely at room temperature or in the fridge.

Step 4: Make the chocolate topping

In a microwave-safe bowl, place the chocolate pieces and microwave them in 30-second intervals, stirring after each one, until they are melted and smooth. Alternatively, you can use a double boiler to melt the chocolate over simmering water.

Pour the melted chocolate over the set caramel layer and spread it evenly with a spatula. You can create some swirls or patterns on top if you like.

Leave the chocolate to set completely at room temperature or in the fridge.

Step 5: Cut into squares and enjoy

Once the chocolate has set, lift out the caramel shortbread from the tin using the parchment paper. Transfer it to a chopping board and cut into squares or bars with a sharp knife. You can make them as big or small as you like.

Enjoy your delicious caramel shortbread with a cup of tea or coffee or as a special treat for any occasion. You can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month.

Easy Mary Berry Caramel Shortbread Recipe

What Do I Serve and Enjoy Mary Berry Caramel Shortbread With?

This treat is rich, so small squares are ideal. It pairs wonderfully with:

  • Hot tea – The bitterness contrasts nicely with the sweet shortbread.
  • Coffee – Compliments the chocolate topping.
  • Vanilla ice cream – Adds a delicious creaminess.
  • Fresh fruit – Tangy berries cut through the richness.

Tips to Make Perfect Mary Berry Caramel Shortbread

Here are some tips and tricks to make the best caramel shortbread ever:

  • Use good quality ingredients, especially the butter, chocolate, and condensed milk. They will make a big difference in the taste and texture of your caramel shortbread.
  • Don’t overbake the shortbread base, as it will become too hard and dry. It should be just lightly golden and firm to the touch.
  • Stir the caramel mixture constantly while boiling and simmering, to prevent it from burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan. Use a wooden spoon or spatula that can withstand high temperatures.
  • Don’t let the caramel cool too much before pouring it over the shortbread base, as it will become too thick and hard to spread. It should still be warm and pourable, but not too hot.
  • Don’t let the chocolate cool too much before pouring it over the caramel layer, as it will become too thick and hard to spread. It should still be warm and pourable, but not too hot.
  • If you want to cut neat squares or bars, chill the caramel shortbread in the fridge before cutting. Use a sharp knife and wipe it clean after each cut. You can also score the chocolate layer with a knife before it sets, to make it easier to cut later.
  • You can vary the recipe by using different types of chocolate, such as white, dark, or milk. You can also add some nuts, dried fruits, or sprinkles on top of the chocolate layer for some extra crunch and flavor.

Easy Mary Berry Caramel Shortbread Recipe

Pro Tips

  • Measure your ingredients accurately to ensure the perfect balance between the layers.
  • Cook the caramel slowly, stirring constantly to avoid burning.
  • Chill each layer before adding the next to prevent them from mixing.

Variations of Mary Berry Caramel Shortbread

While Mary’s original version is perfect as is, you can also get creative with this recipe:

  • Add 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract to the shortbread for extra flavor.
  • Use brown sugar or coconut sugar in the caramel.
  • Swap out the chocolate topping for a thin ganache or butterscotch.
  • Add sea salt flakes on top for a salted caramel vibe.
  • Mix in spices like cinnamon or cardamom.

How Do I Store Mary Berry Caramel Shortbread Leftovers?

Properly stored, the shortbread will be kept for 5-7 days in an airtight container at room temperature. For longer storage, refrigerate for up to one month or freeze for up to 3 months.

How Do I Reheat Mary Berry Caramel Shortbread Leftovers?

Mary Berry’s caramel shortbread will be kept for 3-5 days at room temperature when stored in an airtight container. For longer storage, refrigerate for up to one month or freeze for up to 3 months. Here are some tips for reheating leftover shortbread:

Thawing Frozen Shortbread

If frozen, the shortbread needs to be fully thawed before reheating. There are a couple of options for thawing:

At room temperature: Unwrap the frozen shortbread and leave it out on the counter for 1-2 hours until completely thawed. The timing will depend on how large of a piece you are thawing.

In the refrigerator: For a slower thaw, unwrap the frozen shortbread and place it in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours or overnight.

Reheating Thawed Shortbread

Once thawed, there are two easy methods for reheating the shortbread:

Oven method: Preheat oven to 300°F. Unwrap the shortbread and place it on a baking sheet or oven-safe plate. Warm in the oven for 4-5 minutes until heated through. Watch closely to avoid over-baking.

Microwave method: Unwrap the shortbread and place it on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave in 30-second intervals, checking and rotating in between, until just warmed through, about 1-2 minutes total.

Finishing Touches

After reheating, allow the shortbread to cool slightly which will help re-crisp the base. If needed, place under a broiler for 1 minute watching very closely.

Cut into squares and serve while still warm. The caramel may be slightly melted from reheating, but it will firm up again as the shortbread cools. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Nutritional Value per Square (24 squares total):

  • Calories: 248 kcal
  • Fat: 13 g
  • Saturated Fat: 8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 29 g
  • Sugars: 21 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 3 g
  • Salt: 0.3 g

FAQs

Can I make Mary Berry’s caramel shortbread with gluten-free flour?

Yes, you can substitute the regular flour for an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend. The shortbread won’t be quite as flaky, but will still taste great.

How do I make the caramel layer more chewy?

If you want a more chewy caramel layer, you can cook it for a longer time on low heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches a darker color and a thicker consistency. You can also add a tablespoon of golden syrup or honey to the caramel mixture for extra chewiness. Be careful not to overcook the caramel, as it can become hard and brittle.

Can I use salted butter for this recipe?

Yes, you can use salted butter for this recipe, but you may want to reduce the amount of salt you add to the caramel layer. Alternatively, you can use unsalted butter and add a pinch of sea salt flakes to the chocolate layer for a contrast of sweet and salty flavors.

How do I cut the shortbread without cracking the chocolate?

To cut the shortbread without cracking the chocolate, you can either score the chocolate layer with a knife before it sets completely or chill the shortbread in the fridge before cutting. Use a sharp knife and wipe it clean after each cut. You can also warm the knife slightly by dipping it in hot water and drying it off, to make it easier to cut through the chocolate.

Is the caramel supposed to be so sticky and sweet?

The caramel layer is meant to be very thick and sweet to balance the shortbread base. Make sure to cook it until quite thick. If it’s overly sticky after setting, try chilling it first before cutting.

My shortbread base turned out hard and tough, not tender and crumbly. What went wrong?

Most likely the butter wasn’t fully incorporated into the flour, or it was overmixed, causing gluten development. Make sure the butter is softened and mix gently to form a dough. Do not overwork it.

Can I make the recipe ahead of time for entertaining guests?

Yes, you can prepare the entire shortbread 1-2 days in advance. Just store tightly wrapped at room temperature. Right before serving, reheat briefly until warmed through. The textures re-crisp as it cools.

Final Words

I hope you enjoyed this guide on how to make Mary Berry’s caramel shortbread recipe. This is a classic and delicious dessert that is sure to impress your family and friends. It is easy to make but requires some patience and attention to detail. The result is worth it: a buttery shortbread base, a gooey caramel filling, and a chocolate topping that melts in your mouth.

Try it today and let me know what you think!

Ingredients

0/6 Ingredients
Adjust Servings
  • For the caramel filling:
  • For the chocolate topping:

Instructions

0/8 Instructions
  • Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4. Line a 20cm x 30cm baking tin with parchment paper.
  • Mix together flour and caster sugar. Rub in butter until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Knead lightly to form smooth dough.
  • Press dough evenly into prepared tin. Prick surface with a fork. Bake for 20 minutes until firm and lightly golden. Leave to cool completely.
  • In a saucepan over low heat, combine butter, muscovado sugar and condensed milk. Stir until smooth.
  • Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, until thickened and golden brown.
  • Pour caramel over cooled shortbread base and spread evenly. Leave to set completely.
  • Melt chocolate in microwave or double boiler. Spread over set caramel layer. Leave to set.
  • Lift caramel shortbread out of tin and cut into squares or bars. Enjoy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *