The Classics: Cashew Millionaire Shortbread Bars

I can never be one of those bloggers that plans out their content with a calendar, and get it all figured out weeks or months in advance. I tend to not know what I’m making up until the last minute. This is mainly due to the fact that I usually shoot and post whatever I feel like eating at the moment. It’s the same reason why I can’t go to the grocery store at the beginning of the week and buy several days worth of dinners. I feel like I would buy whatever I feel like eating on that particular day, but then when it comes down to it, on the actual day of cooking, I’d be bored and wouldn’t want it anymore. So because of this I end up going to the grocery store every single day. It’s a real hassle but a burden I’ve caused myself. These Millionaire Shortbread Bars are here for us today because of the fact that I was really craving them last week when I shot them. The addition of cashews is because I really like chocolate and caramel and cashews together; it’s a winning combination. Millionaire Shortbread is so easy to make with such few ingredients and that’s what makes them a classic recipe that everyone should know how to make. I just have to warn you though, they can be quite dangerous to have on hand. I suggest making a batch and sharing with as many people as possible, or else you’ll end up like me…eating them all yourself. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I guess it depends on how you look at things.  Let’s start by making the super quick and super easy shortbread crust. It begins by beating together some softened butter with granulated sugar until light and fluffy.  **Tip: If you’re butter is at room temperature and softened enough, you can easily do this by hand with a wooden spoon. You don’t really need any fancy mixers to get this recipe right. That’s the best part of these classic recipes!**

Add in the flour and salt and beat until just combined. The mixture will look like coarse sand, but should hold together when you grab a bit and squeeze it with your fingers.  Pour the mixture into an 8-inch square baking pan that has been lined with either parchment paper or foil and lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Then press down firmly into an even layer. Bake in a preheated 325 degree F oven until lightly golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.  To make the caramel, combine the sweetened condensed milk, butter, corn syrup and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until deep in color and until it has thickened, about 10 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.  **Tip: You want to keep a close eye on this and stir nonstop so that the mixture doesn’t burn at the bottom or scorch. If you find that it’s beginning to stick, just lower the flame.**   Add in the cashews and stir until well combined.  **Tip: You can give the cashews a rough chop or leave them whole for added crunch. I like them whole. You can also swap them out for pecans or peanuts! Or leave the nuts out altogether for an actual classic millionaire shortbread!** Immediately pour the caramel over the cooled crust and spread it out into an even layer. Set to the side to cool slightly while you prepare the chocolate topping.  The chocolate is super easy. Just pour some semi-sweet chocolate chips into a heat-proof bowl, and microwave it in short bursts, stirring after each, until melted through and smooth and glossy.  **Tip: You can also do this in a double boiler, if you don’t have a microwave or don’t like using it.** Pour the melted chocolate over the caramel and smooth it out into an even layer. Sprinkle the top with coarse salt and then chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour to firm up. This will make it easier to cut.    Once chilled, remove the slab from the pan, using the the overhang of foil or parchment paper. Then using a very sharp serrated knife cut into bars. You can make them as big or as small as you’d like, depending on how glutinous you plan on being. You can get about 32 small squares which are the perfect size, since they are so rich.  Eat them right away or store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. I like eating them cold but if you’d like, you can let them come to room temperature before eating.    As I mentioned earlier, if you want to keep these as classic as they come, you can omit the cashews because traditional millionaire shortbread doesn’t have nuts, BUT having said that, I really like having the cashews in there for crunch and because I think chocolate caramel and cashews go so well together! I can’t even begin to explain with words just how much I love millionaire shortbread. It’s one of my biggest weaknesses because of the shortbread layer at the bottom. They’re dangerous to make because you will want to eat them ALL, which can be a real problem. But if you’re smart, you can make them when you know company is coming over or you can freeze most of them and just pull them out of the freezer as you want them….that requires a lot of self control, but I have faith in you. 

The Classics: Cashew Millionaire Shortbread Bars

These Millionaire Shortbread Bars are a delicious and easy-to-make treat that doesn't require any fancy ingredients or long baking times. It's a great recipe to keep on hand whenever you're in need of something sweet.
Servings 32 bars
Prep Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes


Shortbread Crust:

  • 12 tablespoons 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 stick 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups cashews roughly chopped


  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment or foil, making sure to leave a bit overhang on either side. This will make it easier to pull the bars out of the pan later on.
  • In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the flour and salt and beat on low until just combined. Pour out into the prepared pan and press down firmly into an even layer. Bake until lightly golden brown, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and set aside to cool completely.
  • To make the caramel, in a medium saucepan, combine the condensed milk, butter, syrup and salt. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring often with a rubber spatula, until thickened and becomes a deep brown golden color, about 10 to 20 minutes. Keep an eye on it and keep stirring so that the bottom doesn't burn. If you find that it's sticking a lot, lower the temperature to keep it from scorching. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and cashews until well combined. Immediately pour over the cooled crust and spread out into an even layer.
  • Place the chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl and microwave in short bursts until melted through and smooth. Pour over the caramel and spread out into an even layer. Sprinkle with coarse salt on top and chill in the fridge until firm, at least 1 hour. Remove the bars from the pan and then cut into even pieces with a sharp serrated knife. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Enjoy!


Adapted from New York Times Food.
Author: The Candid Appetite


Join the Conversation

  1. Laura Ide Hartman says:

    I will definitely make these! It’s also nice to know that there is someone else out there that cooks according to mood and not strict menu planning.

  2. Any reason why you no longer have a pinterest ‘button’ to save recipes?

    1. It’s broken and I’m getting it fixed at the moment! It should be up and running again very soon! I’m sorry about that!

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