Makes 25 squares
The shortbread for this recipe comes from my mum’s hand written recipe book, where she has only listed the ingredients and a gas oven temperature. The recipe goes back three generations to my Grandma and, for as long as I can remember, my mom and I have spent Christmas eve baking it. With this steeping in family history, making any major changes seemed like a very daunting task but I felt compelled to add my own twist to the recipe.
After several failed attempts, I opted for covering the dense, buttery shortbread with a rich banana caramel and a layer of crisp chocolate to make a millionaire’s shortbread with a banoffee twist. Now, the one remaining tough decision is whether to send a few pieces of this Billionaire’s shortbread over to my Grandma’s house for her to judge.
345g or 12 oz plain flour
70g or 2 and a half oz corn flour
105g or 3 and three quarter oz icing sugar
135g or 4 and three quarter oz cold margarine
135g or 4 and three quarter oz cold unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 120°C (fan oven)/ 130°C/ 250 Fahrenheit/ gas mark one half and line a 25cm or 10 inch square tin with two pieces of greaseproof paper, 25cm wide, forming a neat cross
Grab a large bowl and sift the flour, corn flour and icing sugar into it to thoroughly mix them and then add the butter and margarine cut into small cubes. Rub in the fat using your first two fingers and the pads of your thumbs until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Just using the tips of your fingers will keep the dough cold and the shortbread nice and short. Once your shortbread mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, keep rubbing using your fingers until the dough comes together to form one ball. Feel free to make the dough in a food processor or a mixer but be really careful not to over mix the shortbread.
Squash the shortbread mixture evenly into the lined tin and prick over the surface lightly a few times using a fork. Bake in the preheated oven for around an hour and a half or until very lightly golden and coming away from the edges of the tin. The shortbread will be slightly soft to the touch but don’t worry as it hardens as it cools.
A ripe banana
a squeeze of lemon juice
50g or 1 and three quarter oz unsalted butter
50g or 1 and three quarter oz soft brown sugar
1 x 397g can of condensed milk
100g or 7 oz dark chocolate
100g or 7 oz milk chocolate
First of all, open the banana and mush it to a fine puree using a fork, adding a small squeeze of lemon juice to prevent the banana from turning brown. Preparing the banana first means that you won’t have to leave hot caramel unattended.
Place the butter, sugar and condensed milk into a medium saucepan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. As the mixture is gently heating, slowly swirl the pan to evenly distribute the heat. Don’t be tempted to stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves as stirring will form sugar crystals. Try to hold out your patience and keep the temperature quite low to prevent the caramel from burning. Once the sugar dissolves, bring the mixture to the boil, stirring all the time, and then reduce the heat and simmer, again stirring all the time, for about five minutes or until the caramel darkens and becomes thick. Stirring continuously prevents the caramel catching on the bottom of the pan and burning.
Once the caramel is light brown and thick, add the banana puree and continue to simmer until the mixture is really thick. A really thick caramel means that your finished shortbread will cut nicely and have a luxurious but stable consistency. Pour the dark, thick banana caramel over the cooled shortbread and set aside to cool.
To finish off the shortbread, I added a layer of intense dark chocolate marbeled together with sweet white chocolate. You need to gently melt each chocolate slowly in a seperate glass bowl placed over simmering water and pour this over the cooled banana caramel to form a seamless flat layer, swirling together with a skewer. Personally, I would prefer to use all dark chocolate to contrast the soft sweetness of the banana caramel and the buttery shortness of the biscuit base but if you prefer a sweeter note, then go ahead with the swirling. Allow the chocolate to cool completely and then cut into twenty five squares using a hot metal knife.