Espresso Millionaire Shortbread

There is nothing more decadent than Espresso Millionaire Shortbread.  The bars are layers of tender shortbread topped with a crazy good espresso caramel layer and finished with a shiny dark chocolate topping gussied up with white chocolate ribbons.  Are you drooling yet?

What’s the deal with the name, you might ask?  The “millionaire” prefix to millionaire shortbread  implies a level of decadence and wealth to the sweet treat, that it is an upgrade from regular shortbread.  Some say they originated in Scotland, some claim Australia.  It doesn’t matter to me, really.  I just know these are amazing!  And so pretty!

These bars start with a buttery shortbread that comes together easily in a stand mixer.  Combine softened butter, flour, sugar, egg yolk, vanilla and salt together and beat until it just comes together.  

Dump into a prepared baking pan and press into the pan and to the edges.  I like to use the bottom of a measuring cup to evenly press the dough into the pan, but fingers work very well too!  Prick the dough all over to ensure even baking and pop it into the oven.  Once the dough is browned, remove from the oven and let cool.

Once cooled, make the caramel by combining sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar, butter, golden syrup, espresso powder, vanilla and salt together in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, the butter melts and the mixture comes to a boil.  Use a candy thermometer to bring the caramel to  a soft ball stage or 225°F and then pour the hot caramel over the cooled crust.  Let this sit in the refrigerator for an hour or more to firm up the caramel.

Melt the dark chocolate and butter together to create a shiny smooth topping.  Spread it over the espresso caramel.

Melt the white chocolate and using a piping bag, pipe thin lines of white chocolate across the dark chocolate.  With a toothpick or skewer, pull it back and forth through the dark chocolate to create a pretty pattern.  Refrigerate the bars until the chocolate is set.  

Remove from the pan, cut into bars and serve this rich, decadent treat!

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Lastly, if you make Espresso Millionaire Shortbread, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is one of my favorite things to do!

Espresso Millionaire Shortbread

Makes:  16 bars

Prep Time:  30 minutes

Bake Time:  25 minutes

Total Time:  55 minutes



  • 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt

Espresso Caramel:

  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup (such as Lyle’s), dark corn syrup or brown rice syrup
  • 2 tsp espresso powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt

Chocolate Layer:

  • 9 ounces dark chocolate 70%, coarsely chopped
  • 2 & 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces white chocolate, chopped, for feathering



Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 9-inch baking pan and line with parchment paper. Allow the parchment paper to overhang the sides to make it easier to lift the shortbread out once cooked.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the flour, butter, sugar, egg yolk, vanilla and salt and beat on medium speed until combined and a dough starts to form.

Level in pan and bake. Tip the dough into the prepared pan and using your hands, press the mixture into the pan until totally level. Using the base of a measuring cup or glass might help to level at the end. Prick the base with the tines of a fork. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden. Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool completely.

Espresso Caramel:

Whisk the sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar, butter, golden syrup, espresso powder, vanilla and salt together in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, the butter melts and the mixture comes to a boil. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and boil gently, whisking constantly, until the caramel is thick and the temperature registers 225 degrees F, about 6 minutes. Pour the caramel over the warm crust; place in the refrigerator for one hour until caramel is set.

Chocolate Layer:

Melt dark chocolate and layer. Melt the dark chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, ensuring the bottom of the bowl does not come into contact with the water. Once melted and glossy, pour the chocolate mixture over the caramel.

Melt white chocolate and decorate. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave in 20-second increments, stirring well after each. Spoon melted white chocolate into a small piping bag and pipe horizontal straight lines about ¼-inch apart over the dark chocolate. Score the lines using a skewer by dragging it up and down the top of the chocolate, perpendicular to the lines that you piped.

Chill in the fridge until completely set, at least 1 hour or at room temperature for a couple of hours. Remove from the pan by using the parchment paper. Cut into slices or squares using a sharp, hot knife, wiping between each cut.

Recipe adapted from Once Upon a Chef & Emma Duckworth Bakes


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    Recipe Reviews

    • Joanna Lipfeld

      These were delicious! And a hit at my party! Yum! Thank you!

      • Francine

        You are welcome! I’m so glad you enjoyed the Espresso Millionaire Shortbread bars…they are one of my favorites!

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