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Millionaire Shortbread Bars

Millionaire Shortbread Bars: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line a 9 inch (23 cm) square pan with aluminum foil and butter the foil.

Shortbread: In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour and salt and beat until the batter just starts to clump together. Press onto the bottom of your prepared pan, lightly prick the shortbread with the tines of a fork, 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.

Caramel Filling: Pour the sweetened condensed milk into a heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan of simmering water. Cover with a piece of aluminium foil and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 60 to 90 minutes or until the milk has become thick and a lovely caramel color. Remove from heat and beat until smooth. Evenly spread the caramel over the cooled shortbread, cover, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until firm.

Note: You can also cook the milk in your 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.

Chocolate Glaze: Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Let cool to room temperature. Then evenly spread the melted chocolate over the caramel and leave to set (can place in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes). Cut the shortbread into pieces using a sharp knife. 

The shortbread can be stored in the refrigerator for about a week. Serve cold or at room temperature. These bars can also be frozen.

Makes about 24 bars.

Shortbread:

3/4 cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

Caramel Filling:

1 - 14 ounce can (396 grams) sweetened condensed milk

Chocolate Glaze:

6 ounces (170 grams) semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into pieces

1/2 tablespoon (6 grams) butter

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