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a pile of gluten free millionaire shortbread on a plate
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5 from 1 vote

Gluten-Free Millionaire Shortbread (Dairy-Free)

With a thick shortbread base, gooey homemade caramel centre, and crisp chocolate top, this gluten-free and dairy-free millionaire shortbread is the rich and decadent dessert of your dreams.
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Chill Time4 hrs
Total Time5 hrs 10 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 32

Equipment

  • Stand or hand mixer
  • 8x8" or 9x9" pan
  • Probe thermometer

Ingredients

Shortbread base

  • ¾ cup (dairy-free) salted butter, softened but cool If using unsalted butter, add ¼ teaspoon salt to the dough with the flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • cup gluten-free all-purpose flour with xanthan gum I use Bob's Red Milll 1:1 Baking Flour (blue bag)

Caramel

  • 250 ml can sweetened condensed coconut milk
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • ½ cup (dairy-free) salted butter, softened and cubed If using unsalted butter, add an extra ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Chocolate

  • ¾ cup chopped chocolate or chocolate chips dark or semisweet

Instructions

Make the shortbread

  • Prepare a square baking dish with parchment paper (8x8" or 9x9"). I use an 8x8" pan for thicker bars. Ensure the parchment covers the bottom and sides of the dish.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl with a hand mixer), beat together the dairy-free butter and brown sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Gradually mix in the flour, ½ cup at a time. Start on low then increase to medium speed. Mix just until combined.
  • Transfer the shortbread dough to the parchment-lined baking dish. Use your hands or an offset spatula to spread out the dough to evenly cover the bottom of the dish. Use a fork to prick all over the shortbread to prevent air bubbles. Place the baking dish in the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes. When 10 minutes remain, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Bake the chilled shortbread for 24-27 minutes until golden. Allow to cool to room temperature, at least 1 hour, before moving onto the caramel.

Make the caramel

  • Place all of the caramel ingredients into a medium-size saucepan. The caramel will bubble and increase in volume so ensure you have extra space in the pot. Turn the heat to medium-low just to melt all of the ingredients together. Stir occasionally with a rubber spatula. This may take 5-10 minutes and there should be no bubbling.
  • Once everything is melted together, turn the heat up to just above medium. In a few minutes the mixture should start to bubble. The caramel will bubble, darken, and increase in volume. Use your probe or candy thermometer to constantly check the temperature. Boil the caramel, stirring often, until it reaches 245°F. This could take 10-15 minutes. The caramel will stall around 225°F and that is normal. Just keep stirring and waiting and it will increase quickly after. Once the caramel reaches 245°F, remove from the heat, stir until the bubbles subside, and pour onto the shortbread base inside the baking dish. Spread out the caramel with a spatula if you need to, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Melt the chocolate

  • Ideally, you want the chocolate top to be tempered, so that it has a nice snap when you bite into it. If you are familiar with tempering chocolate, use the method you are most comfortable with. This easy microwave tempering method was learned from Sugar Geek Show (see link in blog post).
  • Place the chocolate in a plastic or silicone bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir well with a spoon or rubber spatula. Microwave for another 30 seconds, then 15, then 10, then 10 seconds, stirring well in between each heating. The most important thing is that the chocolate does not go above 90ºF. Use a candy or probe thermometer to check the temperature of the middle of the melted chocolate. If it is ever too hot, keep stirring to incorporate air, and add a few pieces of un-melted chocolate to cool it down. If necessary, continue with 10 second intervals, stirring and checking the temperature, until smooth. Use the back of your spoon or spatula to spread some melted chocolate on a piece of parchment paper. If it starts to solidify in a few minutes, then your chocolate is good to use.
  • Pour the tempered chocolate onto the chilled caramel layer, still inside the baking dish. Use an offset spatula to spread out the chocolate. Refrigerate the baking dish for at least 2 hours until everything is set, or overnight.

Slice into bars

  • You want to make sure the millionaire shortbread is nice and chilled before slicing it. The best way to get clean slices is to run a large, sharp knife under hot water for a few seconds. Dry the knife, then make a slice. Clean the knife off, then repeat with the hot water for each slice. Gently saw the top of the chocolate layer so you don't crack it, then slice firmly down the rest of the layers. Slice into 16 squares for large servings, or cut each square in half for 32 smaller servings. Enjoy! See storage instructions below.

Notes

Make Ahead Instructions
Millionaire shortbread bars are a great make-ahead dessert, as they do require significant cooling and chilling time. It is recommended to prepare the bars the day before you serve them, so they can firm up. 
Storage Instructions
Millionaire shortbread bars are best kept in the fridge for up to 5 days. Allow to sit at room temperature for 10-30 minutes before serving so the caramel can soften slightly. The bars can last at room temperature for a few hours, but note that any longer and the caramel may ooze out slightly. 
Freezing Instructions
Millionaire shortbread bars can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 2 months. To thaw, place the container in the fridge overnight. Before serving, allow the shortbread to sit at room temperature for 10-30 minutes.