Caramel shortbread

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Caramel shortbread
Millionaire's shortbread.jpg
Alternative namesCaramel Squares, Caramel Slice, Millionaire's Shortbread, Millionaire's Slice, Chocolate Caramel Shortbread, Wellington Squares
Main ingredientsShortbread, Caramel, Milk Chocolate

Caramel shortbread, also known as caramel squares, caramel slice, millionaire's shortbread, millionaire's slice, chocolate caramel shortbread, and Wellington squares is a biscuit confectionery item composed of a rectangular, triangular or circular shortbread biscuit base topped with caramel and milk chocolate.[1] Multiple variations exist which substitute or add ingredients to cater to different tastes, dietary requirements or ingredient availability.[2]


Caramel shortbread is an adapted form of the original Scottish shortbread. Scottish shortbread originated around the 12th century, but its modern refined form is attributed to the efforts of Mary, Queen of Scots in the 16th century.[3] The practice of adding additional topping or ingredients to shortbread to create unique variations dates back to at least the 19th century when candied orange peel and almonds were added.[4] Where and when the combination of caramel and shortbread first appeared or was popularised is not known. Combinations of shortbread with caramel topping dates to at least the early 1950s.[5]

The earliest known recipe of the dessert in its modern form appears in a 1970 issue of The Australian Women's Weekly under the name ‘Caramel Shortbread’, but this version lacks the distinctive chocolate topping.[6] Later versions such as a 1981 Women's Weekly recipe includes the chocolate layer and refers to the treat by different names, such as ‘Chocolate Caramel Shortbread’.[7]

In Scotland it is often served to the first visitor to a house on New Year's Day.[8] More recently the dessert was featured in a 2018 episode of the American television show America's Test Kitchen.[8]


In different places where it is located it is often known by unique and highly regionalised names such as the aforementioned caramel shortbread and chocolate caramel shortbread, as well as millionaire's shortbread, caramel slice, caramel squares, or millionaire's slice. The name "millionaire's shortbread" appears to have originated in Scotland.[8] The "millionaire" prefix to millionaire's shortbread or millionaires slice implies a level of decadence and wealth to the sweet treat, that it is an upgrade from regular shortbread.[9] It could also be a reference to the caloric intake of the dessert. A Scottish saying warns consumers that "The millionaire’s shortbread is often richer in calories than the one who tastes is in hard cash". [8]


Many different variations of caramel shortbread exist to cater to different tastes, dietary requirements, and ingredient availability. Some variants include using white rather than milk chocolate for the topping,[10] adding espresso and hazelnut,[11] substituting shortbread for Anzac biscuits,[12] adding raisins to the shortbread, or topping with peanut butter instead of chocolate.[13] Some recipes adjust the recipe to cater to dietary requirements. Different gluten-free and vegan versions exist.[9] Some variations substitute ingredients to make the dessert more healthy.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Easy millionaire's shortbread". BBC Good Food. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  2. ^ "What Is Millionaire Shortbread?". Delighted Cooking. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  3. ^ "The History of Scottish Shortbread". Historic UK. Retrieved 14 October 2021.
  4. ^ "What Is Millionaire Shortbread?". Delighted Cooking. Retrieved 14 October 2021.
  5. ^ "Condensed Milk Caramel". The Australian Women's Weekly. Retrieved 14 October 2021 – via Trove.
  6. ^ "Caramel Shortbread". The Australian Women's Weekly. Retrieved 14 October 2021 – via Trove.
  7. ^ "Chocolate Caramel Shortbread". The Australian Women's Weekly. Retrieved 14 October 2021 – via Trove.
  8. ^ a b c d "Caramel Slice (Millionaire's Shortbread)". 196 Flavors. Retrieved 14 October 2021.
  9. ^ a b "How to make the perfect millionaire's shortbread". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 October 2021.
  10. ^ "White Chocolate Caramel Slice". Bake Play Smile. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  11. ^ "Chocolate, Hazelnut & Espresso Caramel Slice". The Brick Kitchen. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  12. ^ "Choc caramel Anzac biscuit slice". Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  13. ^ "Caramel Shortbread". Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  14. ^ "Healthier millionaires shortbread recipe". Little Blog of Vegan. Retrieved 19 October 2021.