this is a classic millionaire’s shortbread, but i’m replacing the ‘m’ with a ‘b’ in honor of the $1.5 BILLION POWERBALL JACKPOT! i can’t wrap my head around how much money that is. the winner can literally book a flight with space adventures and take a trip to the moon. that’s probably what i would do. charity? nope. college? nope. i wanna witness an earthrise!!!!
i made two different batches of these, evident in the different pictures. both have the same coconut shortbread base, but one is slightly thinner (baked in a 9×13 pan instead of a 9×9). the thinner bars are topped with a sweetened condensed milk caramel, and the thicker ones use evaporated milk. the biggest difference is in the chocolate coating: chocolate ganache vs. melted semisweet chocolate.
my ideal bar is a mixture of the two. i prefer a thinner shortbread, because it provides the full flavor without the dryness. i like the evaporated milk caramel better, because it’s smoother and holds its form. the chocolate topping is a toss-up; i’m leaning towards the simpler semisweet chocolate, because once hardened, it adds a nice crunch. and of course, a generous sprinkling of sea salt is essential.
- 1 cup (two sticks) butter, room temperature
- 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp coconut extract, optional
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 3/4 cup shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened
- 1 (15 oz) can evaporated milk
- 6 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 6 oz semisweet chocolate, melted
- sea salt, flaky or regular
for the shortbread, grease a 9×13 inch pan and line with parchment paper. in a stand mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. add the salt and extracts; beat for another minute. fold in the flour and coconut with a spatula. the dough should be very crumbly, with some chunks of butter. dump the mixture into the pan and press it in, evenly. stick the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven to 350º. bake at 350º for five minutes, then reduce the heat to 300º and bake for 15 more minutes. let cool fully in the pan.
meanwhile, make the caramel. combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. stir occasionally until the mixture boils and bubbles. stir it down and lower the heat to medium-low. let simmer for around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. pour over the cooled shortbread base. refrigerate or freeze until hardened, an hour or two.
for the topping, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or carefully in the microwave. spread on top of the caramel with an offset spatula, and sprinkle with lots of sea salt before it sets. refrigerate or freeze again. when completely set, run a knife around the edges of the pan and turn the bars out onto a cutting board. flip them over and cut into bars.