The ultimate in richness, these 3 layer Caramel Millionaire Bars are like no other dessert! Perfect for those who have a big sweet tooth.
One of the phrases I’ve liked the least over the years is “This is too rich”. Rich desserts are my jam (although I love light desserts as well). In my mind, the richer the better, so it is almost offensive to me when I hear someone say that a dessert of mine is too rich. 😂
As I get older, I do find myself being able to eat less of rich desserts than I used to, and that’s ok. I just get to enjoy them longer!
These Caramel Millionaire Bars are called this for one reason: they’re rich! But they are a must make if you love chocolate and caramel.
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- buttery shortbread crust
- creamy homemade caramel middle
- chocolate ganache on top with a sprinkling of coarse salt
- perfect for making ahead and gift giving
Tips for Making Caramel Millionaire Bars
- Plan ahead. This recipe doesn’t take a ton of hands on time, but they do have several intervals of cooling time that you’ll need to plan for.
- Prepare an 8×8 baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper and have that paper hang over the sides slightly. This will allow you to remove the bars to get clean cuts.
- Prepare the shortbread. This mixture may seem crumbly, but that’s ok. It will bake together into buttery goodness. Poke the top of the shortbread with holes so that it doesn’t puff up during baking.
- Prepare the caramel layer. It’s easiest if you have a candy thermometer so that you can make sure it is boiled to the correct consistency. We LOVE our Thermoworks ThermaPen to quickly test temperatures. This probe thermometer is AMAZING. Get it here. The caramel should be thickened and have a pretty amber color when it hits the correct temperature.
- Make the ganache. Ganache may seem fancy, but it is the easiest part! If you want to cut the sweetness, use dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips.
- Allow the bars to set. Plan at least 5 hours for the bars to refrigerate, but you can just as easily leave them overnight. This makes them a great make-ahead dessert.
Just look at those gorgeous layers!
Can you freeze millionaire bars?
These freeze really well. Simply cut into the size pieces you would like and individually wrap them in a plastic. Store the wrapped pieces in an additional air tight container.
When you would like to enjoy them, remove from the freezer, remove the plastic wrap and then set on the serving plate, then let them thaw for about 20 minutes before enjoying.
Caramel Millionaire Bars
For the cookie layer:
- 2 ¼ cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 cup salted butter (room temperature)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup granulated sugar
For the caramel layer:
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup salted butter
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon quality salt
For the chocolate layer:
- 2 cups milk chocolate chips
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ to 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- quality finishing salt (to sprinkle on top)
To make the cookie layer:
- Preheat the oven to 350º Fahrenheit.
- Grease an 8×8 baking pan with cooking spray. Then line with parchment paper, making sure the parchment paper goes up the sides of the pan so you can easily remove the bars. Spray the parchment paper again lightly.
- Cream together the butter, vanilla and sugar, for about 3 minutes, until ultra light and fluffy then slowly mix in the flour until combined. It will be a little crumbly, but that's ok.
- Press the dough into your parchment paper lined baking dish.
- Use a fork to poke holes all over the surface of the dough. This will prevent the dough from doming while it bakes, helping to make sure you have one flat and even layer for the base.
- Bake for about 25 minutes or just until it starts to show a hint of being golden brown.
- When done, lift the parchment paper & cookie layer out of the baking dish and let everything cool on wire racks while you make the caramel layer.
To make the caramel layer:
- Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat and start whisking everything but the vanilla extract together.
- Keep whisking and be patient while the caramel mixture starts to come to a slow boil.
- Turn down the heat to a simmer and continue to cook, whisking the entire time. I stirred this for about 20 minutes until it was visibly thickened and had darkened to a perfect caramel color. The temperature should be between 220-225 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the vanilla extract.
- Place the shortbread back into the baking dish, making sure the parchment paper is positioned correctly.
- Carefully pour the hot caramel over the cookie layer in one smooth motion.
- Allow this to cool on on the counter for about 10 minutes, then place in the fridge to cool for about an hour.
To make the final chocolate layer:
- Place the chocolate chips in a medium size bowl.
- Heat the heavy cream in the microwave until it is very hot, but not necessarily boiling.
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips, then cover the bowl with a plate. Allow this to sit for 5 minutes.
- Then whisk until the chocolate is completely smooth. If it isn't 100% smooth, microwave in 15 second intervals until it is smooth. Then stir in the vanilla extract.
- Allow the chocolate to cool for a few minutes before pouring over the caramel layer.
- Smooth out with an offset spatula if needed.
- Allow the chocolate layer to cool on the counter for 5 to 10 minutes before sprinkling with the finishing salt. If you put the salt on too soon, the salt will dissolve.
- Let everything cool on the counter for about 1 hour and then cover tightly and refrigerate, ideally for a minimum of 5 hours but for best results overnight.
- When you are ready to serve, remove the bars from the pan and gently pull away the parchment paper from the sides of the bars.
- Use a very sharp long knife to slice. Clean the knife off after each slice for perfectly clean cuts.
- Store in an airtight container.