Tamarind Millionaire's Shortbread


The sourness of tamarind breathes new life into the classic Millionaire's Shortbread (also affectionately known as Caramel Slice), a traybake of layered shortbread, caramel and chocolate that has been a fixture in home cook's kitchens since 1970 when the recipe was first published in the Australian Women's Weekly Magazine. Tamarind concentrate adds a gloriously sharp acidic profile to balance the decadent caramel layer of this version of the afternoon treat, topped with the bitter sweetness of dark chocolate and a coconutty shortbread biscuit base (food writer Rosie Birkett first pioneered this wonderful flavor combination). If you are struggling to find room in the fridge to set the final chocolate layer, simply leave the slice to set on the kitchen counter for 2 hours instead. Keep a clean, damp cloth handy to wipe your knife between cuts when serving up the slice for perfect crumb-free and crack-free chocolate precision. Slices should be served at room temperature for the best chew.

Tamarind Millionaire's Shortbread
Photo: Photo by Greg DuPree / Food Styling by Melissa Gray / Prop Styling by Lydia Pursell
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 45 mins
36 squares


Pastry Base

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (about 6 3/8 ounces), sifted

  • ½ cup coconut sugar or packed light brown sugar

  • ½ cup unsweetened desiccated coconut

  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

  • ½ cup unsalted butter (4 ounces), melted, plus softened butter, for greasing

Tamarind Caramel

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

  • 2 ½ tablespoons coconut sugar or light brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate (such as Tamicon)

  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

Chocolate Topping

  • 2 (3 1/2-ounce) dark chocolate bars (70% cacao), roughly chopped

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces


Make the pastry base:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving at least 2 inches of overhang on all sides. Lightly grease parchment paper with softened butter. Stir together flour, coconut sugar, desiccated coconut, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in melted butter until well combined. Spoon mixture into prepared pan, and spread evenly. Firmly press mixture into an even layer using bottom of a dry measuring cup. Bake in preheated oven until light golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack. Do not turn oven off.

  2. After about 10 minutes of pastry base bake time, make the tamarind caramel: Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low. Stir in condensed milk, coconut sugar, tamarind concentrate, and salt; cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is smooth and glossy and just begins to bubble, about 5 minutes.

  3. Pour hot caramel over pastry base in pan, and spread in an even layer. Return to oven, and bake at 350°F until caramel is bubbly and set in the center and edges are slightly puffed, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack. Let cool completely, about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Make the chocolate topping:

  1. Fill a medium saucepan with water to a depth of 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a simmer. Combine chocolate and butter in a medium-size heatproof bowl, and set over pan of simmering water, ensuring bottom of bowl doesn't touch water. Cook, stirring often, until mixture is smooth and melted, 3 to 6 minutes.

  2. Pour topping over caramel on cooled pastry, and spread in an even layer; tap pan on counter to smooth surface. Loosely cover pan with plastic wrap, ensuring plastic wrap doesn't touch topping, and chill until topping is hardened, about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

  3. Using parchment paper overhang as handles, lift pastry bar from pan, and transfer to a cutting board. Cut evenly into 36 (1 1/2-inch) squares, wiping knife clean with a damp towel after each cut. Serve at room temperature.

Make Ahead

Store bars in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 1 week.

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