Telly chef James Martin explains where this millionaire’s shortbread recipe comes from: “For this recipe, I have to thank Kj, the head chef and owner of the Mountain Café in Aviemore. Kirsten Gilmore is a long way from her native New Zealand but now has a reputation for food, service and kick-ass coffee (in her own words!) with an amazing view of the Cairngorm Mountains in Scotland.

“You have to order the fish chowder and the sweetcorn fritters and, without a doubt, the best millionaire’s shortbread I have ever tasted. She kindly gave me her recipe, so here it is for you.”

Millionaire's Shortbread from James Martin's Islands To Highlands
(Quadrille/Peter Cassidy/PA)
Millionaire's Shortbread from James Martin's Islands To Highlands
Print Recipe
Nutrition Facts
James Martin's millionaire’s shortbread
Amount Per Serving
Calories 813 Calories from Fat 468
% Daily Value*
Fat 52g80%
Saturated Fat 33g206%
Cholesterol 121mg40%
Sodium 416mg18%
Potassium 64mg2%
Carbohydrates 83g28%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 50g56%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 1428IU29%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 70mg7%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

James Martin's millionaire’s shortbread

The ultimate sweet treat
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Servings: 12
Calories: 813kcal
Author: James Martin


  • 23 x 30cm loose-bottomed cake tin
  • Large saucepan


For the biscuit base:

  • 300 g salted butter softened
  • 200 g dark soft brown sugar
  • 350 g plain flour
  • 125 g cornflour

For the caramel filling:

  • 397 g dulce de leche (1 jar)
  • 250 g salted butter
  • 150 g caster sugar

For the topping:

  • 400 g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) broken into pieces
  • 100 g salted butter


  • Preheat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan)/325°F/gas 3.
  • To make the biscuit base, put the butter, sugar and both types of flour into a large bowl. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the other ingredients until the mixture looks really crumbly. Press the mixture into a 23 x 30cm loose-bottomed cake tin (no need to line) and use a palette knife to even out the surface. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and cool in the tin on a wire rack.
  • To make the caramel filling, combine the dulce de leche, butter and sugar in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Whisking the mixture, bring to the boil (be careful as the mixture will be extremely hot).
  • Pour evenly over the biscuit base, cover and leave to set for at least four hours or overnight at room temperature.
  • To make the topping, put the chocolate and butter into a medium heavy-based pan and gently heat. Once everything has melted, whisk to combine. Cool slightly, then pour over the caramel and level with a palette knife. Cover, then leave to set overnight at room temperature.
  • Cut into 12 squares to serve.


Calories: 813kcal | Carbohydrates: 83g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 52g | Saturated Fat: 33g | Cholesterol: 121mg | Sodium: 416mg | Potassium: 64mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 50g | Vitamin A: 1428IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 2mg

James Martin’s Islands To Highlands by James Martin, photography by Peter Cassidy, is published by Quadrille.

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  1. 2 stars
    I followed this recipe to the T and I must say the base was an absolute disaster.
    The base was terrible and my father who’s a baker says it tastes correct but the cooking times and gas mark are completely wrong.
    This looked amazing on the program but the base for it was very disappointing. Thankyou for the recipe though.

      • 3 stars
        I had a disaster first time- then I creamed the butter and sugar and mixed in the flour ets and cooked at 175 for 30 mins. It was better but filling too gooey- it just squelched out sides when cut the again when eating.Too messy Nothing like James’s. So I added 2 tablespoons syrup and boiled the mixture for 5 mins. Much better

  2. 5 stars
    Strange thing is, over last two days, I followed this to the T as well (and I very rarely bake or cook, just fancied trying it after watching the tv prog, and the base and everything else worked out perfect, and all the people I’ve been letting try it have been commenting how good it is. For my base, I just used basic ingredients from Aldi, but I think the trick is in the hand mixing, done for at least 10 mins, then about another 10 mins hand pressing into the tray, and then using the palette, making it all solid and compressed, and it baked fine at Gas 3 (preheated half hour) & 20 mins. Maybe Beginners luck…


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