Bars & Brownies

Bourbon Pecan Millionaire’s Shortbread

December 31, 2020

This post is sponsored by Danish Creamery. As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for […]

This post is sponsored by Danish Creamery. As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that help make Browned Butter Blondie possible.

A delicious twist on the classic, this bourbon pecan millionaire’s shortbread has a rich, buttery pecan crust covered with a sweet and salty homemade caramel and topped off with a thick layer of melted dark chocolate. A super simple, extra delicious treat worthy of their name!

Do we have time for one last recipe before the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve?? I say yes! At the risk of this recipe landing in your inbox only to be met with an out-of-office-until-2021 auto reply, I very much believe that you need this bourbon pecan millionaire’s shortbread in your life. This recipe is deceptively easy to make, looks fancy-ish and is just the ticket to end the debacle that was 2020 on a high note. I figured we ought to go out with a bang and this flashy cookie confection fits the bill perfectly. These bars are made with a trifecta of all things delicious in this world and while similar to the classic millionaire’s bar, these have a little extra something something that makes them even more divine. I just know you’re going to love them.

These bourbon pecan millionaire’s bars are super simple and super delicious. We’re talking a rich, buttery pecan shortbread crust covered in a a sweet and salty homemade bourbon (yes…bourbon!) caramel. Top it all off with an extra thick layer of melted dark chocolate and a sprinkle of flakey sea salt for the ultimate trifecta! It’s just like a classic millionaire’s bar, but better. Cuz I’m extra like that. Let me tell you how to make them.


This millionaire’s shortbread isn’t complicated to make but it does involve a few layers that will require a handful of extra dishes that will need washing. Don’t let that deter you one bit – these bars are 1000 times worth every second in the kitchen. Not to mention that they are made with just a handful of basic ingredients you likely already have in your pantry making these bars the perfect treat when the craving strikes. 

Flour. This recipe calls for regular old AP flour – nothing fancy. The shortbread crust could easily be made gluten free by subbing the all purpose flour for your favorite gluten free flour blend. Be sure to spoon and level your flour for best results.

Butter. These three layer caramel filled bars are made with just a handful of ingredients so it’s important to use quality products for the very best flavor. The best baked goods deserve premium butter and these millionaire’s bars are no exception. I use Danish Creamery European Style Butter 99% of the time because the flavor is the best there is. Danish Creamery European Style Butter boasts an 85% butterfat which means better flavor and texture in everything from cakes to cookies. Most European style butters only have 82% butterfat making Danish Creamery the cream of the crop. Take it from me, it’s just better butter!

Sugar. We use granulated sugar in both the shortbread layer and the homemade caramel to add the perfect bit of sweetness. I like to use baker’s superfine sugar for a smooth, creamy caramel. 

Pecans. I love the combo of pecans and shortbread  – it’s such a classic flavor that pairs perfectly with the bourbon caramel. Don’t be tempted to skip toasting the pecans before chopping them up in a food processor. Toasting the nuts really enhances the flavor of the pecan shortbread. 

Chocolate chips. These millionaire’s shortbread bars are topped off with a an extra thick layer of melted chocolate. If you like your bars on the sweet side, use semi-sweet chocolate chips. For a more mellow flavor, try a bittersweet or dark chocolate. We’ll melt the chocolate with a tablespoon of coconut oil for a smooth, shiny finish. 

Heavy whipping cream. This homemade caramel is made without sweetened condensed milk. Instead we use a bit of heavy cream to make a thick and luscious caramel. For best results, bring the cream to room temperature before making the caramel. 

Vanilla. A good quality pure vanilla extract can make all the difference in the flavor of homemade caramel. Break out the good stuff bakers. It’s worth it!

Bourbon. This is the part where I say that the bourbon is totally optional. Sort of. Okay, not really. Trust me when I tell you that the bourbon adds a whole new level of flavor that makes these bars truly exceptional. Honestly, if you can’t get away with adding a little booze to your baked goods during the holidays, when can you? It is New Year’s Eve after all. Boozy shortbread bars it is!

Salt. Just a pinch of kosher salt in both the shortbread and caramel gives these bars a hint of salty flavor to balance the sweet. To finish these bars off with a bang, sprinkle the tops with a bit of flakey sea salt. Sooooo good!!



There are essentially three layers to this recipe {four if you count the flakey sea salt}. It’s easiest to break down each layer and take it step by step. To make these positively indulgent triple layer millionaire’s bars, we start with the pecan shortbread layer. We’ll cream together the softened butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Next we’ll add the nuts, flour, and salt and then press the mixture into a square pan. Remember to poke the crust with a fork to prevent the crust from inflating in the oven. Baked until slightly crunchy but still tender, the shortbread crust is the perfect crispy vehicle for the bourbon salted caramel.

Did you catch that? Bourbon. Salted. Caramel.


The caramel comes together easily with a few ingredients and a candy thermometer. Simply stir the sugar, cream and corn syrup over a simmer until thick and creamy. The caramel should coat the back of a spoon and be amber in color before you remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla, bourbon and salt. Allow the caramel to set over the shortbread crust until cool to the touch and then refrigerate until firm. For the final layer, we melt dark chocolate together with a spoonful of coconut oil and pour the smooth, shiny chocolate over the cooled caramel layer. Top with a sprinkle of flakey sea salt before chilling the bars in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. To slice the bars into perfect squares, use a clean, sharp knife. Run the knife under warm water and wipe with a clean dish towel in between each slice. When chilled, the bars will form perfect squares of deliciousness but as the caramel reaches room temperature, it will take on an ooey gooey life of it’s own that is pure heaven in every bite. 



These millionaire’s shortbreads are made with three separate layers that are ridiculously good all on their own. But combine them together into one boozy bar and you’ve got yourself one seriously decadent one pan wonder. To make these bars, it’s important to follow the recipe step by step to ensure you end up with three distinct layers. I’m not gonna lie, there’s a bit of prep time, a small amount of baking time, and a lot of chilling time involved with this recipe. But the end result is one UNREAL bar that will be all you can talk about when everyone asks what you did on New Year’s Eve. Read the recipe twice through for the full how-to, but keep in mind that each layer should reach room temperature before adding the next. The caramel and chocolate layers should pour on rather evenly, but don’t discount the gentle nudge of an offset spatula if need be. I find the bars easy to cut into uniform squares after about three hours in the refrigerator but anything less and you’ll likely have a bit of a mess on your hands. A delicious mess, but still, a mess. I don’t recommend freezing the bars to speed up the process as it can alter the texture of the caramel and shortbread. Stick to the fridge for best results.


Because the caramel layer softens as it reaches room temperature {hello ooey gooey deliciousness!}, these bars are best served straight from the fridge. If you prefer to eat the bars at room temperature, it might be a bit of a messy endeavor so I recommend serving them up with a plate and fork. Either way, they are ridiculously delicious. The bars will stay fresh tightly covered for up to five days in the refrigerator – if they last that long!

Before you go, since this is our last recipe of 2020, I just want to say a giant heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you for being here. For following along, for trying my recipes, and for your words of inspiration and encouragement along the way. 2020 was a tough year for us all, but I’m hopeful we’ve come through all the better for it. One thing I know for sure, many of us have become better bakers in this past year, myself included. As we turn the corner into a new year, I look forward to sharing more recipes, telling more stories, and celebrating more milestones {both big and little} with all of you. I have some very special things in store for Browned Butter Blondie in the coming year that I cannot wait to share.  Here’s to brighter days ahead!

Happy New Year and happy baking!!

If you love this Bourbon Pecan Millionaire’s Shortbread, you’ll also love….

Homemade Bite Size Twix Bars

Brown Butter Chocolate Pecan Tart

Mini Salted Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Chocolate Pecan Pie Cookie Bars

Brown Butter Brookies

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Bourbon Pecan Millionaire’s Shortbread

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  • Author: Heather
  • Prep Time: 25
  • Cook Time: 50
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 15 min + cooling time
  • Yield: 16 squares 1x


A delicious twist on the classic millionaire’s shortbread, these bars have a rich, buttery pecan crust covered with a sweet and salty homemade caramel and topped off with a thick layer of melted chocolate. A super simple, extra delicious treat worthy of their name!



Pecan Shortbread

½ cup pecans, roughly chopped

1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour, split into 1 cup and ¼ cup measurements

⅓ cup granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

11 tablespoons Danish Creamery European Style unsalted butter, melted and cooled

 Caramel Filling

¾ cup granulated sugar

½ cup light corn syrup

5 tablespoons Danish Creamery European Style unsalted butter, room temperature

½ cup heavy cream, room temperature

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

34 tablespoons bourbon (optional)

Chocolate Layer

6 ounces chocolate chips

1 tablespoon coconut oil

flaky sea salt for sprinkling on top


For Pecan Shortbread

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350˚ F.

Make a parchment sling in one 8×8 pan. Set aside.

Toast the pecans on baking sheet for 5-10 minutes in the oven. Be sure to check on the nuts at 5 minutes because they can burn easily. Remove from oven when you smell the nutty aroma. Let cool.

Once the nuts are cooled, add them to a food processor with ¼ cup flour and pulse until it is combined and the pecan pieces look like flecks of brown in the flour mixture.

Add pecan mixture, remaining 1 cup of flour, sugar and sea salt to a medium bowl. Whisk together.

Add melted butter to dry ingredients and mix together.

Pour the dough into the pan. Using clean hands, press the dough evenly into the square pan. Use a fork to prick the top of the dough. Put in the oven for 25-30 minutes.

Remove from the oven when the top is golden brown. Take a spatula and lightly press down the surface of the baked shortbread. Set aside and let cool for 30 minutes.

For Caramel Filling

Add the sugar, corn syrup, room temperature butter and cream to a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring often, until the sugar is dissolved and the butter is melted. Increase heat to a medium low and allow the caramel to boil, but then adjust heat to maintain a simmer. Stir continuously and monitor the temperature with a candy thermometer for 20-25 minutes. Once the thermometer reads 236˚-240˚ F, remove from heat.

After 5 minutes off the heat, add the salt, vanilla and bourbon and mix. Pour the caramel over the shortbread, slightly tilting the pan to cover all the shortbread in even thickness. Let cool for at least 60 minutes on the counter.

For Chocolate Layer

Melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl with oil. It is best to microwave the chocolate in 15 second intervals until just melted. Mix together smooth.

Pour chocolate onto the caramel layer and spread evenly. Give the pan a little shake to flatten out the chocolate. Let the chocolate cool 10 minutes before sprinkling flaky sea salt on top.

Refrigerate bars for at least 60 minutes to set chocolate before cutting. However, the bars taste best after being refrigerated, and all three parts are well chilled, for at least 3 hours.

When ready to cut into squares, lift the bars out of the pan using the parchment sling. Use a sharp knife and press firmly all the way through all three layers of the bar.


*The bourbon flavor can be omitted from the caramel.

**For a clean cut, use a very sharp knife and wipe off the knife between each slice. Cut the number of squares you need a time right before serving for the cleanest looking three-layer bars.  Can keep in refrigerator for 5 days.

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