When we moved to Mexico over 11 years ago, a lot had to change about the way we cooked and baked. The ovens (if you even had one) never seemed to stay at the right temperature, and the options for fun baking ingredients were limited.
This is a recipe I discovered probably near the beginning of our lives here in Mexico. The first time I made them I brought them to a gathering. We were fairly new to the area and not everyone at the gathering knew who our family was yet. After dinner and once the dessert was served, I heard a loud voice over the crowd bellowing “who made these?” while holding one of my bars up in the air. I was instantly afraid. Did this man have a nut allergy? Was the shortbread crumbling all over him? Was the chocolate that was being melted by the Mayan Riviera humidity all over his clothes? I had no idea. I was afraid. And there was nowhere to hide.
I finally and reluctantly admitted to be the baker. This gentleman looked at me, his face softened, and he proclaimed them to be his new favorite dessert and I should make them for all parties.
Whew. A waste of fear. And to this day, that gentleman is one of my favorite people.
After a few years, I noticed bars looking mighty similar called Millionaire and Billionaire shortbread. I must have looked at a hundred recipes and they are all pretty much the same with a few variations. These bars seem more like millionaire, and adding a few more toppings to the chocolate is like billionaire. I figured since it’s not just caramel in the middle, but has an addition of pecans (that are great if they’re toasted too) and never-mind the glorious flakes of sea salt on the top, and we called it Zillionaire. I know it’s not a word. But I like it because I feel these are so good and so easy they just can’t be real.
Call it what you like. Just make it. I promise you will make them over and over again. In our house, they get rationed and labeled by their owner so everyone gets their fair share.
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 (387 gram) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 TAB corn syrup
- 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped (I toast mine)
- 8 oz chocolate, chopped or chocolate chips
Base: Heat oven to 350. Combine flour and sugar. Cut in butter with knives or a pastry cutter to form a soft dough. Press evenly into a greased 8 inch square pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Watch that it does not burn. Set aside to cool.
Filling: Combine condensed milk, sugar, butter, and corn syrup in a heavy saucepan. Cook and stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat and boil for 6-8 minutes, stirring constantly, or until mixture thickens slightly and turns a caramel color. Remove from heat, stir in pecan pieces. Spread evenly over base. Chill.
Topping: In a microwave, melt chocolate in increments. I start with 25 seconds, remove bowl and stir. Repeat at 10 second increments until melted. Spread over caramel layer. Garnish with sea salt flakes. Chill.