Skip to Content

Millionaire Brownies

These millionaire brownies are made with a buttery shortbread crust and are topped with decadent layers of caramel and chocolate ganache.

image of a millionaire brownie that's been bitten into

How to Make These Millionaire Brownies

Let’s walk through each step of this recipe to make sure it turns out as amazing as possible.

I’ve also shared a video tutorial below.

Step 1: Make the Caramel

Make the caramel filling first so that it can thicken up before it’s used to top the brownies.

Heat the sweetened condensed milk, butter, brown sugar, and light corn syrup over medium heat in a heavy saucepan.  

image of ingredients being whisked together over a stove top to make a thick caramel topping

Stir frequently and allow the mixture to come to a gentle boil. Once this happens, turn the heat down to let the caramel simmer.

image of thick caramel being cooked down on a stovetop while being stirred with a whisk

Continue to stir frequently until the mixture thickens and becomes a medium caramel color (about 5 minutes).  Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and salt.

Pour into a separate container, then set aside to cool to room temperature. If you make this in advance, cover the bowl and store it at room temperature overnight or in the fridge for up to a week.

This is what my caramel looks like once it cools to room temperature.

image of thick caramel that's been cooled to room temperature

If you refrigerate the caramel, heat it in the microwave in short 15-second intervals until it reaches room temperature and is a more workable consistency.

Step 2: Make the Shortbread Crust

Next, work on the shortbread crust. Preheat the oven to 350 F / 175 C. Line an 8×8-inch square pan with parchment paper and set aside.

Use a fork or pastry cutter to combine the butter, flour, powdered sugar, and fine salt.

image of shortbread down being mixed together with a fork

Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Prick the crust thoroughly with a fork.

image of shortbread crust being pressed into a square pan and poked with a fork before being baked

Bake until the edges are just starting to brown.

image of a baked shortbread crust in a square baking pan

Place the pan on a wire rack to cool. Keep the oven on but lower the temperature to 325 F / 163 C.

Step 3: Make the Brownie Batter

While the shortbread crust bakes and cools, make the brownie batter following the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

image of brownie batter being mixed together in a glass bowl

Pour the batter over the shortbread crust in the prepared pan and smooth it into an even layer. Bake for 38-43 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with only a few moist crumbs.

image of baked brownies in a metal pan that are cooling

Set on a wire rack to fully cool before topping. If you want to accelerate the process, place the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Step 4: Make the Chocolate Ganache

Make the chocolate ganache as the brownies bake and cool because they need time to cool to room temperature.

Add the heavy cream into a medium-sized bowl and heat it until it just begins to bubble. This can be done in either the microwave (takes me about 45-60 seconds in my microwave) or a double boiler.

Then pour in the dark chocolate and corn syrup and let the mixture sit for a minute.

image of spreadable dark chocolate ganache being mixed together

After a minute the chocolate should be softened.

Stir the mixture until the cream and chocolate are combined and the mixture is smooth. If any bits of chocolate aren’t fully melted, heat the mixture again for 15 seconds and stir until smooth.

Then mix in the unsalted butter and fine salt.

image of chocolate ganache being mixed together in a glass bowl with a whisk

Cover with plastic wrap placed flush against the top of the ganache to prevent it from forming a skin, then set aside to cool to room temperature.

image of spreadable dark chocolate ganache being covered and set aside to cool to room temperature

If you need to make this topping in advance, it can be covered and stored in the fridge for up to a month.

The ganache should thicken and be scoopable once it reaches room temperature. If you want to accelerate the cooling process, place the bowl in the fridge.

image of scoopable chocolate ganache filling

Step 5: Top the Brownies

Once the brownies are fully cooled, scoop the room-temperature caramel on top and spread it into an even layer.

image of caramel being spread on top of millionaire brownies

Then spread the room-temperature chocolate ganache on top of the caramel.

image of chocolate ganache being spread on top of millionaire brownies

Add a sprinkle of flakey sea salt, then use a sharp, warm knife to cut into the chilled brownies.

Clean the knife after each cut to get perfect slices. Leftover brownies can be kept in the fridge for up to a week in an airtight container.

image of a millionaire brownie that's been cut to show it's caramel and ganache topping

Substitutions & Swaps – Shortbread Crust

This recipe uses quite a few ingredients and I know you might not have all of them on hand.

Below are some swaps and substitutions that can be made in this recipe.

  • Unsalted Butter – Salted butter can be used in place of unsalted butter, just omit the salt that the shortbread crust recipe calls for.
  • Powdered Sugar – This helps solidify the crust once it’s baked and makes the crust more stable.
  • AP Flour – A good baking gluten-free flour blend can be used in place of the AP flour in the crust.

Substitutions & Swaps – Brownie & Toppings

  • Granulated Sugar – You can increase or decrease the amount of sugar by a few Tablespoons based on your preferences.
  • Light Brown Sugar – I prefer using light brown sugar to make the caramel, but you can also use dark brown sugar.
  • Light Corn Syrup – Using a bit of corn syrup in the caramel and ganache gives them a glossy, silky smooth consistency. However, it can be omitted from both recipes if needed.
  • Dark Chocolate – I love using dark or semi-sweet chocolate to make the ganache topping. However, you can also use milk chocolate too.
image of a millionaire brownie that's been cut to show it's caramel and ganache topping

Making These Millionaire Brownies in Advance & Storage Tips

These brownies can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. Store slices in an airtight container or cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and foil to keep it fresh.

You can also freeze these brownies for up to 3 months! After they’re baked and cooled, remove them from the pan then freeze the entire sheet of brownies until it’s firm to the touch (about 1 hour). Then wrap the brownies in a couple of layers of plastic wrap and then foil.

When you’re ready to enjoy the frozen brownies, place them in the fridge overnight, then unwrap and enjoy them the following day. Wait to add the caramel and ganache topping until you’re ready to cut into it.

image of a millionaire brownie that's been cut to show it's caramel and ganache topping

How To Make the Best Millionaire Brownies

  • Be sure the ingredients are at room temperature. It helps them mix together better.
  • Properly measure your four! I like to use a scale, but the fluff and level method works great too.
  • Bake these brownies in a metal pan, not a glass pan! Glass gets hotter than metal pans. If you have to bake these in a glass pan, bake them at 300 F.
  • Don’t over-bake your brownies!! Unlike cake layers, a toothpick inserted into the center won’t come out clean when they’re done. You’ll know they’re done when the edges have risen, and the center is still a tiny bit wiggly.
  • Chill your brownies fully before cutting into them. It will make them much easier to cut.
  • Use a warm, sharp knife to get clean slices. Fill a tall cup with hot water and dip a sharp knife into it. Dry the knife fully, then make a slice. Repeat with each cut and wipe the blade clean after each cut.
image of a millionaire brownie that's been cut to show it's caramel and ganache topping

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you make these millionaire brownies, I’d love to hear what you think of them! Please leave a rating and comment below.

Don’t forget to tag me @chelsweets and #chelsweets if you share on social media! I love seeing your delicious creations.

Other Posts You Might Like:

Yield: 16

Millionaire Brownies

image of a millionaire brownie that's been bitten into

These millionaire brownies are made with a buttery shortbread crust and topped with decadent layers of caramel and chocolate ganache.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes

Ingredients

Caramel Topping

  • 1 cup or 8 oz. sweetened condensed milk (230g)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks (56g)
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed (50g)
  • 2 Tbsp light corn syrup (30g)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4g)
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt (3g)

Shortbread Crust

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (170g)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (190g)
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar (40g)
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt (1g)

Brownie Batter

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (300g)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (95g)
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted (65g)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (65g)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, chopped (90g)
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt (3g)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature (112g)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil (55g)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (55g)
  • 2 Tbsp water (30g)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4g)

Chocolate Ganache Topping

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (120g)
  • 2/3 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips (120g)
  • 1 Tbsp corn syrup - optional (20g)
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature (30g)
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt (2g)

Garnish - Optional

Equipment / Tools Needed

Instructions

Caramel Topping

  1. Make the caramel filling first so that it can thicken up before we use it to top the brownies.
  2. Heat 1 cup of sweetened condensed milk, 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 2 Tbsp light corn syrup over medium heat in a heavy saucepan. Stir frequently and allow the mixture to come to a gentle boil. Once this happens, turn the heat down to allow the caramel to simmer.
  3. Continue to stir frequently until the mixture thickens and becomes a medium caramel color (about 5 minutes).  Remove from the heat and stir in 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp fine salt.
  4. Pour into a separate container, then set aside to cool to room temperature. If you make this in advance, cover the bowl and store it at room temperature overnight or in the fridge for up to a week. If you refrigerate the caramel, heat it in the microwave in short 15-second intervals until it reaches room temperature and is a more workable consistency.

Shortbread Crust

  1. Next, work on the shortbread crust. Preheat the oven to 350 F / 175 C. Line an 8x8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside
  2. Use a fork or pastry cutter to combine 3/4 cup butter, 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/3 cup powdered sugar, and 1/4 tsp fine salt.
  3. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan with your fingers. Prick the crust thoroughly with a fork, then bake for 22-25 minutes, or until the edges are just starting to brown.
  4. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool. Keep the oven on but lower the temperature to 325 F / 163 C.

Brownie Batter

  1. While the cookie crust bakes and cools, make the brownie batter. In a medium bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups sugar, 3/4 cup flour, 2/3 cup cocoa powder, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 cup chocolate chips, and 1/2 tsp salt.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 large eggs, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1/4 cup melted butter, 2 Tbsp water, and 1 tsp vanilla.
  3. Pour the dry mix into the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. The mixture will be pretty thick, but that's how it's supposed to be!
  4. Pour the batter over the shortbread crust in the prepared pan and smooth it into an even layer. Bake at 325 F / 163 C for 38-43 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with only a few moist crumbs.
  5. Set on a wire rack to fully cool before topping. If you want to accelerate the process, place the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Chocolate Ganache Topping

  1. Make the chocolate ganache as the brownies bake and cool because it needs time to cool and thicken before we top the brownies with it.
  2. Heat 1/2 cup of heavy cream in a heatproof bowl in the microwave for 45 seconds, until it's just beginning to bubble.
  3. Gently pour 2/3 cup of dark chocolate chips and 1 Tbsp of corn syrup into the heavy cream. Make sure the chips are fully covered with cream. Let the mixture sit for 1 minute. If you want to use milk chocolate to make the ganache, use a little less than 1 cup or 160 grams of milk chocolate.
  4. Stir slowly until the cream and chocolate combine and the mixture is smooth. If any bits of chocolate aren't fully melted, heat the mixture again for 15 seconds and stir until smooth.
  5. Mix in 2 Tbsp of unsalted butter and 1/4 tsp fine salt until combined.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent the ganache from forming a skin, then set aside to cool to room temperature. If you need to make this in advance, it can be covered and stored in the fridge for up to a month.
  7. Set aside to cool to room temperature. If you want to accelerate the cooling process, place the bowl in the fridge.

Decorating These Millionaire Brownies

  1. Once the brownies are fully cooled, scoop the room-temperature caramel on top and spread it into an even layer.
  2. Then spread the room-temperature chocolate ganache on top of the caramel.
  3. Add a sprinkle of flakey sea salt, then use a sharp, warm knife to cut into the chilled brownies. Clean the knife after each cut to get perfect slices. Leftover brownies can be kept in the fridge for up to a week in an airtight container.

Notes

Ingredient Swaps & Substitutions

For a detailed list of ingredient swaps and substitutions that can be made in each component of this recipe, please refer to the "swaps and substitutions" section above.

Making These Millionaire Brownies in Advance

These brownies can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. Store slices in an airtight container or cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and foil to keep it fresh.

You can also freeze these brownies for up to 3 months! After they're baked and cooled, remove them from the pan then freeze the entire sheet of brownies until it's firm to the touch (about 1 hour). Then wrap the brownies in a couple of layers of plastic wrap and then foil.

When you're ready to enjoy the frozen brownies, place them in the fridge overnight, then unwrap and enjoy them the following day. Wait to add the caramel and ganache topping until you're ready to cut into it.

Doubling this Recipe

If you want to double this recipe, go for it! Simply double the ingredients and follow the directions in, the recipe card above.

Bake a double batch in a 9 x 13-inch pan at 350 F / 175 C for 40-50 minutes.

How to Make the Best Millionaire Brownies

  • Be sure the ingredients are at room temperature. It helps them mix together better.
  • Properly measure your four! I like to use a scale, but the fluff and level method works great too.
  • Bake these brownies in a metal pan, not a glass pan! Glass gets hotter than metal pans. If you have to bake these in a glass pan, bake them at 300 F.
  • Don’t over-bake your brownies!! Unlike cake layers, a toothpick inserted into the center won't come out clean when they're done. You'll know they're done when the edges have risen, and the center is still a tiny bit wiggly.
  • Chill your brownies fully before cutting into them. It will make them much easier to cut.
  • Use a warm, sharp knife to get clean slices. Fill a tall cup with hot water and dip a sharp knife into it. Dry the knife fully, then make a slice. Repeat with each cut and wipe the blade clean after each cut.

Nutrition Information

Yield

16

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 505Total Fat 26gSaturated Fat 15gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 81mgSodium 263mgCarbohydrates 65gFiber 2gSugar 48gProtein 6g

Nancy

Saturday 20th of January 2024

I made these for a party and every one raved about them and how great they were. I had one issue when preparing the shortbread: I followed the recipe to the t but when I used my pastry cutter to mix everything together it really didn’t mix to a good consistency. It stayed pretty crumbly. When I pressed in the pan it seemed ok, but when I went it put in the fork marks, the crust would all pull out like crumbs with the fork. It baked and tasted good but just did not come together like the picture in the recipe. Any suggestions on what happened? Butter was room temperature but not too soft. Maybe not soft enough?

Chelsweets

Sunday 28th of January 2024

Hi Nancy,

I'm so sorry to hear that!! My guess would be that the butter was a tiny bit too cold. It's hard this time of year because room temperature butter is slightly colder than it would be in the summer. I'd suggest letting the butter get a bit warmer or even heating it in the microwave for a few seconds to help the shortbread dough come together. The dough should be quite soft once it's fully combined. Hope that helps for the future, happy baking!

Chewy Oatmeal Lace Cookies: Easy 7-Ingredient Recipe

Tuesday 12th of December 2023

[…] Millionaire Brownies Buckeyes Christmas Cookie Boxes Brown Butter Sugar Cookies […]

Skip to Recipe