Millionaire’s Coconut Ice Shortbread

The fourth showstopper of Bake Off 2019 was to make 36 mishti or Indian milk sweets, 12 each of three different flavours. We saw Steph wow the judges with her pink and pretty mishti and unfortunately we saw Phil disappointed the judges with his ‘A Corner of My Garden’ mishti. I decided to my take on that challenge using condensed milk in the coconut ice layer of my Millionaire’s Coconut Ice Shortbread!

I think usually I would have gone for the cultured dairy cake however I’ve been really trying to push myself and try out new things with my bake along this year – think the tangzhong method for Bread Week, using alcohol in my recipe for Biscuit Week and doing flavoured genoise for Cake Week! That’s why I chose to do the mishti showstopper. One of my mini gripes with the challenge was that it wasn’t really baking focused although many of the bakers put a baked element in their showstoppers.

If you’ve not heard of coconut ice before, it’s a British sweet that is made from mixing icing sugar, desiccated coconut and condensed milk, which is the link here to the showstopper. I haven’t ever eaten it before but I thought that it was be quite sweet with the condensed milk and icing sugar so I thought I would cover it in a high percentage chocolate to balance out the sweetness. Then a sudden brainwave made me think that if I put this whole thing on top of shortbread (with added cacao nibs for texture and extra bitterness), then it would be like a millionaire’s shortbread with the coconut ice replacing the caramel!

I suggest wetting your hands slightly when pressing down the coconut ice layer; this will prevent it from sticking to your hands and allow you to get a really nice, even and thin layer. And you will have to work quickly with the chocolate topping. Since the coconut ice needs to be chilled in the fridge to set up properly, the chocolate begins to set when it touches the surface so make sure that you have the white chocolate ready to be piped and feathered. I think it’s better to leave this to set overnight before slicing into squares or triangles.

Check out my video guide on making my Millionaire’s Coconut Ice Shortbread below:

For the cacao nib shortbread:

  • 120g margarine
  • 60g golden caster sugar
  • 180g plain flour
  • 25g cacao nibs

For the coconut ice:

  • 140g condensed milk
  • 150g icing sugar
  • 145g desiccated coconut

For the chocolate layer:

  • 100g 70% chocolate (or cocoa melts)
  • 25g 100% chocolate (or cocoa melts)
  • 25g white chocolate

Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Line a 20cm square baking tin with 2 large strips of baking parchment so that it comes up all sides of the tin.

Cream together the margarine and the golden caster sugar until it is slightly lighter in colour. Add in the plain flour and the cacao nibs and mix together until it has the appearance of breadcrumbs; if you clump some of the mixture together, it should form a dough that crumbles quite readily.

Tip the mixture into the lined tin and using your hands or a spatula, press down the shortbread into an even layer. Use a fork to dock the shortbread to prevent it from rising. Bake the shortbread for about 20 minutes until the surface has turned golden brown and the surface has set. Leave to cool in the tin completely.

Once the shortbread has cooled, make the coconut ice. In a mixing bowl, mix together the condensed milk and icing sugar with about three quarters of the desiccated coconut until it forms a quite stiff mixture. Spread out the coconut ice on top of the shortbread; the best way is to dollop small portions all over the surface and then using hands lightly dipped in cold water to press it as flat as possible. Cover with clingfilm and chill in the fridge until set.

Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each one. Melt the white chocolate and place into a piping bag with a small hole cut off the end. Spread the dark chocolate over the top of the coconut in an even layer.

Pipe horizontal stripes of the white chocolate leaving about 1.5cm between each line. Draw a cocktail stick through the white and dark chocolate going in opposite directions each time. Return to the fridge until the chocolate is set before cutting the shortbread up into pieces and serving.

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