August 21st/22nd: 'Bits n Bobs' - Millionaire's Shortbread

'7Days of Chocolate Reviews' has been replaced this week by a special 'Bits n Bobs' post that I compiled after receiving an e-mail from keen ChocolateMission reader Lauren. A few weeks ago Lauren got in contact asking me if I had any advice on what brand of Millionaire's Shortbreads would be best to take a long to a tea party she was going to that weekend. Of course I suggested that she visit Heavenly Cakes, who I think make the best Millionaire Shortbread ever (See HERE). Lauren however was on a more pressing deadline and needed to buy them that day (DOH!). At this point I had to admit to Lauren I was a bit useless - I could suggest the very decent Thorntons Millionaire's, but to be honest I didn't have any idea about any of the supermarket offerings she mentioned in her e-mail ... I needed to do some research!

Although way to late to assist Lauren, with the help of my work chums, over the last few weeks I have been trying out various Millionaire Shortbreads that are available to us in our supermarkets here in the UK. I will keep the reviews short and sweet, suffice to say none of them were as good as Heavenly Cakes Millionaire's, but please feel free to add your own thoughts below.

Kcal 180 Fat 10.0g Fat(sats) 6.2g Carbs 21.0g (per slice)
Price - £0.79
'Shortcake topped with caramel and a chocolate flavoured coating'

I found these in Sainsbury's and I bought as I could hazily remember them being recommended to me by a ChocolateMission reader previously. Out of all four products on show today these were certainly the most unique in terms manufacture, price and subsequent taste. Unlike the rest of the Millionaire's this was produced by one of the UK's most famous cake brands, dear old 'Mr Kipling', so it was a bit of a surprise to see it was the cheapest out of all four. These things aside the main diversities from the Supermarket offerings came in the taste. Although it had a crisp outer portion, the base was cake like and soft instead of a hard biscuit. This didn't bother me at all, and I thought it delivered some fine syrup sponge flavours. On top of that sponger layer, the caramel was more like dry fudge rather than being soft and gooey. Similarly this wasn't a problem for me and I enjoyed it nevertheless. What was of great disappointment to me however was the chocolate coating, which had very little cut through in the overall taste and was certainly the poorest of all four on show today.

7.3 out of 10

Kcal 290 Fat 13.5g Fat(sats) 9.0g Carbs 26.2g
Price - £0.80p
'Belgian chocolate caramel shortbread'

I bought this in a single serve portion so I wasn't able to get any second opinions. Saying that I'm still pretty confident in my conclusion that this was the best of the lot - it was certainly the one I enjoyed the most anyway! The plastic wrapper and cardboard sleeve weren't perhaps the best looking packaging ever, but I certainly liked the look of the slice out of the packet and I appreciated the decorative bits of white chocolate placed on top. Starting with the biscuit base I felt the shortbread here was the most accomplished. It was crunchy, yet firm and had a delicious butter led taste taste that had all the desired flavours inputs from the hits of brown sugar and salt - wonderful! The caramel on top was similarly nice and firm in texture and did a nice job fusing all three layers. I felt the caramel and chocolate layers weren't the most accomplished in taste, however the caramel avoided being overly sugary and the chocolate did deliver the chocolate flavour hit to a decent standard.

8.1 out of 10

Kcal 170 Fat 8.1g Fat(sats) 5.0g Carbs 14.2g (per square)
Price - £1.59
'Shortbread topped with caramel and milk chocolate, hand drizzled with white chocolate'

I have to admit that the packaging had me believing these were going to be the best out of the bunch and they nearly, nearly were. Out of all three I felt the chocolate layer of these squares was the most accomplished and I enjoyed it's creamy cocoa flavours and crispness at which it broke when bitten in to. Unfortunately I felt the other caramel and biscuit portions weren't as accomplished as the Sainsbury's offering, as both were just a touch shadier in both taste and texture. Taste wise the caramel was more startling in it's sugary flavours, whilst the shortbread was less buttery and blander in comparison. One thing that was especially noted by some of my work colleagues was that the biscuit bases were terribly soft and crumbly, and the softer, gooey texture of the caramel portion whilst looking nice, wasn't all that practical when it came to eating. If quantity and quality of chocolate are the most important things to you, then these are worth a look at.

7.9 out of 10

Kcal 205 Fat 10.3g Fat(sats) 6.2g Carbs 17.3g (per slice)
Price - £2.19
'Shortbread squares topped caramel and dark Belgian chocolate'

Save the best until last!? Unfortunately not - quite the opposite I'm afraid. Aesthetically these slices looked pretty decent, with the caramel layer looking very plentiful in it's portioning sandwiched between the caramel and chocolate. Speaking of the chocolate, I thought the 'dark chocolate' proposition might be a clever ploy by Waitrose to balance the sweetness of the caramel. Indeed the sweetness was taken out of chocolate, but it was unfortunately not replaced by any grander focus on cocoa or cream so it came off as being just rather bland. The caramel layer took the lead role in the taste with it's fine buttery sweet flavours, but the biscuit bases were just as disappointing as the chocolate. Personally I would say Waitrose billing the bases as shortbread is verging on lieing - they tasted more like blander McVitie's digestive biscuits and were soft and unsubstantial once in the mouth. Unlike the others I wouldn't be prepared to buy these again.

6.6 out of 10