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Pistachio Millionaire's Shortbread with Coriander Butterscotch

[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

Millionaire's shortbread is one of those "I can't believe we ate the whole thing" desserts. It's not to be taken lightly. But if you have the power to resist inhaling a batch of warm, gooey, caramel- and chocolate-slathered butter cookies, you're a stronger soul than I. This version incorporates ground pistachios and lemon zest into the cookie dough for a rich and nutty shortbread base.

Though millionaire's shortbread is traditionally made with a stiff caramel sauce, I opted instead for a butterscotch to show off coriander's many virtues. Its spicy citrus notes play well off the considerable butter and whiskey in this recipe, and also makes the shortbread a little lighter. Frankly, I could eat this sauce on anything.

You can serve this dessert in a couple ways. My favorite is to plate big slabs of warm-from-the-oven shortbread, then spoon on the toasty butterscotch and add a drizzle of melted chocolate. It should be eaten with a fork, ideally with tea. But you can also make bar cookies: let the shortbread cool completely, then spread on the butterscotch and pop it in the fridge till it's cooled into a semi-hard candy. Spread on the chocolate, chill again, and cut into squares (which freeze beautifully).

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