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Front view on a vegan millionaire's shortbread square that's over 2 other squares (they are on top of each other). The focus is on that top square to show the 3 layers of shortbread, caramel and chocolate.

Vegan Millionaire Shortbread (without condensed milk)

5 from 2 votes
This vegan millionaire shortbread is easy to make (yes, I promise!) and so amazingly delicious. Perfect trio of a shortbread cookie base with a decadent caramel layer that's also topped with dark chocolate. Can it get any better than that? Great for any holidays and also freezes well.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time18 mins
Chilling time (minimal)4 hrs
Total Time4 hrs 38 mins
Servings 16 squares
Author plantbasedjess

Ingredients
  

For the shortbread crust

  • 1 cup flour - all purpose or white whole wheat
  • 1 cup almond flour - blanched is better
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup refined coconut oil - firm, chill first if needed
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

For the caramel

  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk - from a can, mixed to uniform texture before measuring the cup
  • ¼ cup cornstarch + ¼ cup water

Chocolate top layer

  • ¾ cup vegan dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

Instructions
 

Make the shortbread crust

  • Pre-heat the oven to 375º. Line a 8 x 8 square baking dish with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, almond flour, and baking powder. Then, add the coconut oil and maple syrup and combine by mixing with a spoon or your hand. You will have to crush to coconut oil in the flours to reach a uniform mixture (tiny clumps of coconut oil are fine).
  • Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and press using your hands to make an even layer. You want to press enough so it is tight which will help the squares hold better.
  • Bake for 15 minutes (or until it starts to turn golden brown). When done, take out of the oven and let it rest until ready to pour the caramel over.

Make the caramel

  • Combine the cornstarch with the water in a small bowl until there are no clumps anymore. Set aside.
  • In a medium-large pot, add the maple syrup and bring to a gentle boil. Then, keep simmering on medium-high heat for 6 minutes whisking occasionally (put a timer!). Watch carefully as it can overflow easily.
  • During the last minute of simmering the syrup, warm the coconut milk for 1 minute in the microwave. When the syrup is done simmering, slowly pour the coconut milk into the reduced syrup as you are whisking.
  • Keep warming up the syrup-coconut mixture until it starts boiling again. Then, still on the heat, slowly add the cornstarch mixture in a thin stream as you are vigorously whisking. Keep whisking and warming for about 30-60 seconds or until the mixture is thick, then remove from the heat and pour over the crust.
  • Set the dish aside so the caramel can start to firm up. You can also transfer in the fridge for a little if that helps speed up the cooling process. You can touch the caramel to verify when it is firmer and ready to add the chocolate layer (I waited for about 15-20 minutes at room temperature).

Make the chocolate layer

  • In a medium bowl, add the chocolate chip and coconut oil. Warm up for about 1-2 minutes in the microwave, then stir in the bowl to help the chocolate chips melt. Stir until the chocolate is super smooth, then drizzle over the caramel. Then, tilt the dish in little circles to help spread the chocolate evenly.
  • Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours, I usually do overnight.

To serve

  • The chocolate layer tends to firm up nicely after resting in the fridge, so you will want to get the whole dish out at least 1 hour before cutting. Use a knife to detach the shortbread in the corners, then pull on the parchment papers to get the whole dessert out. Then, cut in smaller squares or bars. Serve either at room temperature or cold straight from the fridge.

Video

Notes

  • Use coconut oil that's in a harder state (usually at room temperature) when making the shortbread (chill in the fridge if necessary).
  • I preferred this dessert when using a refined coconut oil as I found that the unrefined kind had a coconut flavor that was too overpowering.
  • When making the shortbread base, try to make an even layer without any of the mixture that's rising on the sides.
  • Use a large enough pot (I used a medium size opposed to a small one) when making the caramel. It tends to try to overflow with lots of bubbles when reducing the maple syrup, so you want a pot large enough to handle that. Also, stay around when making the caramel, I usually have to play around with the heat for a few times to adjust if it's bubbling too much vs not enough, you want a nice gentle simmer for a whole 6 minutes. 
  • To cut the dessert, then as recommended, let the dessert out of the fridge for about an hour so the chocolate soften slightly. Then, warm up the knife in super hot running water, then dry with a towel. Slice when the knife is still warm (helps the chocolate not crack). 
  • To store: keep the squares or bars in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. I like this dessert cold straight from the fridge, although the chocolate is harder and tends to press gently on the caramel. You can also freeze the square for up to 3 months (separate the pieces with parchment paper).
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