Vegan Millionaire’s Shortbread

Also known as “caramel shortbread” or “caramel square” or even in some cases “homemade twix”, this is usually very non vegan. But oh so good. Melt in your mouth shortbread, creamy caramel, and a chocolate topping? Mmm. I decided to make a vegan version of this delicious treat.

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The most difficult part, I figured, would be the caramel. There are some vegan recipes for millionaire’s shortbread out there, but a lot of them use either peanut butter, coconut milk, or dates. Peanut butter and coconut milk are too strongly flavoured for me, and dates…well, they’re alright for a fruit, but they aren’t caramel.

So I decided just to go with vegan butter (I used Pure), sugar, golden syrup, and some almond milk, and see how it worked. And it worked perfectly! I did use a sugar thermometer (you can usually get these fairly cheaply now) but I think you could make it work without one.

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First however, I made the shortbread. This is a simple shortbread recipe, and I used Stork margarine in the foil. The one in the foil is vegan – but avoid the one in the tub as it’s not! (thanks veganoo.net!) If you’re not in the UK, try to use a “solid” type, more like butter than spread. I pressed the dough it into my tin (this is a 9×13 dish) and baked until golden brown.

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Next step was to make the caramel. This is basically melting the vegan butter with the sugars, golden syrup (if you’re not able to get this you could use corn syrup), and vegan milk. Once melted, hands off, and leave until it reaches 115C/240F. This is the “soft ball” stage in sugar making, where the hot mixture will, if dropped into a cup of cold water, form a soft ball without breaking apart. You can do this without a thermometer by periodically testing small amounts of the mixture – use a cup of very cold water (put ice in if you like) and drop a bit in. If you can pick it up with your fingers and squeeze it around, it’s good to go! Here is a good guide to this.

Once the caramel is at the right temperature, you have to stir, off the heat,  for 10-15 minutes, non stop. This helps it thicken as it cools and stops it from being too runny or chewy. Yes, it takes a while and your arm will ache – play some nice music or have something to read while you do it!

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Next was the chocolate. After I made the caramel, poured it over the shortbread, and allowed it to cool, I melted vegan chocolate (mine is from Lidl but you can use whatever chocolate you prefer) and spread it on top. You don’t need a very thick layer of chocolate – it gets hard to cut if you do. Then, I just left the whole thing to cool before cutting it into squares!

Vegan Millionaire's Shortbread

  • Servings: Makes 30 shortbreads
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Ingredients

    For the Shortbread
  • 150g vegan butter, softened
  • 80g sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 225g plain flour
  • 35g cornflour/cornstarch
  • pinch salt
  • For the Caramel

  • 180g vegan butter
  • 200g golden syrup (or corn syrup)
  • 180g brown sugar
  • 100g white sugar
  • 150ml vegan milk (I used almond but any would work)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch salt
  • For the Chocolate

  • 200g dark chocolate

Directions

    Preheat the Oven to 170C/340F
  1. First make the shortbread. In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, then add the vanilla.
  2. Mix in the flour, salt and cornflour. The mixture will be stiff and crumbly but that’s right. Use your hands to mix rather than a spoon if you need!
  3. Press the mixture into a lined tin. Mine is 9×13 size. Try to make it evenly spread so it bakes at the right speed.
  4. Place the tin in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the shortbread is beginning to go golden brown on top. Leave to cool in the tin.
  5. Next, make the caramel. In a large saucepan, add all the caramel ingredients except the salt and vanilla.
  6. Put the saucepan over a low heat and allow the sugars to dissolve and the butter to melt.
  7. Once everything is dissolved, stop stirring and allow the mixture to come to a boil. Let it heat until it reaches 115C/240F. (If you don’t have a thermometer, see the instructions above)
  8. When the mixture reaches temperature, remove it from the heat and quickly add the vanilla and salt. Stir.
  9. Stir the mixture off the heat with a wooden spoon for 10-15 minutes, until it thickens significantly.
  10. Pour the caramel over the cooled shortbread and spread evenly. Put in the fridge to cool.
  11. Once cooled, begin the chocolate layer. Melt your chocolate (I used the microwave) and spread it over the cooled caramel layer. Again, put in the fridge and leave to cool.
  12. Finally, once everything is cool, remove it all from the tin and slice it into squares. Let it warm to room temperature before cutting if you like – this helps the chocolate on top not crack under the pressure of the knife.

19 thoughts on “Vegan Millionaire’s Shortbread

  1. becca

    I’m so glad I came across this recipe. Just yesterday I was thinking of what I could bake for the weekend but I dismissed the idea of caramel shortbread thinking it would be too hard to replicate with only vegan ingredients – and then I find this! Thank you for posting this as I’ll defo be trying them out as soon as I get to the shops! (Bonus for living in the UK too haha!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Looks delicious! I’ve made vegan caramel shortbread twice, with varying degrees of success – once using the kind of solidified creamy stuff from a can of coconut milk, and once using vegan condensed milk that I picked up at a vegan fair. Both times I got my quantities wrong, so the caramel was too gooey and runny. They were delicious, but incapable of setting properly! Yours looks much better. My mum said there was a recipe for vegan caramel shortbread in this month’s Good Food magazine – it must be going mainstream!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello I ended up with a hard candy rather than chewy one. I think I might have gone wrong with one of your steps. Id be really grateful if you could confirm if at step 9 one should mix caramel mix away from heat or return the pan to the heat and than mix? I wasn’t sure and did the latter.

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    1. Hi, I’m sorry for the confusion – I’ll edit the post to make it more clear! You should keep it off the heat once you’ve taken it off, otherwise the temperature rises too high and you get toffee/hard candy!

      Liked by 1 person

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    1. Hi, I’m sorry the shortbread wasn’t to your liking! If it tasted like flour it might have been underbaked a little. I’m not sure what could have caused it to be grainy – perhaps using caster sugar would help?

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  6. Nz

    Hi Emma.
    Absolutely taste like regular caramel square nobody even notice its VEGAN!
    I made these in 8×8 tin and come out perfectly. Next time I might need to double the recipe for shortbread coz I really like the texture and a bit of it’s crunchy bite 😉
    And would love to try to make this gluten free too-will let you know the updates.
    And it’s freezer friendly too-for cup of tea on a rainy days 😉
    Happy days.
    Have tried millions of caramel square but almost all or them used dates/tahini/coconut milk which don’t have a ‘characteristic’ of caramel square at all! You are a legend, Emma!
    Thanks so much!

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  7. sarahstubsloth

    I made this yesterday for my best friends’ birthday (they’re twins) and it worked so well! Thank you for such a brilliant recipe:) I usually just adapt the old recipes I used to use as I find all the goji berries and flax seed of vegan recipes a bit annoying, but your recipe was perfect! I had all the ingredients already and it was just as simple as the millionaires recipe I used to make. The caramel worked very well – but you have to keep at the heating as my thermometer started to level out at 103 degrees – and definitely take the advice of using a large pan! I would probably use less caramel in the future (and there will definitely be future baking of these) but that’s just because I don’t really like caramel… like I said these aren’t for meXD I also added in a ganache layer just by melting a bar of chocolate with some coconut milk (left over from a curry), almond butter and almond yoghurt and this was really nice in them. Your leaving till warm advice is also golden – it took me a lot of cracking before I paid attention to it though!
    All in all, I would 100% recommend this recipe for a straight forward and successful batch of millionaires shortbread. And I’m now going to have fun looking through all your recipedXD THANK YOU!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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