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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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
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
Preheat the Oven to 170C/340F
- First make the shortbread. In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, then add the vanilla.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- Next, make the caramel. In a large saucepan, add all the caramel ingredients except the salt and vanilla.
- Put the saucepan over a low heat and allow the sugars to dissolve and the butter to melt.
- 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)
- When the mixture reaches temperature, remove it from the heat and quickly add the vanilla and salt. Stir.
- Stir the mixture off the heat with a wooden spoon for 10-15 minutes, until it thickens significantly.
- Pour the caramel over the cooled shortbread and spread evenly. Put in the fridge to cool.
- 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.
- 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.