This rich and decadent Vegan Millionaire's Shortbread is easy to make and incredibly more-ish! 'Buttery' shortbread, gooey salted caramel and crisp dark chocolate - a British baking classic.
Look away now if you're on a diet.... this millionaire's shortbread is that dangerous combination of irresistibly more-ish and deliciously sweet.
This tempting treat would be ideal for a vegan afternoon tea, special picnic or buffet, or just a really special afternoon snack with a cup of tea!
I've always assumed that millionaire's shortbread would be fairly tricky to make - getting the caramel to the right consistency, making the chocolate top nice and smooth, the shortbread rich and crumbly, slicing it neatly so they look super-professional.
But after a few experiments in recipe testing I've found they are actually really quite straightforward. They do need to cool or set after you've made each of the three layers, so you can't whip them up in a hurry, but the hands-on cooking time is actually not very long.
For the shortbread base I used my trusty Vegan Shortbread recipe - the addition of a little rice flour gives it such a knockout texture, it is really worth getting hold of some if you can.
📝 What you need
- Vegan 'butter' / block margarine (I like Flora Plant Butter or Naturli Block)
- Caster sugar
- Plain flour
- Rice flour
- Golden syrup
- Vegan condensed milk (I used this one from Carnation which is available in larger supermarkets, but I've heard good things about this coconut-based one from Nature's Charm too)
- Dark chocolate (check it is vegan - I used this one from Dr Oetker - also widely available in supermarkets)
- Oil (flavourless - rapeseed or sunflower are ideal)
There are a few bits of equipment that you will need for this millionaire's shortbread:
This 20cm square loose-based tin by Lakeland would be ideal and easy to get the shortbread out of. I have quite a few Lakeland cake tins and they are sturdy and very durable. You will see from the photos that I used my nifty adjustable cake tin which is so handy for making cakes and traybakes of all sorts and sizes.
Food mixer or electric hand mixer
Whilst you can make the shortbread base by hand, a bit of electrical intervention does make it much easier! A good hand whisk like this one from Morphy Richards *at under £13 will definitely do the job, and will be useful for so many other vegan baking recipes too.
Or if you're in the market for a full-scale food mixer, you can't go wrong with a this KMix by Kenwood which is £289 and worth every penny – I’ve had mine for over 10 years now and it is really good quality.
Large, wide saucepan
Do make your caramel in as wide a saucepan as you can - it will cook more quickly with a larger surface area to bubble up over, and stands less chance of bubbling over and making a huge mess (and a dangerous one at that).
👩🏽🍳 Topping variations
I love making this millionaire's shortbread with all sorts of different flavours and textures stirred through the caramel or sprinkled over and set into the chocolate. Here are a few of my favourites:
- Snickers variation Roughly chop a small bag of salted peanuts and stir half through the caramel before pouring it into the tin. Omit the salt from the caramel in the recipe as the peanuts will be salty enough. Sprinkle the remaining peanuts over the chocolate as soon as you have levelled it and leave to set.
- Pretzel and pecan variation Roughly chop a handful of pecans and add to the caramel just before pouring into the tin. Place pretzels onto the chocolate then scatter over more chopped pecans and leave to set.
- White chocolate swirl Melt vegan white chocolate (I like Vego, or Sainsbury's do white chocolate chips) in a separate bowl to the dark chocolate. Pour the dark chocolate into the tin and level, then pour the white chocolate in thin lines over the top. Use a cocktail stick to make swirls then leave to set.
⏰ How long will it keep?
I really recommend keeping your millionaire's shortbread out of the fridge - at room temperature or in an airtight tin or container. It will keep for at least a week this way and still be totally delicious.
If you keep it in the fridge the caramel layer will become too firm and the dark chocolate will become dull with a white 'bloom'. If you do want to store it in the fridge, make sure you get it out for two hours or more before serving so it can get back up to room temperature.
Vegan Millionaire's Shortbread
For the shortbread base:
- 145 g vegan 'butter' / block margarine (I like Flora Plant Butter or Naturli Block)
- 70 g caster sugar
- 80 g rice flour
- pinch salt
- 145 g plain flour
For the caramel layer:
- 160 g vegan 'butter' / block margarine
- 160 g caster sugar
- 3.5 tablespoon golden syrup
- 370 g vegan condensed milk
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the chocolate topping:
- 200 g dark chocolate (check it is vegan)
- 1 teaspoon oil (flavourless - rapeseed or sunflower are ideal)
To make the shortbread layer:
- Preheat the oven to 160°C / 320°F / Gas Mark 3.
- Line a baking tin 20cm x 20cm square (or equivalent dimensions) with baking parchment or greaseproof paper.
- In a food mixer (or large bowl with electric whisk) beat together the vegan butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Add the rice flour and salt and beat again.
- Finally add the plain flour and stir gently until a soft dough is formed.
- Tip the dough into the prepared tin then press it into the corners and flatten out until it is as even as possible.
- Prick all over with a fork then put into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until just starting to turn golden brown. Don't worry if it is still a little soft - it will firm up as it cools.
To make the caramel layer:
- Melt the vegan butter and caster sugar gently in a large, wide saucepan.
- When the sugar has completely dissolved, add the golden syrup, vegan condensed milk and salt. Turn up the heat and bring to a rolling simmer, then cook for 10-15 minutes until the caramel has thickened. (It will set as it cools so you don't need it to be very thick at this stage). Stir regularly and adjust heat as required to make sure it doesn't bubble over.
- When the caramel is ready, leave it to cool a little for 2-3 minutes, then pour over the cooled shortbread layer and leave to set. This may take an hour or two - you can put it in the fridge to speed this up if you need to.
To make the chocolate layer:
- Break the chocolate into squares in a microwave-safe jug or bowl and add the oil. Heat on full power for 1 minute, stir, then continue to heat for 15 second intervals until fully melted.
- When the caramel layer is fully cooled and set, pour the chocolate over the top. Use a knife or spatula to spread it all the way to the edges and corners, and then bash the tin down a few times on your work surface to completely level the chocolate.
- Leave the chocolate to set at room temperature - if you put it in the fridge it will lose its sheen and develop a white 'bloom' on the surface. This doesn't affect it's texture or taste but doesn't look as impressive! As soon as the chocolate has just about set, slice through the chocolate layer with a sharp knife. (If it is very cool and hard when you slice the chocolate it can crack easily). Leave it to set fully (this will take at least a few hours, ideally overnight), then slice fully into squares and serve.
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