Vegan Almond Millionaire Bars
This is a warning: today, it gets sticky, messy, and forbidden tasty. Millionaire's shortbread are sweet chocolate bars with a base of shortcrust pastry, a layer of chewy caramel in the middle, and a blanket made of melted chocolate on top. The name probably derived from the fact that these bars are so rich – and we can't argue against that. The preparation takes a bit of time and basic baking skills, but you'll also manage these treats as a beginner.
The crust: As always when working with shortcrust pastry, it's important to work quickly and to use cold ingredients. Make sure to remove the vegan butter from the fridge only right before using it and don't knead the dough with your warm hands for a long time. Before transferring the dough in the baking dish, make sure to line it with parchment paper. An overhang is totally fine and even wanted for this recipe as the parchment paper will make it easier for you to remove the bars from the baking dish later. Pricking the dough with a fork before baking ensures that no air bubbles form and that the crust will stay flat.
The caramel: I really like this variant with almond butter as it provides the caramel with a special, nutty flavor, but you can also prepare our basic recipe for vegan caramel without almonds and almond butter.
Cutting: Crisp shortcrust pastry meets chewy caramel and a firm chocolate layer – this combination makes it quite difficult to cut the bars cleanly. But right from the start, I want to say that even the roughest chunks of these bars will be irresistibly tasty, so don't worry. The longer the chocolate bars stay in the fridge, the chewier the caramel becomes (it won't be really firm), but also the firmer the chocolate layer will be. Here's a trick to avoid that the chocolate layer will just break apart: use a serrated knife and briefly run it under hot water, then dry the knife. The warm knife will almost melt its way through the chocolate layer. Don't just push down the knife, but actually cut with it. In addition, you could also pre-cut the chocolate layer at the moment when's it's not completely firm yet.
Vegan Almond Millionaire Bars
For the dough
- 150 g (1.25 cup) flour
- 75 g (0.33 cup) sugar
- 0.5 tsp salt
- 125 g (1 stick) vegan butter (cold)
For the caramel layer
- 250 g (1.25 cups) coconut sugar
- 200 ml (0.75 cups) coconut milk
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 100 g (0.5 cups) almond butter
- 100 g (3.5 oz) almonds
For the chocolate layer
- 200 g (7 oz) dark chocolate
- flaky sea salt
We start with the crust of the chocolate bars. Mix flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add cold vegan butter in flakes and use your hands or a fork to carefully mix it into the flour mixture until a crumbly dough forms.
Prepare a baking dish with parchment paper and make sure that at least two sides have overhang. Later, this will make it way easier to remove the bars from the dish. Transfer the crumbly dough into the baking dish and press it flat into an evenly thick layer. Pierce several times with a fork, then refrigerate the whole baking dish for approx. 15 minutes. In the meantime, preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Bake the crust for approx. 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let the crust cool down completely inside the baking dish.
In the meantime, prepare the caramel layer. Add coconut sugar, coconut milk, salt, vanilla extract, and almond butter to a saucepan. Let the mixture melt over medium heat while stirring it regularly to combine. As soon as the mixture is bubbly, it will be liquid. Let the mixture simmer over low heat for approx. 10 minutes to get creamy. Remove from heat and let the caramel cool down which will also thicken it even further.
Chop almonds and stir them into the caramel. Spread the caramel on top of the baked and cooled crust and smooth it out. Refrigerate for approx. 30 minutes, or until the caramel is firming up even more.
Chop dark chocolate and melt in a heatproof bowl over a pot over simmering water. Remove from heat and cool down for approx. 5 minutes. Pour over the caramel layer and smooth out. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and refrigerate the bars one more time until the chocolate layer is set.
For serving, cut millionaire bars in square pieces. Yes, this is a sticky affair, but it's SO delicious. If helps to run a serrated knife under hot water, then dry it before cutting the pieces as this will kind of melt the chocolate to get a clean cut. And even if the bars turn out to be messy, they will be delicious no matter what.