Vegan millionaire’s shortbread
I find normal millionaire’s shortbread too cloying and sweet. This version, which uses the sweetness of dates and has seeds and nuts for added crunch, is much more my thing. I use Doves Farm gluten-free flour, which gives the best texture for most gluten-free baking – and I have tried them all.
For the base
150g gluten-free porridge oats
100g gluten-free flour
½ tsp cornflour
3 medjool dates, pitted
200g vegan butter
For the caramel
350g medjool dates, pitted
125ml almond milk
150g coconut oil
1 pinch salt
For the topping
250g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1 tbsp coconut oil
30g dried sour cherries or dried cranberries
50g roughly chopped nuts (almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans)
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Flaky sea salt
Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/gas 4 and grease and line a 20cm x 20cm square baking tin with greaseproof paper. Start by making the base: blitz the oats in a food processor until you have a fine, scruffy powder. Add the remaining base ingredients, and blitz in stages until the dough just comes together into a ball. Press the dough into the tin in an even layer, then bake for 15-20 minutes, until pale golden. Leave to cool in the tin.
Put the dates, milk and oil in a saucepan and bring to a simmer for a few minutes, until the dates start to soften, then cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Once cooled, add to the same food processor (no need to wash) and blitz to a thick caramel. Add a pinch of salt.
Put the chocolate and coconut oil in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water. Stir occasionally and take off the heat just before it melts – the chocolate will finish melting in the residual heat. Stir in the sour cherries/cranberries and nuts, reserving a few for the top.
Next, dollop the caramel on to the cooled shortbread: one in the middle and four around the edges. Using a knife, spread into an even layer, then pour over the nutty chocolate, smoothing with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle the top with the remaining nuts, sesame seeds and some flaky sea salt, then put in the fridge for a couple of hours until set, then cut into squares.
IMAGE: Emma Lee for The Guardian