This weekend has been a brilliant little getaway in the Cotswolds with friends, one of whom is Lactose, Gluten and Soy intolerant, which led to this recipe for Vegan and Gluten-Free Millionaire's Shortbread.
Credit where credit is due, this takes inspiration from an original recipe from BBC Good Food but I think it's much improved with a proper chocolate topping, crunchy baked base and slightly sweeter fudgey filling.
It includes oats which some coeliacs can't eat (often made in similar factories to wheat products) so be sure to check if you're baking these for someone who's extremely sensitive to gluten; you can always replace them with more nuts! Also check your chocolate is dairy free, most 70% and over chocolates should be!
A few last minute spots are still available this Friday 14th July on my pâtisserie course in Yorkshire (click here for details)! As always I love hearing from you on twitter and instagram @cakesmyth x
Ingredients - makes 25 squares
For the base
110g unsalted cashew nuts (cheapest often in bulk in the international foods aisle)
40g macadamia nuts
50g rolled oats
4 pitted medjool dates
40g coconut oil, melted (again, cheapest in international foods aisle)
For the date caramel
350g pitted medjool dates
120ml almond milk (I prefer the original, slightly sweet variety)
30ml maple syrup
pinch of salt
150g coconut oil
1tsp vanilla extract
For the topping
140g good quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher)
20cm square baking tin, food processor
For the base
Preheat the oven to 200 C / fan 180 C and line your tin with silicone paper or non-stick parchment.
Add the cashews, macadamia nuts, rolled oats and 4 dates to a food processor and blitz together until crumb-like. Gradually add the melted coconut oil and blitz until it forms sticky clumps and feels like a dough. Press this into the bottom of the tin and flatten firmly with your palm or a spatula
Bake in the middle shelf of the oven for 10-15 minutes until the top is golden brown, keep a close eye on the edges as these can burn easily. Leave to cool on a wire rack in the tin.
For the filling
Add the dates, almond milk, maple syrup, salt, coconut oil and vanilla extract to a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Gently simmer for a few minutes until the dates are softened.
Transfer into the food processor and blitz until it's a very smooth paste. Pour onto the cooled nutty base and level with an offset palette knife or spatula. Leave to cool at room temperature whilst you make the topping.
For the topping
Finely chop all the chocolate and melt 3/4 of it in a bowl over slightly simmering water until it's just melted. Remove from the heat then add the remaining 1/4 of the chocolate. This will help form the right kind of crystals to give your chocolate a nice snap and stay shiny (a cheat's version of proper tempering).
Keep stirring the chocolate as it cools until it has slightly thickened. Spread over the date caramel and leave to set at room temperature.
Slightly score the top of the chocolate once its no longer liquid: this will mark out the individual squares and will help stop the chocolate from shattering later on.
Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours before cutting into squares when totally set. Enjoy!