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COCONUT PALM MILLIONAIRE SHORTBREADS - BAKED VERSION

DESSERT, GLUTEN FREE, SNACKS, SUGAR FREEdanielle copperman3 Comments

A few weeks ago I finally found the time to make a healthy version of a former addiction of mine - millionaire shortbreads. I used to eat one almost every day from the dinner ladies at school, and used to buy tubs of the mini ones from Sainsbury’s or Marks & Spencer’s. They were sharing tubs, but if no one else was around to help me out then there was no sharing to be done. Anyway, as such a big fan of theirs, I’d wanted to have a go at making these with a model mange tout twist for ages, but felt it was something that required proper time and effort. And I was right; making healthy versions of your favourite unhealthy addictions is possible, but it’s not effortless.

The image above was unexpectedly shocking to most of my followers on Instagram. The reaction it got was insane - people refused to believe their eyes. The words ‘healthy’ and ‘caramel’ just don’t go together in the same sentence. And something that looked so good and so goey and chocolatey and delicious, looked pretty out of place on my account among raw salads and smoothies. I worked hard on this recipe and have been perfecting it since i first made it - hence my delay in uploading the recipe. I made them twice in one week and once for a dinner event and they went down so well, with everyone. Even my flatmate who normally doesn’t like caramel (!?) liked these. My version of this infamous snack is even more flavoursome that the shop bought millionaire shortbreads i used to demolish. Looking back, the shortbread was always a little dry, crumbly, powdery and sickeningly sweet. The caramel was hit and miss and in most millionaire shortbreads i got from cafes or restaurants was too sparse and extremely dry. The chocolate tasted artificial and was also far too sweet considering the amount of caramel it sat atop. These millionaire shortbreads are intensely rich due to the darkness of the raw cacao. They are incredibly creamy due to the coconut milk in the caramel, and the base has a wonderful crunch with a simultaneous melt-in-the-mouth texture, due to the coconut oil. I took inspiration from raw dessert recipes that rely on freezing and chilling to set certain ingredients. I baked the base and boiled the caramel but once all the ingredients were layered together, i let the freezer do its thing. The base becomes even crunchier, the caramel becomes chewier and the chocolate is the perfect way to top it off, with a rich, creamy crunch. The added nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants and superfoods that come from the pure ingredients used in these shortbreads are what really makes them special. The coconut in the recipe has incredible health benefits from aiding digestion, regulating blood sugar levels and reducing inflammation in the gut. Cacao is one of the richest sources of the purest energy and contains nearly twice the amount of antioxidants found in red wine and three times that found in green tea! So, make these with guilt-free confidence and eat them as regularly as you feel necessary. They are full of essential vitamins and nutrients and very low in sugar - the content of which you can control to your personal needs/preferences. Enjoy with a green tea or as a midday snack or serve as a light dessert with homemade coconut or cashew cream and berries.

INGREDIENTS

For The Base:

1/2 Cup Coconut Oil, room temperature/soft
1/4 Cup Coconut Palm Sugar
1 Tablespoon Organic Vanilla Extract
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
2 Tablespoons Water
1 Cup Buckwheat Flour
Cacao Nibs, optional

For The Caramel:

2 Tins Coconut milk - using only the solid milk at the top of each tin
3/4 - 1 Cup Coconut Palm Sugar
2 Tablespoons Cashew Butter or Almond Butter
2 Tablespoons Cacao Butter, or Coconut Oil
2 Teaspoons Himalayan Pink Salt
1 Teaspoon Organic Vanilla Extract
2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds
-
4-5 Dates, blended with a little water into a homemade Date Paste - optional

For The Chocolate:

1/2 Cup Cacao Butter or Coconut Oil
4 Tablespoons Cacao Powder
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
2 Tablespoons Agave or Raw Honey

METHOD

Start by making the base. Preheat the oven to 170c. Whisk the oil with an electric whisk and add the sugar, vanilla, salt and cinnamon. Whisk together for 1-2 minutes, until the mixture becomes light and fluffy and everything is combined. Add the water - a little at a time - and whisk again. Now take a wooden spoon and add the flour to this mixture. Stir gently to incorporate the flour and when it becomes too dry, use your hands to knead it. (If the dough is too crumbly, add a little more water). Roll the dough into a ball and squash with your hands for 2 minutes to make sure it’s compact. The heat from your hands will make the oil work into the flour.
Now press the dough into a lined baking tray. Either grease the tray with coconut oil or line the tray with baking paper and grease that. Press the dough down with back of a spoon or your hands until it is fully compact in the tray (this will avoid crumbling). This took me about 2 minutes, so make sure you work at it otherwise your base may collapse.
Place in the preheated oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, until it begins to brown at the edges and on top. Remove from the oven when cooked and place in the fridge to cool whilst you make the caramel and the chocolate.

For the caramel, make the dates into a paste first, if you are using. Set aside and place the coconut palm sugar and coconut milk in a medium saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes before reducing the heat. Add the salt, vanilla, almond butter and chia seeds, whisking continuously. Lastly, add the coconut oil and the date paste and whisk vigorously to combine. It should start to thicken round about now. Simmer for 25 minutes, whisking every 5 minutes or so. After half an hour, pour into a heat proof bowl and place in the freezer. After 15 minutes, mix the caramel in order to avoid any of the coconut oil or cacao butter from separating. Then pour it onto the shortbread which should be perfectly cool now. Spread the caramel evenly over the base and again be sure to press it down with the back of a spoon to make it compact. Place in the freezer for about 15-20 minutes, whilst you make the chocolate.

For the chocolate, place a heatproof bowl over a saucepan filled with boiling water. Add to the bowl the cacao butter and stir with a whisk to encourage it to melt. Once it is more or less melted, add the cacao powder, salt and agave. Whisk until everything dissolves and combines and then remove the bowl carefully from the pan. Pour over the caramel layer and spread evenly, but do this quickly so as not to melt the caramel. Place it back in the freezer for 15 - 20 minutes so the chocolate hardens (the freezing won’t effect the shortbread). When the chocolate is set and the caramel seems tougher, remove from the freezer and store in the fridge until ready to serve. Slice into rectangles or smaller squares depending on how you want to serve them.

RAW MILLIONAIRE SHORTBREADS

For the Base

2 Cups Nuts of Choice - i like almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts
1 1/2 Cups Medjool Dates
3 Tablespoons Almond Butter or Cashew Butter
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
2 Tablespoons Ground Almonds
1 Tablespoons Maca

For the Caramel

2 Cups Soft Medjool Dates
8 Tablespoons Almond and/or Cashew Butter (can combine)
1/3 Cup Water
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
1 1/2 Tablespoons Tamari or Himalayan Pink Salt
2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds

For the Chocolate

100g Cacao Butter
6 Tablespoons Raw Cacao Powder
1 Tablespoon Agave
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt

METHOD
This is a much more straightforward variation and like more raw desserts, relies heavily on your blender and your freezer.
For the base, place the nuts in a food processor and blend for half a minute to make into a floury consistency. Next, add the dates, maca, coconut oil and almond butter and blend again, until sticky and almost smooth. Use a spatula to scrape the raw dough from the blender into a rectangular dish or tray. Press down firmly until compact and set in the freezer.
Rinse the blender and add all of the caramel ingredients, apart from the chia seeds. Blend until everything is smooth and add a little extra melted coconut oil if the mixture is too thick. When the mixture is smooth, scrape out and pour onto the base which should be setting nicely. Spread evenly and return to the freezer.
Lastly, place a heatproof bowl over a saucepan filled with boiling water. Add the cacao butter to the bowl and stir with a whisk to encourage it to melt. Once it is more or less melted, add the cacao powder, salt and agave. Whisk until everything has dissolved and then remove the bowl carefully from the pan. Pour over the caramel layer and spread evenly. Return to the freezer and leave for at least 1 hour. You can store them in the freezer too, as they will stay firm but won’t turn to ice. Since changing my diet i have never valued my freezer more!