Prep Time 15'PT15M
Total Time 75'PT75M
A classic millionaire shortbread is perhaps one of our favourite teatime snacks of all time. The original features a heady trio of butter-laden biscuit, sugary caramel and chocolate. Though delicious, it’s perhaps not an everyday treat. Luckily, with our low-calorie, nutrient-dense version, you can enjoy a healthy millionaire shortbread whenever you like!
For us, the millionaire shortbread is the ultimate expression of mouthwatering indulgence.
In our youth, it came accompanied with a cup of strong tea. In polite company, or at a tea room, it would be eaten delicately, with a slim, silver fork. At home, it was gobbled delightedly from the paper bag, the remaining caramel licked off sticky fingers.
The textural combination of crunchy biscuit, smooth caramel and fudgy dark chocolate is the key to this classic bake. So, in creating our healthy millionaire shortbread, we knew we had to preserve this magical triad at all costs.
We are also of the camp that believes that a millionaire shortbread should be comfortably 50% caramel; another criterion which we have happily preserved here.
The biscuit layer
A traditional shortbread is made with oodles of butter which - as well as making it off-limits to those of us following a vegan diet - supplies plenty of unhealthy saturated fat. Unfortunately, butter is also what creates the lovely crumbly texture. How to keep that, without the butter?
The answer: a no-bake biscuit flecked with little chunks of raw almond and coconut, to provide crunch and crumble.
Of course, we need enough structure to bind the mixture together, which is where the Organic Almond Flour comes in. It melds perfectly with the nutty flavours of the base, while building enough solidity for the shortbread to hold its shape.
The mixture is quite crumbly, so do be sure to press it down firmly in the tin. If your spatula is not behaving, wet fingertips are good for this task.
Making date caramel
The day we discovered date caramel, a whole new world of baking opportunities opened up in front of our eyes.
It is, quite simply, delicious. And so simple! It’s astounding just how smooth it can be. When blending, settle for nothing less than perfection in terms of texture.
The dates themselves, of course, have a naturally rich toffee flavour, but they also add a complexity of flavour which is rarely present in traditional caramel. It’s that background hum of muscovado fruitiness which makes date caramel - dare we say it? - better than the real thing.
This recipe calls for a teaspoon of mesquite powder in the date caramel. If you haven’t heard of it before, mesquite here refers to a powder made from the seed pods of the mesquite plant.
It’s naturally sweet, and very versatile. You can use it as a flour, or as a natural sweetener. Many people compare the flavour to caramel, maple, or molasses, so one can see why it would work well here.
As well as offering a great, natural alternative to sugar, it’s low GI and is surprisingly high in protein and fibre. You can also find plenty of your essential minerals here; magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron and zinc.
How to use mesquite
It’s a great ingredient to have in the kitchen as it works beautifully in everything from cookies to cakes, smoothies to pancakes.
Mesquite does have a flavour of its own, so you do need to consider how you’ll balance it with the other ingredients in your recipe.
As always, if you’re sourcing mesquite powder for the first time, make sure it’s from a reputable, organic supplier and it’s raw, so you can make the most of those benefits.
Mesquite is still a relative newcomer on the health food scene, so if you’re unable to find it, lucuma powder makes a great substitute. The recipe will also work if you skip it altogether.
How to serve
You could eat these healthy millionaire’s shortbreads in the dainty tearoom style, complete with silver fork and china cup.
However, we like them best piled high on a plate on the coffee table, where friends can dig in, catching crumbs in their cupped hands as we set the world to rights.
Just don’t expect your recipe to stay a closely guarded secret for long!Baking