Unbelievably Vegan Millionaire Shortbread (Gluten Free!)
These buttery, soft, and decadently rich vegan millionaire shortbread bars are absolute perfection. Layers of secretly gluten free and vegan shortbread with thick chewy caramel and rich chocolate make this the best millionaire shortbread around, vegan or not!
Why is it called millionaire shortbread?
If you’ve ever wondered why the delicious squares of shortbread cookie, gooey caramel and chocolate are called millionaire shortbread, here’s why! Millionaire shortbread (or millionaire’s shortbread, millionaire bars, or billionaire shortbread) was said to have become popular in Australia in the 1970’s, however, its origins could have been from Scotland originally.
The millionaire shortbread name is said to have been given because the bars are so rich in flavor!
Why you only need this vegan millionaire shortbread recipe:
These vegan millionaire shortbread bars are an absolute dream. It’s no wonder they’re called millionaires- these bars are so incredibly rich and decadent, you’ll be speechless that they’re entirely dairy free, vegan, contain no eggs, and secretly gluten free as well!
Trust me, you won’t believe these bars are anything other than the classic chewy caramel squares with shortbread cookie and chocolate. These vegan millionaire bars perfectly set (no runny caramel!) and the flavor is unbelievable.
Buttery, soft, sweet, and absolutely delicious. The perfect cookie bars for any holiday table (Christmas, Thanksgiving, cookie exchanges!) or even Easter brunch, Mother’s Day and more!
There’s even two ways to make the vegan caramel: one for beginner caramel makers, and the other for the more advanced vegan bakers! Either way, you’ll just love these vegan millionaire bars!
Simple gluten free ingredients:
For this vegan millionaire shortbread recipe, you’ll need the following *completely gluten free* and simple ingredients:
- Oat flour: This recipe will work well with all purpose flour if you don’t need a gluten freemillionaire shortbread recipe. However, I would not recommend swapping in almond flour nor coconut flour.
- Chickpea flour or Arrowroot starch: Either will work for binding the shortbread together. You could also swap in cornstarch (corn flour in other countries), if preferred.
- Vegan butter: This will be used for the shortbread, the caramel layer, and the chocolate layer. You could also swap in coconut oil if preferred. However, for best flavor results, I recommend using vegan butter; specifically Miyoko’s!
- Maple syrup: This will sweeten both the shortbread crust, and act as the corn syrup replacement in the caramel layer. Trust me, you really don’t need the corn syrup!
- Brown sugar: This is the sugar used to make the caramel layer. You could use coconut sugar, but the best results will be with brown sugar.
- Vegan sweetened condensed milk: This is either coconut sweetened condensed milk or oat sweetened condensed milk. Either you can purchase in stores. You can also make your own vegan coconut condensed milk, but this is for the baking pros, as it takes some patience!
- Chocolate: I recommend my favorite vegan chocolate brand, Pascha Organics, for this!
- Vanilla extract: For flavoring!
Two ways to make vegan caramels:
One way is for the absolute beginner vegan baker (or regular baker!) and is super approachable and always successful. This version will yield a vegan millionaire shortbread recipe that tastes nearly identical to the classic version.
The other way is for the more experienced baker, especially one who’s familiar with making caramel or toffee. This version will yield an identical taste and texture to the classic millionaire bars recipe:
Easy vegan caramel filling:
This caramel consists of just vegan butter (or coconut oil), cashew butter, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.
This is from my vegan Twix bars.
To make this vegan caramel, you’ll simply blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pour onto your shortbread for the caramel layer.
It’s really that simple, and if you’re new to vegan baking, I highly recommend using this method, as your caramel squares will still taste absolutely amazing (and people will still be very impressed that these millionaire shortbread bars are both vegan and gluten free!).
Perfect vegan caramel filling:
If you want a vegan millionaire shortbread that really does taste just like the classic, and you’re up to mastering how to make a thick caramel filling, then you need to try the classic vegan caramel method.
This is a combination of vegan sweetened condensed milk (either coconut condensed milk or oat milk condensed milk), vegan butter, brown sugar, and vanilla extract.
The reason this is slightly more difficult is because this vegan caramel sauce requires patience and heating the caramel to the right temperature as well as knowing when it’s done.
Caramel will seem very thin at first, and quite honestly for about 3/4 of the process until the very end, when it starts to thicken and pull away from the sides of the saucepan. That’s why it’s a bit more difficult (and it takes about 40 minutes in total, vs 5 minutes!).
However, I think the results are absolutely worth it, so when I make these gluten free vegan millionaire shortbread for a dinner party or holiday, I’m always using the classic vegan caramel filling over the cashew butter one.
Overview: How to make vegan millionaire bars
For the full written instructions and ingredient measurements, see the bottom of this post in the recipe card. You can also hit the “jump to recipe” button at the top of this post! Here, we’ll go over a brief overview of the steps, along with providing visuals for a better understanding of the recipe.
Let’s make these delicious vegan millionaire shortbread bars!
- Start by making the shortbread:
I used a food processor to pulse all ingredients together into a dough, much like when making a pie crust. Then press the dough into the baking pan lined with parchment paper as an even layer, and bake until lightly golden. Once baked, you’ll remove the crust, and make the caramel layer.
- Next, make the vegan caramel sauce:
Whichever caramel sauce you’ll choose to make, you’ll pour the caramel (once ready) on top of the shortbread layer, and place the bars into the fridge to set for at least 2 hours.
- Finish with the chocolate layer:
Once the caramel layer is set and dose not wiggle at all (and feels very much like a soft caramel chewy candy), you can make the chocolate. Heat the chocolate, and stir in either the vegan butter or coconut oil. It’s not as thick as a chocolate ganache, but it is very similar. Then pour the chocolate over the chilled caramel. Allow the chocolate to set in the fridge for 30 minutes. I do not recommend placing the bars in the freezer during the chocolate part, as the chocolate will harden too much, and it will crack when you slice it.
- Slice and enjoy!
Once the chocolate is set, you can slice your vegan millionaire shortbread into bars, sprinkle with sea salt if desired and enjoy!
Should you keep millionaire shortbread in the fridge?
Once you’ve sliced into your vegan millionaire shortbread bars, you can leave them at room temperature for an hour or two, but it’s best to store them in the fridge within an airtight container.
These vegan millionaire shortbread bars will last for about 5 days in the fridge, or 3 months in the freezer.
You’re just going to absolutely love these amazing vegan millionaire shortbread bars!!
If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and a rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below. This helps others to find the recipes! As always, I absolutely love to see your beautiful creations on Instagram and Pinterest, so be sure to tag me there as well!Print
This easy and delicious Paleo vegan millionaires shortbread is incredibly rich and decadent, yet entirely dairy free, gluten free, grain free, and nut free! Filled with a coconut caramel sauce, it’s the perfect indulgence!
- 2 cups (250 g) oat flour or all purpose flour (if not gluten free)
- 1 cup (226 g) salted vegan butter or coconut oil, cold
- 1/3 cup (80 g) maple syrup
- 3 tbsp chickpea flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Caramel Layer: (or sub in this quick & easy vegan caramel sauce)
- 1 can (11.25 oz or 330 g) vegan coconut sweetened condensed milk (sub oat sweetened condensed milk if desired)
- 1 cup (226 g) vegan butter or coconut oil
- 1 cup (200 g) brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (60 g) maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups (250 g) vegan chocolate chips
- 3 tbsp vegan butter or coconut oil
- Sea salt for topping
- Prep: Measure out all ingredients before beginning. Line an 8×8 square baking pan with parchment paper on all sides and bottom of the pan. Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Make the shortbread first: Add all shortbread ingredients into a large food processor. Blitz the ingredients together until a thick dough forms. If you don’t have a food processor, start by creaming together the vegan butter and maple syrup with vanilla in a large bowl. Then fold in the flours to the mixture with a silicone spatula until a thick dough forms. Press the dough into the baking pan in an even layer and make sure the dough reaches the edges of the baking pan. If the dough is sticky, use the silicone spatula or chill the dough for 10-15 minutes in the fridge then spread again.
- Bake the shortbread layer: Poke a few holes into the shortbread, and place the baking pan into the oven to bake for 15-17 minutes, or until the shortbread is lightly golden. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Make the vegan caramel sauce: If you’re planning on making the quick & easy vegan caramel sauce, please follow these directions for the caramel, then proceed to the next step. Otherwise make this classic vegan caramel here. In a medium sauce pan, add in the coconut condensed milk, vegan butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup. Heat on medium-high, and continue to stir until it boils, about 5-7 minutes. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low, making sure that the mixture is still simmering (it’s okay if it bubbles a bit more). Stir in the vanilla extract, then continue to stir the caramel occasionally (every few minutes to 5 minutes) for the next 30-40 minutes. As you cook the caramel, it will thicken, but at first it will be very liquify-and soupy. When it’s ready, it will start to more easily pull away from the sides of the sauce pan without pouring back in, and it will feel thicker to stir as well.
- Pour the caramel sauce onto the shortbread layer: Pour the prepared caramel sauce onto your shortbread layer, making sure that the caramel reached the edges of the pan and creates an even layer. Then place the shortbread into the fridge to set for 2 hours. To speed up the process, you can place the shortbread bars into the freezer after an hour in the fridge. Chill them in the freezer for only 30 minutes.
- Make the chocolate: Once the caramel layer is set (it should not wiggle and it will feel like a caramel chew if pressed- but keep it in the fridge as you make the chocolate layer), make the chocolate layer. Melt the chocolate until liquid and hot, then stir in the vegan butter until melted. Then allow the mixture to cool for 10 minutes.
- Finish the millionaire shortbread: Remove the caramel layer from the fridge, and pour the chocolate layer on top of the caramel. Spread the chocolate to reach the edges of the pan. Then place the millionaire shortbread back into the fridge to set for 30 minutes.
- Slice and serve! Once set, slice the millionaire shortbread into 16-32 bars, and sprinkle with sea salt if desired. Serve and enjoy! You can keep these bars out at room temperature for up to 1 hour. Then keep them in the fridge for best storage.
Gluten free: These vegan millionaire shortbread bars are already naturally gluten free. However, if you don’t need gluten free, swap in all purpose flour.
Caramel: There are two methods that I describe for the caramel. Please read the post for all tips and tricks.
- Serving Size: 1 bar
- Calories: 334
- Sugar: 30.6 g
- Sodium: 22.8 mg
- Fat: 15 g
- Carbohydrates: 38.7 g
- Protein: 1.5 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: vegan millionaire shortbread, vegan millionaire bars, paleo millionaire shortbread, paleo millionaire bars