Vegan Hazelnut Millionaires Shortbread – a toasted hazelnut shortbread is topped with a chewy, silky caramel, and finished off with a smooth layer of roasted hazelnuts and chocolate. This is a twist on the classic bakery treat, which is sure to become a favourite!
This recipe has been made in collaboration with Koro. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. (For more information along with affiliated links, check out my disclosure policy.)
Hi everyone! I hope you are all well and staying safe. I’ve been at home, recovering from a 2 week bout of Covid19. Thankfully, I am fighting fit again, back in the kitchen baking up some delicious treats for you all. Oh how i’ve missed it!
While I was ill and had a lot of spare time, I wrote down a list of recipes which I was super eager to try when I got better. I wrote down ‘a millionaires shortbread, with a twist’ and just had to make them. I wrote ‘with a twist’ as I knew I wanted to make shortbread, but didn’t know what the new flavour could be, until a very exciting package from Koro arrived – yay!
Hazelnut is simple gorgeous! I think my love of hazelnut came from the amount of hazelnut chocolate spread I used to eat growing up – haha! I’ve really grown to love hazelnut as a flavour.
What makes these Vegan Hazelnut Millionaires Shortbread amazing?
For starters, these are some of the nicest caramel bars I’ve ever eaten! The flavour, texture and EVERYTHING about them is just a ‘wow’ factor.
The shortbread is perfectly buttery a hint of roasted hazelnuts, the caramel is silky smooth and perfectly chewy, and to finish them off, the chocolate on top has hazelnut butter swirled into it, which completes these bars! You’ll fall in love with this recipe. It’s super easy, and I’ll tell you all about how to make them below, keep reading.
How to make Vegan Hazelnut Millionaires Shortbread?
I roasted hazelnuts of this shortbread base, which gives this a super toasty, extra delicious flavour. The shortbread is super simple and you don’t even need a stand mixer to make it, it can be made just as good with a bowl, a spatula and your hands!
I roasted some hazelnuts and allowed them to cool. Then creamed the butter along with the sugar until smooth, then added in some flour, salt and the ground up hazelnuts. The shortbread base gets baked until it it’s light and golden in colour, then once it is cool.. it’s ready for the caramel- yay!
The secret to the best vegan caramel!
The caramel filling is perfectly sweet, thick and chewy, and has a really nice silkiness to it. I added vegan condensed milk, caster sugar, golden syrup, butter into a saucepan and allowed it to bubble and cook. To give the caramel even more delicious flavour, I added in some hazelnut butter from Koro. When I say this is the tastiest nut butter in the world, trust me! I could drink this stuff, it tastes absolutely incredible! Koro really know what they’re doing when they made this!
Make sure to check out Koro! They have some incredible vegan products on their site including a wide range of nut butters, spreads, jams / conserves, also nuts, seeds and cocoa butter!
I added in a few tablespoons of the hazelnut butter into the caramel and allowed everything to melt and cook together until a thick caramel formed.
The caramel get’s poured directly onto the golden shortbread base. You’ll want to work quickly with the caramel as it has a tendency to set quite fast. Once spread out, allow it to cool then pop it in to the fridge. You’ll want to leave the tin in the fridge for at least 4-6 hours or until the caramel has completely set, otherwise you risk a gooey mess, and no-one wants that!
I finished the slab off with a thick layer of dairy-free ‘milk’ chocolate, which I added a fun design by drizzling more hazelnut butter over the chocolate and swirled it around using a tooth pick. This is totally optional but makes the slices look even more delicious and irresistible. It also makes them look super fancy.
Steps for making Vegan Hazelnut Millionaires Shortbread bars:
Shortbread base: A lightly, nutty shortbread base is made, then baked and allowed to cool for the next layer of caramel.
Caramel: Hazelnut caramel is a delicious and fun twist on the classic. It makes such a different adding in some hazelnut butter. You gotta try it. It’s made in a saucepan over the hob then poured over the shortbread base and left to set until cool. You don’t even need a candy thermometer for this!
Chopped hazelnuts: When the caramel is wet, sprinkle over some chopped hazelnuts. This will add a tasty crunch to these bars.
Chocolate: Millionaires bars have a layer of chocolate on-top, and these bars have vegan ‘milk’ chocolate. Melt white and dark chocolate together and pour over the caramel. It looks gorgeous and tastes sublime!
Hazelnut drizzle: To make these bars extra fancy, drizzle over hazelnut butter. Swirl these together with a tooth pick. You can swirl as much as you like, it’s so fun to make!
Chill, slice and serve: Heat up a very sharp knife in some warm water, wipe off any excess water then slice the bars into servings. They store for around 1-2 weeks in the fridge in a sealed container.
Looking for more caramel recipes, check these out:
Preheat the oven to 160℃ fan, and line a 8 x 8 inch square / loose base tin with grease proof paper. Allow the paper to hang over the edges of the tin, this makes it easier for removing the bars when ready.
Place 60g hazelnuts onto a baking tray and place them into the oven. Bake these until they are slightly toasted then remove from the oven and allow to cool. These hazelnuts will go into the base, caramel and for decoration.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, add in the softened dairy-free butter and sugar. Cream together until pale and fluffy. You can do this with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or by hand with a wooden spoon, it will just take a little longer.
Add in the flour, hazelnuts and salt. Stir to combine.
Mix everything together until it starts to come together.
Tip the clumpy dough onto a clean worktop and bring it together until it forms a smooth dough.
Firmly press the mixture into the base of the lined tin, trying to get it as even/flat as possible. Tip: As the dough is sticky, coat your fingers in some plain flour before pressing it into the tin to prevent sticking.
Place into the middle of the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until lightly golden on top.
Remove from the oven and set aside to cool while you make the caramel.
Place all of the caramel ingredients (apart of the chopped hazelnuts) into a medium / large saucepan. Place the pan on the hob over a low heat.
Firstly, you’ll see the butter melt into everything. Give it a little stir. Keep it on a low, steady boil. This will take approximately 20 minutes. You’ll want to stir this constantly with a whisk to prevent the caramel sticking and burning on the pan. After 20 minutes, the caramel will turn very thick. Be patient, this does take a while, but it’s worth the wait! Don’t over cook the caramel or you will end up with a very tough, toffee like caramel. You want the soft ball stage. check to see if the caramel is ready by dropping some in some ice cold water. If it sets immediately into a soft caramel, it’s ready.
Pour the thick caramel quickly on top / over the base. Use an off-set spatula to quickly spread out the caramel, making sure it’s even. This caramel will set quickly so you want to be fast when pouring and spreading.
Optional step- sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts over the caramel. Make sure to do this when the caramel is still wet so they stick.
Set aside to cool for 30 minutes, then transfer into the fridge for an hour until fully set. Tip: You can leave it in the fridge overnight, then allow it to come to room temperature.
Method (chocolate swirl)
Fill a small saucepan 1/4 full with water, add a bowl on top of the pan creating a bain-marie, place onto the hob over low/ medium heat. Add both dairy-free chocolates into the bowl and allow to melt. Once melted, remove the bowl from the heat.
Pour the melted chocolate over the set caramel, and tilt the pan to evenly coat. Try to get it as smooth as possible. Tap the tin on the work top a few times to flatten the chocolate and to remove any unwanted air bubbles.
While the chocolate is still wet, drizzle some hazelnut butter over the chocolate and swirl it around using a tooth pick. Top with more chopped hazelnuts (optional).
Place into the fridge for an hour to set the chocolate.
Remove from the pan by using the grease proof paper slings, cut into 10-12 slices using a sharp knife, wiping between each.
Tip: Turn the millionaires upside down before cutting. As the base is soft and the caramel & chocolate is hard, this prevents the base from squishing.
Tip: To help cut the bars neatly, heat up the knife before cutting in a bowl full of hot water or use a kitchen blow torch to gently heat the knife. Be very careful when doing this.
To store: Keep these bars stored in a sealed container in the fridge. Allow to come to room temperature before enjoying. Best eaten 2-4 days of making.
What vegan butter to use? My favourite vegan / dairy-free block butter alternatives are ‘Naturli Vegan Block’ or Flora Plant Based Block Butter Alternative (salted or unsalted). Alternatively, you can use dairy-free / vegan margarine for the caramel, it just won’t hold it’s shape as well as block butter.
What vegan condensed milk to use? My favourite vegan condensed milk is Natures charm Coconut Condensed Milk and Carnation Oat Condensed Milk.