Caramel, peanut butter, chocolate and shortbread are the building blocks for a cheat-day treat, but Desiree Nielsen’s take on this dessert combo comes with no dairy, grain or gluten strings attached. Neilsen’s bars have the same rich flavours and layers of the classic Millionaire Bars, but she’s made her version vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and grain-free. They’re also low FODMAP, meaning the ingredients can be beneficial to some people with digestive disorders.
Nielsen’s Good for Your Gut: A Plant-Based Digestive Health Guide and Nourishing Recipes for Living Well is filled with recipes that are designed to satisfy and soothe even the most irritable stomachs. These dessert bars are guaranteed to please both your tastebuds and digestive system.
Chocolate and Peanut Butter Caramel Shortbread Bars
- 2 cups almond flour
- ½ cup refined coconut oil
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 cup natural peanut butter
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup refined coconut oil melted
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- ¾ cup dairy-free dark chocolate chips at least 70% cocoa
- 1 tbsp coconut oil optional
- flaky sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°F). Lightly grease the bottom and sides of an 8-inch (2 L) square baking pan with coconut oil. Cut a length of parchment paper long enough to line the bottom of the pan with extra hanging over the sides.
- Make the shortbread base: In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt. Evenly press the mixture into the baking pan and lightly prick the base all over with a fork. Bake until the edges start to firm up and turn golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes while you prepare the caramel layer.
- Make the caramel layer: In a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt. Spread the caramel mixture over the shortbread base, then place the baking pan in the fridge while you prepare the chocolate layer.
- Make the chocolate layer: In a small pot, bring 2 inches (5 cm) of water to a simmer over medium heat. Stir the chocolate chips with the coconut oil in a small heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over the simmering water. Ensure that the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water.
- Gently and continuously stir until the chocolate and coconut oil are melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and let sit for a few minutes to thicken slightly. Pour the melted chocolate mixture over the caramel layer. Sprinkle some flaky sea salt over the chocolate, if using. Place the pan in the fridge until firm, about 30 minutes.
- Remove from the pan using the parchment paper overhang. Cut into bars. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.