Millionaire's shortbread is one of my favorite treats to enjoy with an afternoon cup of coffee, especially the unconventional combinations like toffee apple millionaires and peanut butter millionaires shortbread.
When I stumbled across a banoffee version on Pinterest from deliciousmagazine.co.uk, I knew that I had to make a vegan version! So here it is, layers of gluten-free shortbread, sliced creamy bananas, decadent peanut butter caramel, and a thick chunk of chocolate - heaven!
The original recipe used a caramel that was based on condensed milk, and instead of going down the condensed coconut milk route, I decided to make a nut butter caramel. That means there's no boiling and waiting for it to cook, it's just a matter of blending up the peanut butter with a few other ingredients and you have an instant caramel layer.
Here's what's to love about this recipe
- Eggless and dairy-free
- Easy to make: this recipe is suitable for cooks of all skill levels whether you’re an avid home baker or a beginner
- Gluten-free: there is no gluten in the ingredients of this traybake making it suitable for coeliacs and those who need to omit wheat or gluten as part of their dietary requirements.
- Perfect with a cuppa: These chocolate banoffee millionaire's shortbread is absolutely perfect with a cup of coffee or afternoon tea.
For the shortbread
- Gluten-free all-purpose flour: The best gluten-free flour to use will be made up of a blend of several flours such as rice flour, millet flour, tapioca starch, and xanthan gum. It will vary depending on what brand you use, but the most important thing is to go with a blend, not a single ingredient flour. If you'd like to take a crack at making your own, check out the recipe for homemade gluten-free all-purpose flour on crowdedkitchen.com. You can of course also use regular all-purpose flour if you don't need the recipe to be gluten-free.
- Ground almonds: Ground almonds or almond flour is used to make the shortbread along with the all-purpose flour at a ratio of 50:50.
- Vegan butter: Traditional shortbread uses a lot of butter and dairy. The base of this millionaire's shortbread comes together with plant-based butter and uses just a fraction of the butter you'll find in conventional recipes. You can also substitute the butter for solid coconut oil if preferred.
- Pure maple syrup: The liquid sweetener for the shortbread, you can also use agave syrup.
- You'll also need a pinch of sea salt.
For the filling and topping
- Bananas: You'll need ripe bananas, but not mushy discolored ones as they will need to hold their shape well when cut.
- Lemon juice: This stops the bananas from discoloring and increases their shelf life a little!
- Peanut butter: The main ingredient for the caramel layer. You can use any nut butter of your choice for this part, I find that the peanut butter works really well with chocolate and banana. Cashew butter, almond butter, or even sunflower butter would work well too!
- Coconut oil and canned full fat coconut milk: As well as creating a rich and creamy caramel, coconut milk and coconut oil solidify when chilled which helps the caramel to set and keep its shape when cut.
- Vanilla extract: This adds more flavor and depth to the caramel layer and pairs really well with the banana and peanut butter.
- Vegan chocolate: You can use vegan milk chocolate or dark chocolate depending on your taste.
How to make this millionaires traybake
The shortbread for this traybake could not be easier. There's no kneading or chilling required which makes it a super quick pastry to prepare. You'll simply chuck all of the ingredients into your food processor and let it do all the work. It'll just take a minute or so of blitzing and the ingredients will come together to form a shortbread dough.
Next, you'll press the shortbread into the base of an 8x8" pan lined with some parchment paper. I like to use the base of a flat bottomed glass to help smooth out the pastry and get a nice even layer.
Once the base is compact and even, use a fork to prick several holes into the shortbread before transferring it to an oven that's been preheated to 175°C (350°F).
Slice the bananas into coins about 1cm in height. Then transfer them to a shallow bowl with lemon juice in it. Coat all sides of the banana coins in the juice before laying them on a paper towel or kitchen towel. Gently blot off any excess moisture to make sure that they don't weep liquid into your perfectly baked shortbread crust.
Carefully arrange the banana coins on top of the shortbread in an even layer. Cut the coins to size for the edges if needed (see image below)
Peanut butter caramel
The caramel is super easy to make, just like the shortbread dough, all you need to do is add all of the ingredients to your food processor and blend until smooth. Once you have a silky smooth caramel consistency, carefully transfer the caramel to the baking tin on top of the banana slices. Use a spatula to spread it out evenly, be cautious not to press down too hard as you may dislodge the banana coins if you're too rough!
Next, it goes into the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours, although it works really well if you want to leave it set in there overnight.
Melt the chocolate over a double boiler and use a spatula to spread it over the caramel in an even layer.
A double boiler consists of a water bath made using a saucepan which is filled about quarter ways with water. The saucepan is placed on low-medium heat so that the water is brought to a gentle simmer. The chocolate is then added to a heat-resistant bowl (which covers the entire circumference of the saucepan), and the steam that rises from the simmering water will gently melt the chocolate. It’s important not to apply direct heat to chocolate as it will burn, also, make sure you avoid water splashing into the bowl at all costs as this will cause the chocolate to seize.
Place in the fridge for 15 minutes to set and then slice! (find out how to get the perfect cuts further down under "recipe tips")
How to cut millionaire's shortbread
- Use a knife and measuring tape to evenly mark out your cuts.
- Place a sharp knife in a jug of boiling water for a couple of minutes to heat it up.
- Wipe the knife dry and gently slice into the traybake, using the pre-marked cuts as your guide. Allow the heat of the knife to do the work and melt through the chocolate layer, without applying too much pressure.
- Cut one slice at a time, and reheat the knife in between slices.
How to prevent bananas from discoloring
One problem with using fresh bananas is they tend to discolor when exposed to oxygen in the air. But, when you add a little squeeze of lemon juice, magic happens! Your banana slices will keep their original color and the taste won't be affected. Lemon juice contains citric acid which alters the enzymes in bananas and prevents enzymatic discoloration. You can also use lime juice in place of lemon if you have it handy.
To get the best out of your shortbread treats, store them in an airtight container and refrigerate them. Because they contain fresh bananas, these bars are best enjoyed within 2 days, maybe 3 at a push!
More vegan slices
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- 7 oz (200 g) vegan chocolate
- Preheat your oven to 175°C (350°F). Lightly grease the base and sides of a square 8" pan with some oil or vegan butter, then line with parchment paper.
- In your food processor, combine the gluten-free flour, almond flour, vegan butter, maple syrup, and salt until the ingredients stick together to form a dough.
- Evenly press the dough into the base of the pan and smooth it out with a spatula or flat bottomed glass. With a fork, gently prick the dough several times. Bake for 15-18 minutes until slightly browned, then allow to cool to room temperature.
- Slice the bananas into coins and add them to a bowl with the lemon/lime juice. Coat both sides of the banana slices in the juice and then transfer them to a plate lined with kitchen paper or a clean tea towel. Gently blot the excess moisture from them and arrange them on top of the shortbread base in an even layer.
- To make the caramel, add the peanut butter, maple syrup, coconut oil, coconut milk, vanilla extract, and salt to your food processor and blend until smooth. Using a spatula, spread the caramel over the sliced bananas in an even layer. Place in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours (overnight if preferred).
- Melt the chocolate over a double boiler and use a spatula to spread it over the caramel in an even layer. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes to set.
- To slice, place a sharp knife in a jug of boiling water to heat it. Wipe the knife dry and gently cut, allowing the heat from the knife to melt through the slices.
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