This month's vegan millionaire's shortbread recipe comes to you in the form of this delicious Tahini Caramel Millionaires Shortbread - a dreamy combination of salted caramel, toasty sesame paste, buttery shortbread, and chocolate!

What is tahini?

So what is tahini anyway? Chances are, you've probably already eaten it in some form or another. Tahini is a Middle Eastern condiment that is made by toasting sesame seeds and grinding them into a paste/sauce.  As well as being a key ingredient in many savory recipes such as hummus or baba ganoush, it is also a popular ingredient in many sweet desserts, including halva and fudge.

Tahini is such a versatile ingredient that can be applied in so many ways, whether savory or sweet. A few months back I created an entire Tahini Cheesecake which was a huge hit. This time, we're using tahini as a base for a healthy caramel sauce which will be the star of this recipe.

What to expect from this recipe

  • Nut-free and easily adapted as gluten-free
  • Egg-free/Dairy-free
  • Easy to make

Ingredients needed

Milled flaxseed helps the shortbread to keep its shape and prevents it from becoming too crumbly. When soaked in water, flaxseeds form a gel that works as a binding agent that replaces eggs used in traditional baking. To prepare the flax egg, simply add one tablespoon of ground flaxseeds to a small bowl with 2.5 tbsp of water. Stir and allow it to soak for 5 minutes.

All-purpose flour or you can opt for gluten-free all-purpose flour to keep this recipe suitable for coeliacs or people who have food intolerances. You'll also need a touch of sea salt.

You can find vegan butter in most large supermarkets these days. You can also use solid coconut oil in its place if you’d prefer.

I love using coconut sugar as a sweetener for shortbread, especially when it's being paired with caramel. Coconut sugar gives a wonderful but very slight caramelized flavor to the pastry.

You can use either light or dark tahini depending on the flavor you'd like. Light tahini is definitely more common in this part of the world as it has a mild smooth flavor. Dark tahini is made from unhulled sesame seeds and has a more bitter and intense flavor (I used dark for the images in this blog post).

Pure maple syrup is the main sweetener for the caramel layer, when mixed together with tahini and the other caramel ingredients it forms a delicious caramel sauce.

Coconut oil solidifies at room temperature, this helps to set the caramel layer, omitting this ingredient will result in a very runny caramel sauce!

Coconut cream: or if using coconut milk, you’ll need the full-fat canned kind. Refrigerate it overnight to make sure you can scoop out the fat part from the top of the can use (you can reserve the liquid part for adding to curries, soups, or smoothies!).

Vanilla is added to balance out the flavors of the dessert as well as intensify the sweetness. Make sure you opt for a brand that is vegan-friendly such as Neilsen Massey pure vanilla extract and Taylor and Colledge vanilla bean extract.

Sesame seeds: I absolutely LOVE the taste of toasted sesame seeds, and a sprinkle of these on top of these tahini caramel slices really brings out that delicious tahini flavor.

Chocolate: either dark chocolate or dairy-free "milk" chocolate works well.

How to make tahini caramel millionaires shortbread

(full recipe and instructions are in the recipe card at the end of this page)

Shortbread base

Make a “flax egg” by mixing together the ground flaxseed with 2½ tablespoons of water. Allow to sit for 5 minutes and then add it to your food processor along with the other ingredients (all-purpose flour, vegan butter, coconut sugar, and salt) to make the crust. In your food processor, blend for a couple of minutes until the ingredients stick together to form a dough. If needed, you add the tablespoon of water and blend again to bring the mixture together.

Next press the shortbread into the base of an 8×8″ 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). Bake for 15-18 minutes until slightly browned, then allow to cool to room temperature.

Tahini 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. Pour the caramel on top of the crust and use a spatula to spread it out in an even layer. Place the millionaire's shortbread in the freezer to set for a minimum of 4 hours (overnight works well too).

Toppings

First, toast the sesame seeds to release their flavor. Add the sesame seeds to a lined baking tray and bake in the oven preheated to 175°C (350°F) for 10 minutes until they brown slightly. Set aside.

For the chocolate coating, add the chocolate and butter to a large bowl over a double boiler. A double boiler (bain-marie) is basically a heated bath. It consists of adding water to a saucepan and bringing it to a gentle simmer. The chocolate is then placed in a heat-resistant bowl (that covers the entire circumference of the bowl), allowing the steam from the simmering water to rise up and gently heat the chocolate, causing it to melt. Stir until melted thoroughly. Use a spatula to spread it over the caramel in an even layer.

Lastly, sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds on top of the chocolate layer and you're done!


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Tahini Caramel Millionaires Shortbread

4.83 from 17 votes
PREP TIME: 40 mins
Chilling Time: 4 hrs
TOTAL TIME: 4 hrs 40 mins
Servings: 12
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Description

Traditional British millionaires shortbread gets a Middle Eastern inspired twist with flavors of tahini and toasted sesame. A buttery shortbread crust with salted tahini caramel and dairy-free chocolate. These delicious caramel slices are easy to make, and can be adapted as gluten-free.

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 tablespoon milled flaxseed
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour, sub with gluten-free all purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

Tahini Caramel

Topping

  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 160 g vegan chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter

Instructions

Crust

  • 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.
  • Make a "flax egg" by adding the ground flaxseeds to a bowl with 2.5 tsp water. Stir and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  • In your food processor, combine the flax egg, flour, vegan butter, coconut sugar, 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.

Tahini Caramel

  • Prepare the caramel by adding all of the ingredients to your food processor. Blitz for a couple of minutes until smooth and silky. Pour the caramel on top of the crust and use a spatula to spread it out in an even layer.
  • Place in the freezer to set for a minimum of 4 hours (overnight works well).
  • For the topping add the sesame seeds to a lined baking tray and bake in the oven preheated to 175°C (350°F) for 10 minutes until they brown slightly. Set aside.

Topping

  • For the coating melt the chocolate and butter over a double boiler. Stir until melted thoroughly. Use a spatula to spread it over the caramel in an even layer.
  • Sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds on top of the chocolate.
  • Allow it to set at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before slicing into servings. 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.

Storage

  • Refrigerate in an airtight container and consume within 3-5 days. Alternatively, you can freeze any unused portions and defrost them as needed.

Nutrition

Calories: 427kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 312mg | Potassium: 212mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 332IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 3mg
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