It's a new month and that means one thing here: a NEW take on classic millionaires shortbread. This month's vegan millionaire shortbread is technically not shortbread at all, but more of a take on a classic caramel slice, that's got a cookie dough twist!

This recipe is basically a combination of my raspberry caramel slice and my edible vegan cookie dough, and what a match these two make!

vegan no bake cookie dough caramel slicePin

And who doesn't love cookie dough? This entirely vegan caramel slice is made using as wholesome as possible ingredients including creamy cashew butter in place of vegan butter, and coconut sugar in place of brown sugar - but you could totally use regular brown sugar in this recipe too!

vegan no bake cookie caramel barsPin

Ingredients needed

So here's what you'll need to make the cookie dough layers of these vegan caramel slices. The ingredients used are gluten-free, and there's also a cashew-free option below in case!

  • Ground almonds: their texture and subtle flavor make the perfect gluten-free base for this delicious vegan cookie dough.
  • Coconut sugar: this sweetens the dough as well as adds a subtle caramel flavor. Feel free to use soft brown sugar if you're not fussed about coconut sugar or if you don't have it to hand.
  • Sea salt: cookie dough just would not be the same without salt. The salt enhances and balances the flavors and sweetness of the dough, so I don't recommend skipping it if that's possible for you.
  • Cashew butter:  this is used in place of butter which is traditionally used in cookie dough. if you want to keep these caramel slices cashew-free, you can swap this out for an alternative nut butter such as almond butter.
  • Vanilla extract: we're packing a nice bit of this into the cookie dough as it is one of the main flavors that shine through in the end recipe. 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.
  • Pure maple syrup: a touch of maple syrup is added for sweetness, and flavor and to help with binding the ingredients.
  • Coconut oil: melted coconut oil helps to keep the dough in place once chilled, and helps it not to get too crumbly.
  • Vegan chocolate: either dark chocolate or dairy-free “milk” chocolate works well.

Making vegan cookie dough is really simple, and it just takes a couple of steps! (PSA: this cookie dough also tastes good just on its own, so a sneaky taste test is advised!)

  1. Lightly grease the base and sides of a square 8" pan with some oil, then line with parchment paper.
  2. Add the ground almonds, coconut sugar, sea salt, cashew butter, vanilla extract, maple syrup, and melted coconut oil to your food processor and blitz for a minute or so until combined. Transfer the dough to a large bowl.
  3. Chop the chocolate into small chunks and fold these into the cookie dough using a spatula or your hands.
  4. Evenly press the dough into the base of the pan and smooth it out with a spatula or flat bottomed glass. Place in the freezer while you make the caramel.

If you don't own a food processor you can even mix everything in a bowl instead.

  1. Grease your pan the same as step 1 up in Method 1 above.
  2. For this method, first whisk together your wet ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth (cashew butter, vanilla extract, maple syrup and melted coconut oil).
  3. Next, get a separate large bowl, add your dry ingredients (ground almonds, coconut sugar, sea salt) and whisk to evenly mix everything.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and use your hands to knead the ingredients into a dough.
  5. Now follow the same steps 3-4 from Method 1 above!

Ingredients for homemade caramel

  • Cashew butter: the main ingredient for the caramel layer! I love using cashew butter as it gives a wonderful nutty taste without being overpowering. You can of course use another nut butter if you’d prefer. Peanut butter, almond butter, and even tahini would work well.
  • Pure maple syrup: can you believe that this caramel is sweetened solely using maple syrup? Yup, no refined sugar here.
  • Coconut oil: this will help the caramel layer of these bars to set so it doesn’t turn to liquid when it comes to room temperature!
  • Vanilla bean paste: I LOVE adding vanilla to desserts as it creates another layer of flavor and helps to enhance the other flavors and sweetness of the recipe! It takes the caramel layer of these vegan cookie dough bars to the next level. You can swap this out for vanilla extract too.
  • Sea Salt: this helps to balance out the sweetness of the caramel layer. Plus, salted caramel is life!

How to make caramel without a blender

Don't have a high-speed blender or food processor? No problem! This caramel can be made in one simple step, literally, it's that easy!

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a heat-resistant bowl. Heat over a double boiler (bain-marie) while stirring until all of the ingredients have melted into a smooth caramel.
  2. Pour the caramel on top of the shortbread layer and place it in the freezer to set for a minimum of 4 hours (overnight works well).

How to make caramel with a food processor

If you'd like to get the caramel whisked together in less than 60 seconds, just follow this one step for a creamy smooth caramel filling.

  1. Add all of the caramel ingredients to your food processor and whizz for about 30 seconds or as soon as everything is evenly mixed. Do not be tempted to over-mix, as you could risk splitting the mixture!
  2. Now follow step 2 from Method 1 above!

We're almost there. Just a few more steps and you're ready to sink your teeth into these moreish little bites of heaven!

  1. Melt the chocolate and cashew butter over a double boiler (bain-marie) and stir to combine. Pour the chocolate over the caramel layer and place it in the fridge to set for 15-20 minutes.
  2. 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. Garnish with sea salt and serve.
  3. Store these slices in an airtight container in the fridge and consume within 3-5 days. Alternatively, you can freeze any unused portions and defrost as needed.

How easy was that?! I hope you enjoy making and eating these delicious cookie dough caramel bars as much as we did here at ATD HQ!

More vegan bars and slices

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No-Bake Cookie Dough Bars

4.67 from 18 votes
PREP TIME: 25 mins
Chilling Time: 4 hrs
TOTAL TIME: 4 hrs 25 mins
Servings: 16
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Description

No-bake vegan caramel cookie dough bars with homemade cashew caramel and dairy-free chocolate. Think millionaire's bars with cookie dough instead of shortbread!

Ingredients

Cookie Dough

  • 3 cups (335 g) ground almonds
  • cup (55 g) coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) sea salt
  • ½ cup (128 g) cashew butter, or almond butter
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) coconut oil, melted
  • 3.5 oz (100 g) vegan chocolate, or vegan chocolate chips

Caramel

  • 1 cup (256 g) cashew butter, or almond butter
  • cup (158 ml) pure maple syrup
  • 4 tablespoons (60 g) coconut oil, solid
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla bean paste, or vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 g) sea salt

Topping

  • 7 oz (200 g) vegan chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) cashew butter, or almond butter
  • sea salt, for garnish

Instructions

Cookie Dough

  • If you don't have a food processor, refer to the above blog post for an alternative method.
  • Lightly grease the base and sides of a square 8" pan with some oil, then line with parchment paper.
  • Add the ground almonds, coconut sugar, sea salt, cashew butter, vanilla extract, maple syrup and melted coconut oil to your food processor and blitz for a minute or so until combined. Transfer the dough to a large bowl.
  • Chop the chocolate into small chunks and fold these into the cookie dough using a spatula or your hands.
  • Evenly press the dough into the base of the pan and smooth it out with a spatula or flat bottomed glass. Place in the freezer while you make the caramel.

Caramel

  • Add all of the ingredients to a heat-resistant bowl. Heat over a double boiler (bain-marie) while stirring until all of the ingredients have melted into a smooth caramel.
  • Pour the caramel on top of the shortbread layer and place it in the freezer to set for a minimum of 4 hours (overnight works well).

Topping

  • Melt the chocolate and cashew butter over a double boiler (bain-marie) and stir to combine. Pour the chocolate over the caramel layer and place it in the fridge to set for 15-20 minutes.
  • 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. Garnish with sea salt and serve.

Storage

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

Nutrition

Calories: 456kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 230mg | Potassium: 176mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 21g | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 3mg
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