Think festive millionaires shortbread, this irresistible Christmas traybake has it all. A gingerbread shortbread base and thick gooey caramel, all topped with homemade vegan gingerbread cookies. Caramel and gingerbread are a match made in heaven - I think this is my new favorite way to enjoy homemade gingerbread!
Whether you're planning to go all out this year and make your very own vegan gingerbread house, or are making something a little simpler like a vegan gingerbread loaf, you're going to want to add these vegan caramel slices to your holiday bake list - promise!
What to expect from this gingerbread caramel slice
- Firm yet buttery caramel with an incredible pull
- Easy to make
- Eggless and dairy-free
- Full of warming spices and festive flavors
- Perfect for the holiday season
- Plain flour
- Gingerbread spices: The gingerbread spice blend for this vegan caramel slice consists of ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.
- Vegan butter: An important ingredient to get that ”buttery” shortbread crust. It is also a key ingredient for that caramel filling. It’s important to use vegan butter here and not margarine, as the water content in margarine is too high.
- Molasses: This really accentuates that gingerbread flavor by adding warmth and additional acidity and spice to the shortbread base.
- Sweetened condensed coconut milk: You can also use sweetened condensed oat milk for the caramel layer. I use Natures Charm.
- Soft brown sugar: For the caramel layer, gives a delicious flavor and color.
- Cornflour: Or cornstarch if you’re based in the US. This is a thickening agent for the caramel layer.
- Vanilla extract and sea salt: These balance the sweetness and enhance the flavors of your vegan gingerbread slices.
- Vegan chocolate: You can use vegan milk chocolate or dark chocolate depending on your taste. You could also try topping them with homemade vegan milk chocolate too!
- You'll also need some homemade vegan gingerbread cookies to top the ginger caramel slices. Plus some optional gingernut cookies if you want some extra crunch!
How to make this recipe (with step-by-step images)
(Full ingredient quantities and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post)
Make the gingerbread base
This is probably the easiest step to making these vegan caramel slices. For the shortbread, you just need a food processor in which you'll blend the ingredients (in this case vegan butter, gingerbread spices, molasses, and sea salt) together until a dough is formed.
Following that, you'll simply press the gingerbread shortbread dough into a lined 8-inch square pan. Use a flat bottomed glass or the base of a cup measure to smooth out the surface and prick the base with several holes. Then pop it into the oven to bake until lightly browned. I don't tend to bake this one for too long as I find it much nicer to have a slightly soft gingerbread base.
Make the vegan caramel
For this next part, you'll need a candy thermometer. Once you have a thermometer it's pretty straightforward to get the perfect caramel consistency.
Add all of the caramel ingredients apart from the cornflour to a saucepan (that's the sweetened condensed coconut milk, vegan butter, soft brown sugar, vanilla, and salt). Gently melt the ingredients together over low heat and then add in the cornflour. Once the cornflour goes in give the mixture a good whisk while you increase the temperature up to medium-high.
Bring the caramel temperature up to 116°C (240°F) and make sure to stir every so often to prevent the mixture from burning to the bottom of the pan.
Next, pour the caramel on top of the gingerbread crust and chill until set.
Add the toppings
For the chocolate topping, melt a little vegan butter with your chocolate to prevent it from setting rock-solid. This makes it easier to sink your teeth in, and also makes it easier to slice.
Add the vegan gingerbread cookies and crushed ginger nut biscuits before the chocolate sets! You don't need to bake a full batch of gingerbread cookies for this recipe (unless you want to keep some to top other recipes like this vegan gingerbread cheesecake!).
Expert tips and FAQs
How to get the perfect caramel slice
Getting crisp, clean cuts in a caramel slice without it cracking takes a little patience. Make sure you use a large sharp knife, blunt knives won't do you any favors here! If you're a bit of a perfectionist you can get out your measuring tape for this next bit. Very carefully mark out the cuts of where you want your slices/bars to be with the knife.
Now, use a jug of hot water to heat your knife in between cuts, and a clean tea towel to wipe away the moisture before cutting in. Cut slowly, applying pressure to the pre-cut knife markings until you can see that the knife has made its way through the chocolate, then press down to cut through the caramel and biscuit layers.
- Sea salt: I love adding a good pinch of Maldon sea salt flakes to the top of these caramel slices. The sweet and salty combination is so delicious.
- Granola: You could also try topping them with some of Minimalist Baker's vegan gingerbread granola for a delicious crunchy spin on your caramel slice.
- Nuts: Sprinkle some pecans, peanuts, or almonds on top of the chocolate layer before it sets.
- White chocolate: Why not turn them into white chocolate caramel slices with some homemade vegan white chocolate in place of regular chocolate.
These bars will last in the fridge for up to a week. Make sure that the container you're keeping them in is air-tight. I recommend taking the caramel slices out of the fridge to come to room temperature for about an hour before serving them. Alternatively, you can freeze them in a sealed container and defrost them for an hour or two before serving.
More vegan gingerbread recipes
For more festive recipe inspiration be sure to check out these Don't forget to check out these 25+ vegan Christmas dessert recipes.
Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below and consider leaving a comment as well, thanks!
- 1 ½ cups (188 g) plain flour
- 3.5 oz (100 g) vegan butter
- 2 tablespoons (24 g) soft brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons (40 g) molasses
- ¼ teaspoon (¼ teaspoon) sea salt
- 2 teaspoons (2 teaspoons) ground ginger
- 1 ½ teaspoon (1 ½ teaspoon) ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon (¼ teaspoon) allspice
- ¼ teaspoon (¼ teaspoon) ground nutmeg
- 8.8 oz (250 g) sweetened condensed coconut milk
- ¾ cup (165 g) soft brown sugar
- 4.2 oz (120 g) vegan butter
- ¼ cup (32 g) cornflour, (cornstarch)
- ½ teaspoon (½ teaspoon) sea salt
- 1 teaspoon (1 teaspoon) vanilla
- 5 oz (140 g) vegan chocolate
- 2 tablespoons (28 g) vegan butter
- ¼ batch vegan gingerbread cookies, crushed
- 4 gingernut biscuits, optional
- 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 all of the crust ingredients until they 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 14-15 minutes until slightly browned, then allow to cool to room temperature.
- Add the sweetened condensed coconut milk, soft brown sugar, vegan butter, salt and vanilla to a saucepan and melt over a medium heat. Add the cornflour and continue to heat whilst stirring. Place your candy thermometer in the caramel and heat until it reaches 116°C (240°F). Remove from the heat and allow the caramel to cool slightly for 5 minutes.
- Pour the caramel over the shortbread base and allow it to reach room temperature before transferring to the fridge for at least 2 hours (or overnight).
- Make the vegan gingerbread cookies if using them.
- 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. Add the gingerbread cookies and crushed ginger nut biscuits on top of the chocolate before it sets.
- Allow to set at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before slicing into servings.
- Place in an air-tight container and refrigerate for up to a week. I recommend taking the caramel slices out of the fridge to come to room temperature for about an hour before serving them. Alternatively, you can freeze them in a sealed container and defrost them for an hour or two before serving.
- Nutritional information is based on caramel slice without gingerbread cookies or biscuits on top.
- Sprinkle some pecans, peanuts, or almonds on top of the chocolate layer before it sets.
- Why not turn them into white chocolate caramel slices with some homemade vegan white chocolate in place of regular chocolate.
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