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Vegan Millionaires

Vegan Millionaires Shortbread

​This has gone down really, really well. Several times. Quick to put together (I’ve made it four times since my 10 week old son was born), here is a dessert that is almost impossible to mess up (proven by novice baker SAS). PHEW. I first tested it out for a vegan dinner party pud back in October. Since then it has become a favourite for afternoon tea, a light lunchtime dessert or a cheeky late night treat. Vegan or no vegan, millionaire or not, it sure is delicious: crumbly, coconutty biscuit, topped with sticky, spiced date caramel and a smothering of dark, salted cocoa.

It’s extra handy as a gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free AND vegan sweet, guaranteed to pass any food allergy or diet fad hurdle. Whoopee.

But aside from all that, it is simply scrumptious. Enjoy.

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Vegan millionaire’s shortbread

20 minutes active time, serves 6-8

dessert / brunch / perennial / easy peasy / quietly smug / party / refined sugar free / detox / date night / baking / ready in a jiffy / vegan / vegetarian / gluten free / dairy free

I promise you won’t miss the butter here. Date puree makes a lovely substitute for caramel (or as an icing), while the coconut shortbread is lusciously light and crumbly. This is adapted from a Bakerita recipe, who is the queen of ‘healthy’ desserts. My version uses fewer ingredients and a simpler date puree. It needs to be kept in the fridge until serving, as the cocoa layer can melt fairly quickly otherwise.

For the biscuit

* Coconut flour - 2/3 cup

* Coconut oil - 1/3 cup, at room temperature

* Maple syrup - 2 tbsp

* Salt - a pinch

For the date caramel

* Pitted dates - 250g

* Cinnamon - 2 tsp

* Ground ginger - 2 tsp

* Vanilla essence - 1 tsp

* Sea salt - a couple of pinches

For the cocoa layer

* Cocoa - 4 tbsp

* Coconut oil - 4 tbsp

* Maple syrup - 2 tbsp

* Sea salt - a couple of pinches

One springform cake tin, 22cm

​Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (170 fan assisted).

Soak the dates in some boiling water in a bowl while you make the biscuit layer.

Whizz together the flour, coconut oil, maple syrup and salt in a mixer until the mixture is smooth.

Using your fingers, press the mixture into a greased cake tin so it covers the base evenly. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, until the biscuit turns lightly golden.

Meanwhile make the date purée. Strain the dates, preserving the liquid.

Purée the dates in a mixer (no need to wash it after the shortbread), along with the spices and salt. Once the mixture is smooth, add 1/4 cup of the soaking liquid and blend again. Keep adding liquid little by little until you have the consistency of caramel or thick honey.

Smooth the purée over the cooked shortbread. This is easier to do if you let the shortbread cool first (you can pop it in the fridge or freezer) - otherwise the sticky dates can pull away some of the biscuit layer.

Finally make the cocoa layer by melting the cocoa, coconut oil, maple syrup and salt in a small saucepan over a low heat. Stir until smooth, then pour over the date purée in an even layer. Pop the tart in the fridge for an hour or so before serving.


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