Vegan Ginger Caramel Shortbread

Caramel shortbread used to be one of my all-time favourite desserts before going vegan, but knowing that caramel tends to contain condensed milk, I had kind of resigned myself to the fact that I wasn’t going to be able to enjoy the same level of shortbread-based indulgence again. Happily though, it turns out (as with pretty much everything it seems) it is possible to create a vegan version that is just as delicious!

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 Ingredients (makes 8 squares)

For the shortbread layer:

–          ½ cup walnuts

–          ½ cup cashews

–          1 cup organic desiccated coconut

–          1 cup rolled oats

–          Pinch salt

–          1 tsp. vanilla extract

–          ½ cup coconut oil, melted

–          1 tbsp. carob syrup (or other sweetener of choice)

–          1 heaping tbsp. smooth creamy peanut butter

For the ginger caramel layer:

–          1.5 cups medjool dates (about 12 dates)

–          1 tbsp. date syrup

–          2cm stem ginger

–          ½ tsp. powdered ginger

–          Pinch salt

–          ½ cup water

For the Super Roots chocolate layer:

–          1 bar Mr Popple’s Super Roots raw chocolate (or similar)

–          ¼ cup coconut oil

–          ¼ cup smooth creamy peanut butter

–          4 tbsp. cacao/cocoa powder

Method:

1)    Add the walnuts and cashews to a food processor or high-speed blender and blitz for 15-20 seconds.

2)    Add the rest of the shortbread ingredients to the blender and pulse until the mixture starts to come together. It should hold its shape when pressed between your fingers.

3)    Line a 5×5 inch tin with baking parchment and press shortbread into the base. Make sure it is tightly packed.

4)    Place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

5)    Meanwhile, add all the ingredients for the ginger caramel to the food processor and blend until smooth – scraping down the sides of the blender when necessary. It will take around 5 minutes for the mixture to become smooth. If the mixture is a little thick, add another tbsp. or two of water – it should be spreadable but not runny.

6)    When the shortbread layer has been in the freezer for around 30 minutes, spread the caramel layer on top using the back of a metal spoon. Your caramel layer should be about 1cm thick.

7)    Place in the freezer for about an hour.

8)    For the chocolate layer, melt all the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan over a medium heat, stirring constantly.

9)    Poor chocolate mixture over the top of the caramel layer and return the whole thing to the freezer for another 2-3 hours.

10)  When set, remove from the tin and cut into 8 equal-sized squares using a sharp knife. Store in the freezer and remove 5 minutes before eating.

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