Yes, you’ve guessed it, these “millionaire’s shortbread” are completely dairy and refined sugar-free. But don’t worry, I handed them out to a few people in the office and all of them said they couldn’t tell they were healthy, so there’s that.
In fact, it was a colleague who gave me a cut out of the original recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine, which I’ve kept largely the same. However, I’ve gotten rid of the vanilla extract to the filling (too sweet!), added a smidge of almond butter to the base to ensure it holds together well whilst adding a depth of flavour (you can use peanut butter too if you prefer), and used raw cacao powder instead of cocoa powder for the top.
Even though these are comparatively healthy to their refined sugar-laden counterparts, the dates do contain a lot of natural sugars. It’s these which provide that delicious, sticky sweetness of the caramel and the cashew nuts replace the traditional buttery biscuit base (thanks Greg Wallace).
Cashew nuts not only taste amazing, but they’re also known as “nature’s prozac” because they contain the essential amino acid L-tryptophan. This is broken down into niacin – which has anxiety-reducing properties – and serotonin, aka, the feel-good neurotransmitter.
Now, I’ve only made these once and although I usually like to have a bit of a play around before I post, OHMAGOD THESE ARE SO DELICIOUS I HAD TO SHARE THEM.
For the base
- 4 Medjool dates, pitted
- 50g coconut oil
- 150g cashew nuts
- 50g porridge oat
- 1 tsp almond butter
For the filling
- 350g Medjool dates, pitted
- 125ml unsweetened almond milk
- 25ml maple syrup (optional)
- 150g coconut oil
- pinch of coarse sea salt
For the topping
- 150g coconut oil
- 5 tbsp raw cacao powder
- (You can replace the two ingredients above with 100g 100% chocolate, like Montezuma’s Absolute Black)
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- Grease a 20cm square cake tin and line with baking parchment.
- For the base: chop the dates finely and tip into pan with the coconut oil while it melts. This will help soften them and make them easier to blend.
- Tip the cashew nuts and oats into a food processor and blitz to fine crumbs. Add the dates, coconut oil and almond butter and blend again. Transfer to the tin and use the back of a spoon to press the nutty mixture into an even layer that covers the base. Chill while you prepare the filling.
- For the filling: add the dates, almond milk, maple syrup and coconut oil to a saucepan with the sea salt and bring to a simmer. Boil for 2-3 mins or until the dates are really soft, then tip into the blender and blitz to a smooth purée.
- Spread the gooey mixture to the sides of the tin. Like with my sweet potato brownies, you’ll need to make sure the top is as smooth as possible as the next and final later will show any lumps. Chill while you prepare the topping.
- Gently melt the coconut oil in a saucepan. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cacao powder and maple syrup until there are no lumps. Cool for 10 mins. If you’re using chocolate here instead, melt slowly with the maple syrup until smooth and runny.
- Pour over the caramel layer and return to the fridge for around 3 hrs or until set. To serve, cut into squares or fingers.