I am under no illusion that this recipe is super healthy. But it is healthier than its traditional sister tray bake – Millionaires’ Shortbread. How I hear you say? Well, first of all, this is made from raw cacao, which is sweetened only with honey! The health benefits of raw cacao are vast and in my opinion, it tastes better than normal chocolate! There is basically less sugar in this, and the ingredients used maintain most of their original nutrients – unlike the really processed stuff you get in shop.
Raw cacao is dairy free, perfect for vegans and those of you intolerant to dairy. I made my shortbread with butter, but if you substitute the butter for dairy-free margarine I think it would still taste amazing! This tray bake makes the perfect addition to picnics, nights in, barbecues, buffet parties, TV binges…the list goes on! Basically, it’s really delicious and you will feel great eating it at anytime. Maybe not at breakfast…well, maybe at breakfast, but only on a very special occasion. Anyway, I digress.
I used a very naughty pre-made caramel that I had knocking around my cupboard, but I have recently come across this amazing caramel agave syrup at work that would work SO well. Alternatively, you can create a caramel date paste by blending sukkari or medjool dates in a blender with a tiny bit of water and a tablespoon of coconut oil (melted). Or if you are feeling particularly naughty – just use carnation caramel like I did!
Here is how I did it! You will need:
For the Shortbread:
For the Caramel:
- 1 tin Carnation Caramel
For the Cacao chocolate topping:
- Line a 20cm square tin with baking parchment and preheat oven to gas mark 3.
- In a bowl, cream the butter and stevia until white and fluffy. If you were using sugar, you would use around 50g but stevia is much sweeter so you need less!
- Sift in the flour and vanilla powder and combine until you have a soft (delicious) dough. Feel free to taste, if its not sweet enough add a bit more stevia.
- Roll the dough out on a floured surface until is roughly the same size as the tin. Place the dough inside the tin, ensuring that it reaches the edges.
- Prick the surface all over with a fork and bake for around 20 minutes. Check it a few times to ensure it doesn’t burn. You are looking for it to be slightly golden, but not brown.
- Once it is cooked, leave to cool and turn your attention to the cacao.
- Place a pan of boiling water on the hob. turn the gas on low. Put a oven proof bowl on top of the saucepan, ensuring that it has a tiny gap to let the steam out. Add the cacao butter to the oven proof bowl – do not add to the saucepan below…it will not end well.
- Ensure that the water in the pan doesn’t boil completely away, melt the cacao butter in the makeshift bain marie. When it has completely melted add the cacao powder, honey and vanilla powder. Stir until you have a thick chocolate-like sauce. Turn the gas off and leave to cool slightly. you want the mixture to thicken slightly. This will happen as it cools and the butter starts to solidify more. This will help you spread it over the caramel in step 10.
- Once your shortbread has cooled, spread the surface with the carnation caramel. One tin should provide a thick covering that spans the width of the shortbread.
- Next, pour the glorious chocolatey mixture over the caramel. Smooth gently over the caramel, ensuring you do not mix the chocolate into the caramel. You need to really guide the chocolate to the edges, ensuring it sits on top of the caramel.
- Put the entire tin into the freezer for at least one hour, or overnight. When you are ready to serve, take out of the freezer, allow the cacao to soften (normally around 30 mins at room temp) and then slice into squares or bars!
In the unlikely event that you have leftovers, ensure you store in the freezer! Enjoy lovelies!