Vegan Millionaires Gluten-Free Shortbread Bars
This gluten-free shortbread recipe is an easy, delicious dessert made vegan, gluten-free, and paleo. With layers of shortbread, peanut butter caramel, and chocolate ganache, these Vegan Millionaires Shortbread cookie bars are simply divine.
This post was updated with new copy on May 10, 2022!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
What Makes This Recipe Great
I am a sucker for a good dessert bar! Give me anything peanut butter and chocolate, and I am IN! These vegan millionaires shortbread cookie bars remind me of a healthier vegan Twix bar or a homemade peanut butter tasty cake.
For this gluten-free shortbread recipe, I use a simple, grain-free shortbread base. Then I top the layers with 3-ingredient vegan peanut butter caramel and a dairy-free chocolate ganache. The result? AMAZING.
The layers all harden together to form the tastiest, most decadent chocolate-topped bar you will ever have. Bring these vegan millionaires shortbread bars to holiday parties and cookie exchanges, or simply enjoy them with your family
Please see the full list of ingredients in the recipe card below.
Almond flour: Look for fine, blanched almond flour for the gluten-free shortbread. I use this instead of a gluten-free flour blend that has xanthan gum. It isn’t necessary for this recipe and I prefer nut flour for the shortbread base.
Coconut flour: I like Bob’s Red Mill. Coconut flour requires a lot of moisture, so I do not recommend adjusting any of the flour ratios for this recipe.
Maple Syrup: This should be 100% pure maple syrup.
Coconut Oil: Refined or unrefined will work for this recipe. I use this instead of unsalted butter or vegan butter, making it a bit healthier. Measure the oil once it is melted.
Nut Butter: I have made this with both peanut butter and almond butter, and both work beautifully. I used Justin’s brand, and the consistency worked well. You want to look for nut butter that is smooth, yet not too runny.
Coconut Milk: Look for full-fat canned coconut milk, and only use the hardened white part when measuring. I like Native Forest or Thai Kitchen brands.
Recipe Step by Step
- Preheat your oven to 350 and spray an 8×8 pan with cooking oil.
- Add the gluten-free shortbread ingredients (almond flour, coconut flour, maple syrup, melted coconut oil, vanilla extract, and sea salt) to a bowl and mix well.
- Transfer the mixture to the pan and press down using your fingers. Make sure to cover the bottom of the pan.
- Poke a few holes in the crust, then bake for 16-17 minutes.
Vegan Millionaires Shortbread Bars
- Make the Peanut Butter Caramel Filling: Combine the ingredients in a bowl and whisk well for 2 minutes. The longer you whisk, the more it will look like a caramel consistency.
- Add the caramel on top of the baked shortbread crust and spread it out evenly. Pop the pan into the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
- Make the Chocolate Ganache: Combine the chocolate chips and coconut milk in a dish and microwave to melt. Stir in 30-second increments until smooth.
- When the pan is ready to be taken out of the freezer, spread the ganache on top of the caramel layer. Sprinkle with sea salt (if desired). Refrigerate for another 30 minutes (minimum).
- Slice into 16 gluten-free shortbread cookie bars and enjoy!
Mary’s Tips & Tricks
Paleo: These vegan millionaires shortbread bars are easily made paleo by subbing almond butter for peanut butter.
Storage: Keep these gluten-free shortbread bars in the freezer or the refrigerator in an airtight container lined with parchment paper. They are best enjoyed when you take them out of the freezer and they sit for about 10 minutes first.
Unfortunately, I have only tested these using both almond butter and nut butter. If you try to make them nut-free, please share what you used and how it went in the comments below!
It can be! Simply swap the peanut butter out for almond butter and make sure to use refined sugar-free chocolate chips.
Yes, they sure are!
These bars are a bit healthier than the traditional recipe since they use grain-free flour, coconut oil, and coconut milk. These contain healthy fats and refined free sugars like maple syrup for sweetening.
More Gluten-Free Cookie Recipes
Vegan Millionaires Gluten-Free Shortbread Bars
Nut Butter Caramel Center
- 8×8 pan
- Preheat your oven to 350 and spray an 8×8 baking pan with cooking oil.
- Combine all of the gluten-free shortbread crust ingredients in a bowl and mix well until combined. Transfer the dough into the baking pan and press down with your fingertips. Make sure it is spread out evenly to cover the bottom of the pan. Poke a few holes in the crust with a fork. Bake for 16-17 minutes, until slightly golden brown.
- Meanwhile, make the caramel. Combine the melted coconut oil, nut butter of choice, and maple syrup in a bowl and whisk vigorously for 2 minutes. It should resemble caramel after mixing well. Pour the caramel over the crust and use a spatula to spread it out evenly. Place the pan into the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
- Next, make the chocolate ganache. Melt the chocolate chips and full-fat coconut milk in a bowl in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth. Alternatively, you can heat both of them over a double boiler on the stove and stir until smooth.
- Once the caramel layer has hardened in the freezer, spread the chocolate ganache out evenly on top. Sprinkle flaky sea salt on top, if desired. Place the pan back into the freezer for another 30 minutes (minimum).
- Slice into 16 gluten-free shortbread squares, and enjoy!