Date Caramel Shortbread Squares

It might be because my home has been surrounded for fog for the past week, or that the temperature seems to be lowering down a little more every day, but I do not really feel like cooking savoury meals these days. The sole thing I am looking forward to whenever coming back home is curling up in my sofa, with a warm tea and something to satisfy my sweet tooth (a huge piece of something though!). Thus, my fridge and cupboards are filled with sweet treats and desserts, which I have the pleasure to enjoy by myself since my parents are not really into those…

The sole thing I am looking forward to
whenever coming back home is
curling up in my sofa, with a warm tea
and something to satisfy my sweet tooth

It’s been a week since being back from my short but amazing weekend in London, and apart from the serenity and peace I cultivated away from my home and routine, I brought back some amazing sweets in my luggage. Livia’s Kitchen’s shortbread millionaire bites are simple, natural and delicious snacks that you can bring with you wherever you go and enjoy at any time of the day (that because they are tasty like hell!) – they are made out of a few easy, healthy ingredients and may be found at many different places all across London. But due to a lack of space, I could only bring four bars back, which obviously have already been digested!

Just like a queen wears a crown,
those squares are topped with a cracking,
sweet and incredibly tasty chocolate layer

For these are insanely delicious, I wanted to make them myself, so that I could have a fresh tray in the freezer all year long (seriously!). I therefore created my own recipe for them – they do not taste exactly the same, which is good, but are still achingly luscious! The melting and yet firm bottom layer, with its distant flavour of vanilla, is perfectly balancing the creaminess and sweetness of the date caramel. The latter does not actually taste like dates at all, but more like a whirlwind of caramely and nutty flavours. And just like a queen wears a crown, those squares are topped with a cracking, sweet and incredibly tasty chocolate layer, which help bringing this dessert to another level. Enjoy!

Date Caramel Shortbread Squares

Portions: 20 to 24 squares.
Preparation time: 30 minutes.
Freezing time: one hour.

Ingredients

For the oat base:

125g of ground rolled oats or oat flour
150g of ground almonds
60ml of maple syrup
2 ½ tbsp of coconut oil
1 tsp of vanilla powder or extract
1-2 tbsp of water (if needed)

For the date caramel:

300g of Medjool dates, pitted
4 tbsp of almond butter
2-3 tbsp of water
1 tbsp of coconut oil
½ tsp of vanilla powder

For the chocolate layer:

200g of vegan dark chocolate (70%)
or
85g of coconut oil
55g of cacao powder
4 tbsp of maple syrup
A pinch of salt

Method

(1) Start with the oat layer. Blend the oats in a food processor until obtaining a flour like consistency. Then add the ground almonds, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla powder and water, and pulse until the dough comes together when pressed with the hand. Line a brownie tin with parchment paper and grease it with coconut oil. Press into the tin, form a very fine and compact layer, then freeze for about 30 minutes.

(2) Move on to the date caramel. Pit the dates and blend them in your food processor until obtaining a paste. Then add the other ingredients and blend again, until smooth. You may need to scrap down the sides a few times. Spread onto your base evenly and put it back into the freezer.

(3) If using vegan dark chocolate, melt it slowly in a bain-marie before covering the caramel. If not, start by slowly melting the coconut oil in a bain-marie; then add the other ingredients and stir until glossy and smooth. Quickly pour the chocolate layer onto the date caramel and using the back of a spoon, spread it nicely and evenly, sides included. Back in the freezer for 20 minutes.

(4) Take it out of the freezer 15 to 20 minutes before slicing, to avoid cracking (or not – see pictures!).