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An Adventure in Vegan Baking

Hi Squirrels!


This week you join me on a culinary journey as I invent a recipe for vegan millionaires shortbread.


I have made this before but it was a few years ago during my ultra healthy 'clean eating' phase so it wasn't the most fun I've ever eaten.


This time I'm using Biscoff biscuits to make the base and proper chocolate for the topping.


I should warn you, what started out as an idea for a recipe descends into utter carnage later on so I shall include an ingredients list for fun but I wouldn't bother rushing out to buy stuff until you've actually read the rest of this post.





Vegan Millionaires Shortbread


Ingredients

1 x 250g pack of Lotus Biscoff biscuits (plus or minus a couple for munching)

2 x 150g margarine

1/2 pint oat milk

50g light brown sugar

200g medjool dates, pitted and chopped

2-3 drops of vanilla extract

300g dark chocolate


Method (a term which I use very loosely)


Melt 150g of margarine and whizz up the biscuits in a food processor (or beat them vigorously with a rolling pin) until they are reduced to crumbs.


Add the melted margarine to the whizzer, or stir it in to the crumbs, and spread the mixture into a 20cm cake tin or tray with a removable base.


Realise that a 250g pack of biscuits isn't nearly enough, tip mixture back into the whizzing device along with the last of your porridge oats (about 70g), mix together and re-apply to the base of the tin. I think next time I'll just buy 2 packs of Biscoff.





Put this in the fridge to set while you make the filling


Add the rest of the margarine, dates, sugar and milk to a pan. Heat on a medium heat for around 30 mins until the liquid starts to simmer and thicken slightly and the dates are nice and soggy. Be sure to stir occasionally to stop it from catching.


I'm using oat milk as it is quite glutenous so I'm hoping that will help to thicken it but you could just use any plant based milk you like.


I should also mention that I got a bit carried away with the sugar so I've actually used 65g, not that this will make the slightest bit of difference to the chaos which will shortly ensue.


Whizz this mixture up in the food whizzer and allow to cool for 10 mins before adding to the base and putting back in the fridge to set.





After 2 hours give it a poke and notice it's still not close to being set but continue with the chocolate layer anyway because you're impatient.


The chocolate is actually the easy part, just melt it, leave to cool for a bit and then pour over the top of the filling making sure its nice and even. Leave the whole thing in the fridge overnight and cross your fingers.


When you're ready to try your concoction take it out of the fridge and attempt to remove it from the tin using the ingenious method you've seen contestants on Bake Off use a hundred times. For those of you not familiar, this method involves precariously balancing the tin on top of a kilner jar and carefully sliding the outer tin downwards while praying to the baking gods your creation doesn't collapse all over the worktop.





Your final task is to realise in hindsight that three bars of chocolate may have been too many, prompting the question "How the f**k am I going to cut this??"


After trying several different ideas (each more ridiculous than the last and resulting in the filling making its escape all over the plate), you decide that the only sensible course of action would be to remove the chocolate, slice it separately, re-apply the filling to the base, slice that part and then re-apply the chocolate.


Et voila!


You have now made a 'Drunk Millionaires Shortbread'





The Verdict


It may look like someone sat on it but it tastes amazing - proving once again that just because something didn't turn out exactly how you imagined it that doesn't mean you shouldn't still stick your face in it.


If you decide to follow this recipe (and I don't advise it) you will definitely need to store it in the fridge. I also recommend the following changes...


More Biscoff! I would suggest 2 packs although I did quite like the addition of the oats so I think I would maybe keep the oats and add another half pack of biscuits. You could then eat the rest while nervously waiting for the filling to set. Or use them for decoration, whatever floats your boat.


Less chocolate! Unless you enjoy eating your afternoon snack with a chainsaw 3 packs is way too much. I would say a maximum of two is plenty and you could probably get away with one and a half if you only want a thin layer.


Obviously the main issue was the filling. Although it tasted good it was far too runny so next time I will swap the margarine for coconut oil which sets much firmer, hopefully allowing the bars to be stored at room temperature (negating the need for the chainsaw).


Another idea I've had is to soak the dates in the oat milk to soften them, blend the mixture and add it to the pan with the sugar and oil. You might then be able to cook it on a higher heat to create a fudgier texture.


I'm sure I will be trying this recipe again soon so I'll keep you updated on my progress. In the meantime if you do decide to have a crack at it please share your experience, either here or on Instagram (tag me @TheSustainableSquirrel), so we can all have a good laugh!





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