It’s always baking season here at AK, especially when you need an epic treat to impress friends and family at your next BBQ or party.
Of course, I also want to be mindful of delivering you healthier grain free/gluten free/dairy free recipes that will fit into nearly anyone’s diet cause I’m a nice blogger like that (and then you can share the love!)
These healthy millionaire bars just so happen to be paleo-friendly, vegan and gluten free, but no one will be able to tell. They’re layered with a wonderful shortbread cookie base, dreamy tahini caramel middle, and of course, a chocolate topping you’ll do backflips for.
What are “millionaire bars?”
Millionaire bars AKA “millionaire’s shortbread,” or “caramel squares” are basically bars made with a shortbread biscuit base, caramel middle, and chocolate topping. I created my own take on the famous dessert by making it gluten free, vegan friendly, and filled with a tahini-based caramel. SO GOOD.
Ingredients in these healthy millionaire bars
These easy, vegan and gluten free millionaire bars have 3 incredible layers: a shortbread base, caramel filling, and a luscious chocolate topping. They’re made with wholesome ingredients you’re going to love:
- The shortbread base: we’re keeping the base gluten and grain free by using almond flour, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla and salt. So easy!
- The tahini caramel filling: I think I’d like to live in this caramel thank you very much. You’ll need tahini, pure maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla and sea salt to make the caramel. Here’s my favorite brand of tahini to use — use the code ‘ambitiouskitchen’ to get 10% off!
- The chocolate topping: I like to use Enjoy Life chocolate chips to keep the bars vegan and dairy free, but feel free to use any chocolate you’d like.
Can I use a different flour?
I highly recommend sticking with the almond flour for best results as it is how I tested the bars. You could try using gluten free oat flour in place of the almond flour, although you may need to add a little more melted coconut oil so that it feels wet.
Can I swap the tahini?
I prefer using tahini for the right taste, but you could also use a natural, drippy nut butter like almond butter or cashew butter.
Tahini caramel millionaire bars in 4 steps
- Bake the crust. Start by mixing all of the shortbread crust ingredients together until they form a thick crumb texture. Press the crust evenly into your 8×8 inch pan lined with parchment paper and bake it for 10 minutes.
- Add the caramel. Mix your tahini caramel ingredients in a saucepan over medium-low heat until it’s nice and smooth. Pour it over the slightly cooled shortbread crust and place the pan in the fridge for at least 30 minutes until the caramel has hardened.
- Add the chocolate. Melt your chocolate chips with a little coconut oil in the microwave or in a saucepan and pour the melted chocolate over the solidified caramel layer.
- Cool, cut & serve. Place the bars in the fridge for an hour until the chocolate is completely hardened, then remove the bars from the pan, sprinkle with sea salt, slice and enjoy!
Don’t forget these essential tips
- Use the right pan. Be sure to use an 8×8 inch pan in order to get the right shape and consistency. Even a little larger, like a 9×9 inch pan, will make the bars too flat.
- Pack your almond flour. You’ll want to use packed almond flour (and make sure it’s blanched, fine almond flour) just like you would with brown sugar.
- Have patience. Be sure to let the caramel and chocolate layers chill completely so that the bars hold together well. I know it’s tempting, but have patience!
How to store & freeze these bars
- To store: these vegan millionaire bars should be kept covered in the fridge until you’re ready to serve them. They will stay good in your fridge for about 1 week.
- To freeze: feel free to keep them in a freezer-safe container in your freezer for up to 1 month. If you do keep them in your freezer, be sure to leave them out on the counter for a few minutes before serving so that they soften up a bit.
More vegan desserts you’ll love
I hope you get a chance to try these caramel millionaire bars out ASAP. I know you’re going to love them! Be sure to rate the recipe and leave a comment below if you try them — and don’t forget to tag #ambitiouskitchen on Instagram! xo.
Salted Tahini Caramel Millionaire Bars (vegan and paleo)
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Easy to make salted caramel millionaire bars with a shortbread cookie base, salted tahini caramel filling and the perfect dairy free chocolate topping. These healthy millionaire bars are vegan, gluten free and paleo and make the best dessert!
- For the shortbread base:
- 1 ½ cups packed fine blanched almond flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
- 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- For the salted tahini caramel:
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- For the chocolate layer:
- 3/4 cup chocolate chips (dairy free if desired)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- Fancy sea salt, for sprinkling on top
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8 inch square pan with parchment paper. It’s important to use an 8×8 inch as a 9×9 inch pan may be too big.
In a medium bowl add the almond flour, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract and salt. Mix together with a fork until it forms a nice thick crumb texture. Add to pan and use your fingers to evenly press down into the pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow crust to cool for 10 minutes before adding caramel.
Next make the salted tahini caramel: Add the tahini, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract and sea salt to a medium pot and place over medium-low heat for approximately 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour over the slightly cooled crust.
Place in fridge for at least 30 minutes-1 hour to harden the caramel. It shouldn’t take longer than this, but if you are impatient, just place in freezer for 15-20 minutes, this should speed up the process.
After 30 minutes, make the chocolate layer: Add chocolate chips and coconut oil to a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high in 30 second increments, stirring in between until chocolate is completely melted. If you prefer, you can also melt the chocolate and coconut oil in small saucepan over low heat.
Pour over the caramel layer and tilt pan side-to-side to evenly distribute the melted chocolate. Place in fridge for an hour until chocolate is completely hardened and bars are cooled.
Remove bars from pan, sprinkle with fancy sea salt and cut into 16 squares. Enjoy! Bars should be kept covered in the fridge until ready to serve.
If you don’t want to use almond flour, I suggest hazelnut flour. You could also gluten free oat flour in place of the almond flour, although you may need to add a little more melted coconut oil so that it feels wet.
Servings: 16 squares
Serving size: 1 bar
Saturated fat: 10g
This post was originally published on October 25th, 2018, and republished on May 27th, 2023.