In work this week I introduced Living Energetically to my work colleagues, which led to a few conversations about living a healthy life style. These conversations are nothing new in my department and there are constant conversations about living healthy, trying to lose weight, and food in general (however I’m pretty sure this is the case in most offices and work places!!). I don’t think a Monday has passed yet this year without someone trying a new diet. By Thursday however the trips to the sandwich shop have started and packets of biscuits have re-immerged (but I think 8 hours a day with hormonal teenagers in school is as good a reason as any to justify cake or pizza rolls on a Friday!).
Now I have not told you all this to encourage you to go out and eat pizza rolls and cake (sorry to disappoint). I have told you this because it explains this week choice of recipe. During our debate about living without sugar, most people’s big issue was how do you cope without sweet treats? Things like cake, chocolate and desserts without any refined sugar. And so I decided to try and show them that you don’t need a big dose of the white stuff to have a sweet treat. I would like to take a minute here to point out that if you eat sugar it is much harder to live day to day without craving it. I think that’s why many people can’t picture life without it, or are a bit scared to try and live without it simply because they can’t picture getting through life without something sweet. When trying to stop eating sugar some people can even suffer with drawl symptoms (seriously sugar is like a drug). Once you immerge through that initial tough period of ditching sugar though it becomes quite easy to life without it. You no longer crave sweets and your energy levels skyrocket!
But I think it’s important that people realize that giving up sugar doesn’t mean you have to give up all biscuits, treats and cakes because occasionally we all need a little treat, we just have to adapt them a little bit.
So this is where this weeks mission started, proving to my lovely group of colleagues that sugar-free does not have to mean treat-free. Now I had to choose something that was super sweet, indulgent, could be enjoyed by many (we’re a pretty big and sociable department) and above all else had to be refined sugar free! I’ve been wanting to try making something caramel-centered for a while and this was my perfect opportunity, I mean what’s more sweet or indulgent than caramel. I’ve also wanted to try and develop a shortbread recipe ready for Christmas time (I’m not sure why but I’ve always associated one with the other).
This was the perfect time to perfect Millionaire Caramel Shortbread.
I haven’t been this excited about a recipe in a while (seriously I could barely sleep the night before!). I love caramel shortbread and I couldn’t wait to see if you could make a sugar free version! And trust me I definitely succeeded with these amazing little delights. You really feel like your getting a treat and there is a lovely balance of sweet and salty caramel, nutty biscuit and bitter chocolate.
To anyone concerned about whether these shortbread biscuits are sweet enough without any refined sugar, trust me they are plenty sweet. The sweetness in these beautiful little treats comes from honey and dates. This combined with the fact they have no refined flour or animal products in them makes them vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free and paleo friendly. So I invite you all to give this recipe a go!
Serves: 20 Time: 3 hours Difficulty: Medium
- 2 Cups Ground Almonds
- ½ Cup of Raw Pecans (Chopped)
- ½ tsp of Baking Powder
- A Pinch of Sea Salt
- ¼ Cup of Honey
- ¼ Cup of Coconut Oil (melted and cooled)
- 1 tsp of Vanilla Extract
- 1 Cup Pitted Dates + 3 Pitted Dates
- 1½ Tbsp Peanut Butter (or any other nut butter (almond butter works well to make them Paleo).
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 cup Almond Milk (Or other non-dairy milk)
- 1 Tbsp of Honey
- ½ Cup of Coconut Oil
- ½ Cup of Cacao Powder (Or Unsweetened Cocoa Powder).
- 4 Tsp of Honey
- ½ Tsp of Vanilla extract
To make the shortbread –
- In a bowl, mix together the 1st four ingredients before adding the remaining wet ingredients, and mix until it forms a dough.
- Press the dough evenly into the bottom of a deep baking tray and place in the freezer for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C, and cook the dough for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the baking tray (it will feel quite soft when removed from the oven but will harden as it cools.
To make the caramel –
- Place the cup of dates in hot water and allow to soak for 15 minutes.
- Drain the dates and add them and all other ingredients (including the non-soaked dates) to a food processor.
- Blend until smooth (This may take a few minutes to ensure dates are a caramel texture).
- Place the mixture in the fridge for 10 minutes to set slightly before adding to the biscuit base.
- Smooth the caramel mixture evenly over the biscuit base and place in the freezer for 20 minutes while you make the chocolate.
To make the chocolate –
- Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and warm slowly on a low heat until melted.
- Allow to cool slightly before pouring over the caramel.
- Spread the chocolate evenly over the caramel and return to the freezer for 10 minutes before slicing into pieces.