In Katherine Sabbath’s latest book, Bake My Day, she shares delicious sweet treats like this Vegan Caramel Slice recipe, guaranteed to be a hit with friends and family.
Some of my mates are vegan or lactose intolerant, so I wanted to create a version of everyone’s favourite treat that they could enjoy. While I always believe in options, there is no substitute for the tinned sweetened condensed coconut milk in this recipe – replacing it may change the structure of the caramel and cause it to curdle.
Ingredients (Makes 16-20)
Chewy Shortbread Base
2 cups (300 g) plain (all-purpose) flour
½ cup (45 g) desiccated coconut
⅔ cup (150 g) vegan butter or margarine
½ cup (60 g) icing (confectioners’) sugar
Pinch sea salt
To Make the Shortbread Base
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) fan-forced. Grease a 20 cm (8 inch) square cake tin, 6 cm (2½ inches) deep, and line with baking paper so that the paper creates a collar around 5 cm (2 inches) higher than the cake tin – this will help you lift the slice out later. Add all the ingredients and 1 tablespoon water to a food processor and blitz until combined. The mixture should stick together when it is pinched between two fingers. Add a little more water if the mixture is too crumbly or more flour if it’s too soft. Firmly press the base mixture into the tin. Bake for 10 minutes, or until slightly golden.
640 g (1 lb 7 oz) tinned sweetened condensed coconut milk
280 g (10 oz) vegan butter or margarine
½ cup (110 g) firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons rice malt syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
To Make the Caramel Filling
Place all the ingredients into a saucepan and heat over medium– high heat. Simmer, stirring constantly, for 15 minutes, or until the caramel is a deep golden brown colour and has reached 120°C (235°F) on a candy thermometer. If you are unsure, just cook the caramel until thickened and whisk to emulsify any split oil back into the caramel. Pour the caramel into the tin and set aside in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or until the caramel is firm to the touch.
210 g (7½ oz) vegan chocolate, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons (45 g) coconut oil, melted, or unflavoured vegetable oil
To Make the Chocolate Topping
Put the chocolate and coconut oil in a clean, dry, heatproof bowl over a saucepan of just-simmering water (the water should not touch the base of the bowl). Gently stir with a silicone spatula until melted. Pour the melted chocolate on top of the caramel layer and return the slice to the refrigerator to set. To serve, pull the baking paper up to remove the slice from the tin. Use a sharp knife to cut it into squares or rectangles.
This slice can be stored refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 1 month.