I learned two valuable lessons while creating this dairy free salted caramel shortbread recipe.

Dairy free salted caramel chocolate shortbread

1. Don’t attempt to make dairy free caramel when the heat index is well into the triple digits.

2. Write down your recipe creation immediately. Do not throw away your notes, do not proceed to the beach for a week and not think about it; do not pass go; do not collect $200.

I also probably learned that even if something intimidates you, give it a try anyway. What’s the worst that can happen? A sticky, sugary mess that tastes delicious?


Months and months ago I got a postcard in the mail for a free Starbucks petite treat, a tiny-bite sized dessert that was the new “in” thing at the coffee shop. I haphazardly picked the salted caramel square, thinking I wanted to know what this whole salt + caramel thing was about.

starbucks petite treat salted caramel square

Oh.my. My mouth was blown away. You all know I’m not a chocolate person- that means everything else in the bite has to be good enough to make up for the chocolate flavor, and boy did it.

I knew immediately I’d have to recreate it; eventually I did. And just for fun, I made it dairy free and vegan too.

vegan salted caramel squares


Dairy Free Salted Caramel Chocolate Shortbread

First whip up the shortbread base and let cool completely while working on the dairy free caramel.

ingredients for vegan caramel - dairy free

Melt sugar, cream, and golden syrup. {You can try using a mix of corn syrup & molasses if you can’t find golden syrup.}

Stir in dairy free butter, then let boil without stirring until the temperature reaches 245 degrees. {I used a never-before-used-meat-thermometer. It sorted of worked.} If you don’t have a thermometer, the caramel mixture should stick thickly to a spoon. Drop a bit of caramel in cold water- if it makes a firm ball, you’re ready.

how to make vegan caramel

Pour caramel layer over shortbread and spread evenly. Let cool before starting chocolate layer.

caramel shortbread

Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil over a double boiler. The coconut oil will help keep the chocolate from getting too hard when it cools.

melt chocolate with double boiler

Spread over caramel layer.

making layered bars

Sprinkle with fleur de sel.

chocolate topped with fleur de sel

Let cool before slicing. Pull shortbread out of pan using foil so it’s easier to cut.

salted caramel chocolate bar

Slice into bite-sized pieces- this stuff is powerfully sweet! If chocolate cracks, score the top with the tip of your knife and let it warm up a little bit before cutting.

dairy free millionarie's shortbread recipe

vegan millionaire's shortbread recipe


Salted Caramel Chocolate Shortbread

Salted Caramel Chocolate Shortbread


  • 1/2 cup non-dairy butter, cold
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • Caramel
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup non dairy creamer {I used Silk soy creamer}
  • 1/2 cup golden syrup {I used Lyle’s.}
  • 1 Tbsp non dairy butter
  • 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • Chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips {can use milk chocolate if not making vegan}
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp high quality sea salt {fleur de sel}


  1. Put butter, flour, brown sugar, and salt for shortbread in food processor and chop until blended.
  2. Press mixture into 11x7 or 9x9 baking dish lined with foil & greased, packing firmly. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
  3. Let cool thoroughly before moving on. {Can place in fridge.}
  4. In a large saucepan over medium heat, mix granulated sugar, creamer, and golden syrup. Stir consistently until sugar dissolves. If you have a thermometer, use it.
  5. When sugar dissolves, stir in butter. Continue stirring until mixture boils; hands off- don’t touch now!
  6. Let mixture boil until it reaches 245 degrees.
  7. Stir in vanilla, then pour on top of shortbread and spread evenly. Let cool completely.
  8. Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil over double boiler, stirring until smooth.
  9. Poor over caramel layer and spread evenly.
  10. Before chocolate hardens, sprinkle generously with fleur de sel.
  11. Let cool. May need to refrigerate or even freeze.
  12. Slice into bite sized pieces.


Voila. Salty, sweet, deliciousness.

recipe for starbucks salted caramel squares

If only the temperature weren’t in the triple digits and my caramel could survive more than 30 seconds outside the fridge. Perhaps I should wait until fall or winter before attempting this decadent dessert again.

dairy free caramel drizzle

Although it might just be too good to wait…