Salted Millionaire’s Shortbread Bars (Secret Recipe Club)

Happy Memorial Day! I hope y’all are enjoying your holiday so far 🙂 It’s been cold and rainy for most of the weekend yet these decadent shortbread bars kept a smile on my face…

I can’t believe another month has flown by and reveal day is here again…this month’s Secret Recipe Club assignment was Lucy and Shannon’s spunky Double the Sugar blog. These two ladies are friends “from across the pond” who share a love for sugar and carb-filled goodies…you can’t go wrong there, right?

Once I spotted their Millionaire Shortbread Bars, I was sold. I knew I had to make them…no question, hands-down, I was on a mission to create a healthier and gluten-free version of these sinful treats. While these are a tad healthier, I wouldn’t call these “healthy” by any means 🙂

Since I basically eat my goodies all by myself, I decided to halve the recipe to start with. To make these gluten free, I made an almond flour shortbread crust in lieu of the gluten-filled original and reduced the sugar by replacing the white sugar with xylitol.

The salted caramel filling was made from scratch with coconut palm sugar, coconut milk, honey/agave and nut butter for a refined sugar-free treat. I opted for unsweetened carob chips that were melted with a touch of coconut oil and a couple tablespoons of nut butter for the topping…though your favorite milk or dark chocolate could easily be used if carob isn’t your favorite.

Sinful squares of delicious goodness with a chewy caramel center, crumbly grain-free crust and a salted topping…need I say more?

Salted Millionaire’s Shortbread Bars (inspired from Double the Sugar)
gluten free, grain-free with vegan option 


1 1/4 cups almond flour
1/3 cup granulated xylitol (or coconut palm sugar or other granulated sugar)
1/8 tsp sea salt
4 Tbsp butter, ghee or vegan Earth Balance

Caramel Filling
3/4 cup coconut milk fat (could probably use whipping cream as well but this is not dairy-free)
2 Tbsp honey, agave or brown rice syrup (do not use honey for vegan)
3/4 cup coconut palm sugar (I pulsed mine in a blender to help dissolve more quickly)
2 Tbsp cashew butter (or other nut butter)
1 Tbsp coconut oil, butter, ghee or Earth Balance (use oil or Earth Balance for vegan)
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Top Layer
1 1/4 cups unsweetened carob chips (or use your favorite chocolate chips or dairy-free chips for vegan)
2-3 tsp coconut oil, butter, ghee or Earth Balance (use oil or Earth Balance for vegan)
2 Tbsp cashew butter (almond butter or peanut butter can be substituted for a different flavor)

For garnish, optional
fleur de sel (I used grey finishing salt, this adds that extra wow factor…)


To prepare the Crust
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease one 8-inch square pan (or a large loaf pan for thicker bars) and coat with a sprinkle of almond flour.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, add almond flour, sweetener and salt and pulse once. Add butter/Earth  Balance and pulse until mixture resembles peas. Press the shortbread mixture into prepared pan and bake until golden brown around the edges, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

To prepare caramel filling 
1. Refrigerate one can of full-fat coconut milk overnight and scoop the fat off of the top to measure 1 cup.
2. Add coconut milk and honey/agave to a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until smooth, about 1 minute.
3. Place the coconut milk fat into a small sauce pan and heat over medium heat until liquid. Add the palm sugar and whisk until combined. Boil mixture for about 15-20 minutes, whisking well every few minutes.
4. Add nut butter, butter/oil, vanilla and salt, let bubble and continue to let cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly until mixture thickens.
5. Remove from heat and pour over prepared crust. Refrigerate or let cool to room temperature.

To prepare the top layer 

1.  In a double broiler or a glass bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chips and oil/butter. Stir in the nut butter until smooth.
2. Pour mixture over the cooled caramel layer. Cool at room temperature for about 10 minutes, sprinkle with fleur de sel (if desired, makes the bars really pop in my opinion) and then place in the refrigerator to cool completely, allowing chocolate to slightly harden, it’ll get a more matte look to the topping when firm.
3. Cut into 2-inch squares and enjoy *Tip: run hot water over the blade of a sharp knife, wipe dry and slice for cleaner cuts.

To store, put it in an airtight container and store in the fridge.

For other Secret Recipe Club reveal recipes:


Celery Root Fries

We made it to the weekend!

What goes along with burgers? Fries of course! I made a batch of my Kitchen Sink Veggie Burgers last night and tried out a new veggie — celery root or celeriac…and in the form of fries 🙂

These were a healthy substitute for the fried potato version though they will not satisfy your craving for the original if that’s what you are after. I thought I should throw that out there in case you are looking for the real deal…

Baked veggie fries are a yummy stand-in when you want a lighter side dish. If you are looking for a healthy snack or simply a recipe to branch out and be adventurous, this may be a good start 🙂

Celery root has a mild celery taste that is slightly detectable in this recipe. These fries are best served right from the oven to maintain their slight crispiness…with or without ketchup or mustard, I suggest you give them a go!

I followed Kelly’s easy recipe for these fries at The Spunky Coconut, hope on over to her post for the recipe!

I will be purchasing another celery root again for additional experimentation…I hear pureeing this veggie in soup is scrumptious or even making a hash with veggies for a side or main dish. The wheels are turning…

Kitchen Sink Veggie Burgers + Grain-Free Flax Bun

This recipe is way, WAY overdue. I made these veggies burgers back in December and completely forgot about them…better late then never I guess! It’s one of those that slipped through the cracks but I couldn’t help but share.

Also, I want apologize to the fabulous Cara for making her wait so long for this one. She mentioned veggie burgers were one of her favorite things and I’ve since deprived her for 5 months…shame on me! I hope it was worth the wait 🙂

This recipe was born out of desperation. I was without a car for a week after first moving to Montana and I was too much of a baby to walk to the store in the middle of a winter storm.  Instead of being lazy and snacking on brownies + chips and salsa, I decided to be creative on a healthier approach while using up a few leftover veggies and canned beans. Thank goodness I did, these were delicious!

I had just made my orange-scented cranberry sauce the day before and this was the perfect topping for these veggie burgers. Along with a generous smear of Vegenaise, fresh spinach leaves and sprouts, this burger was a hearty and satisfying meal. These patties are actually on my to-cook list this week…it’s about time I whipped up another batch!

Kitchen Sink Veggie Burgers 

Patty Ingredients

1 egg or flax egg for vegan (1 tbsp ground flax mixed with 3 tbsp water, let sit for a few minutes)
1 cup cooked black beans
1 cup cooked garbanzo beans
1/2 cup small diced onion
1/3 cup green or red bell pepper, small diced
1/4 cup celery, small diced (can omit or increase the bell pepper if desired)
2 – 3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp coconut oil, butter, ghee, or Earth Balance, melted
1/4 cup sunflower seeds (I used roasted for extra flavor but raw is ok too)
1 Tbsp gluten free soy sauce, Bragg’s liquid aminos or tamari

Spice-Binding Mixture
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 to 1 tsp paprika
3/4 to 1 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp celery salt
sea salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats, ground into a flour
1 Tbsp flaxseed meal

coconut oil/butter/ghee/Earth Balance/olive oil for pan-sauteing

For Serving
Flax bun below OR your favorite gluten free bun or sandwich bread
Vegenaise or mayo
Alfalfa sprouts
Orange-Scented Cranberry Sauce  (this completed the meal! or use a sweet and tart chutney)
Fresh spinach leaves or leaf lettuce


1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the spice mixture.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine egg/flax egg and beans. Mash beans with a fork until chunky (I left some whole beans but this helps keep the patty together).
3. Add in remaining patty ingredients and stir to incorporate well.
4. Sprinkle in the spice-binding mixture and stir again to combine and evenly distribute until the batter comes together.
5. Divide into 6 balls and flatten into patties about 2/3 inch thick and lay on the baking sheet. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, preheat large skillet (preferred) over medium heat or oven to 350F.
For Skillet Method: heat a small amount of oil/butter in pan and saute for 5-6 minutes on each side until slightly crispy and lightly browned
For Oven Method: Bake patties at 350F for 14-16 minutes on each side until lightly browned (this method results in a slightly drier patty but is lower fat)
7. Assemble the burger by spreading Vegenaise or mayo on bun/sandwich bread. Top with spinach leaves, patty, sprouts, cranberry sauce and enjoy!

As for the flax bun, this was an experiment that needs a little tweaking. This bun is a little crumbly…ok, a lot crumbly due to the lack of eggs or gums. While very yummy, this one is a work in progress if you are looking for a “typical” bread that holds up well. I wound up eating this burger with a fork and knife but I enjoyed every last bit!

Vegan, Grain-Free Flax Bun 


1/3 cup + 2 tsp flaxseed meal
dash of sea salt
1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp seasoning to taste (italian, cajun, southwest, etc)
1 Tbsp chia seed meal (I ground white chia seeds)
1 rounded Tbsp chickpea flour (could sub oat flour)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp + 3-4 Tbsp water
1 1/2 tsp olive oil/coconut oil/ grapeseed or Earth Balance melted


1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a small baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a small mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. Stir in wet ingredients until incorporated.
3. Spread mixture into a circle onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes, cut in half horizontally carefully, top/fill and enjoy!

Makes 1 bun

Tangy Orange Pomegranate Smoothie Bowl

Have you ever eaten (or slurped) a smoothie out of a bowl like soup? Apparently, this is a blog/food trend that I missed…

Naturally, I had to give it a try…it was an experience, but I admit that I prefer to sip a smoothie from a glass. Now, if I added some crunchy granola on top I might be singing a different tune. Or maybe I was quite hungry and the spoon got in the way 🙂

Whether enjoyed in a bowl or glass, this smoothie is a refreshing breakfast, snack or light meal. The pomegranate and orange juice combo really hit the spot and the tangy citrus notes and slightly sour arils remind me of summer. Hot days here we come!

Tangy Orange Pomegranate Smoothie Bowl 


1/4 cup pomegranate arils
1/3 – 1/2 cup orange juice
1/3 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
splash of pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (cottage cheese, silken tofu, or non-dairy yogurt – use tofu/non-dairy for vegan)
drizzle of honey/agave, 1 date or a pinch of stevia – optional for added sweetness
1 Tbsp chia seed or chia meal (for extra nutrition, flax would also be a great addition)

Pomegranate arils for garnish and texture, optional
For an extra protein boost, add 1/2 to 1 scoop of your favorite protein powder
Serving suggestion: Crunchy Superfood Buckwheat Granola or other cereal for serving


1. Add all ingredients except to a blender and blend until completely smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Pour into a bowl (or glass), sprinkle with arils and/or granola and enjoy!