With autumn and Halloween coming up I wanted to get started on some super fun, simple, and yummy seasonal recipes. The lovely MIA Chocolate sent me out some of their gorgeous 75% Dark Chocolate to have a play around with and so I instantly thought of whipping up a Millionaire’s Shortbread with a seasonal twist, and that’s when the Pumpkin Pie Millionaire’s Shortbread was born. Believe it or not, there is not another recipe like it anywhere on the net – I searched high and low but found nada! Before I get stuck into the recipe I want to introduce you to MIA, let you know what they stand for, and why MIA chocolate should be your go-to, guilt-free snack.
Who Are MIA?
To get an idea of who MIA are and what they are trying to achieve you need to understand what their name means. No, it’s not ‘Missing in Action’ but rather Made In Africa. Although Africa produces a whopping 65% of the world’s cocoa, the communities in Africa that are part of this production process only financially benefit from less than 1% of this figure. MIA founders Brett and Sarah strived to give back to the African community and wanted to create a brand that gave a positive connection between both the producers and the consumers. In 2017 MIA was founded and with the help of an African development entrepreneur, they began to source the finest quality Madagascan cocoa from different farms, supporting over 40 farmers by teaching them how to ferment and dry the beans to top standards. They then set about partnering with a local chocolate factory to create a fair supply chain for everyone involved. There’s a lot of communication between the whole team and everyone gets to give their feedback and be a part of what MIA is doing.
Although MIA’s farmers are not Fair Trade certified they do practice the core values established by Fair Trade, such as fair price and development support. They also regularly conduct periodic reviews with their production partners to ensure that our cocoa farmer suppliers are receiving prices either at or above Fair Trade levels.
And, as if all of this weren’t enough MIA runs a programme called 1 For Change which contributes 1% of all sales to projects that can help protect local endangered species, create a healthier environment, and improve a community’s livelihoods. To find out about MIA’s most recent projects head on over to their blog.
Why is MIA’s Chocolate so Special?
MIA uses only Madagascan cocoa in their chocolate, the finest cocoa in the world that has beautiful fruity and acidic notes with a complimentary bitter edge. The soil and climate Sambirano Valley where MIA sources its cocoa are perfect for growing this amazing cocoa. The combination of the natural minerals within the soil, the microclimate, flower, and fauna all provide a unique biome or “terroir” allowing the beans to produce a very special fruity flavour characteristic.
Set aside the amazing ethics of MIA, a lot of work has been put in to ensure that the whole bean-to-bar production process, from fermentation, roasting, shelling and grinding to tempering, is flawless. MIA aren’t yet certified organic but a lot of their ingredients are naturally organic – the cocoa that makes up over 50% of every product has been grown organically under the shade of hardwood trees. MIA uses pure cane sugar in their chocolate so if you’re strict Paleo ensure that you use their 100% bar in this recipe and sweeten to your tastes using a Paleo-friendly sweetener if you wish. The good news though, is that they purchase their cane sugar from local growers in Madagascar again helps to contribute towards African communities positively.
All MIA chocolate products are gluten and dairy free and produced in a gluten-free facility. They sadly aren’t suitable for nut allergy sufferers as some of the products contain nuts whilst the rest may contain traces due to being produced in the same facility. Although 100% dairy-free the bars could contain traces of milk so if you’re vegan you may want to take a pass.
After just one bite I can vouch for this gorgeously fruity chocolate which has just the right balance of acidity, sweetness, and bitterness, and probably one of the smoothest melt in the mouth textures you will ever experience. It really tastes pure and reminds me a lot of raw chocolate – it’s honestly a dream to eat!
MIA Chocolate is currently available in 7 different flavours; 75%, 100%, Almond & Coconut, Candied Orange, Coconut, Cranberry & Hazelnut, and Hemp & Almond. Each bar weighs 75g and costs £4.00. They also sell 4 and 6 bar multipacks with ample savings so go grab yourself some from here.
Pumpkin Pie Millionaire’s Shortbread with MIA Chocolate
So, now that you know how amazing MIA’s chocolate is, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty.
Before I made this recipe my gut feeling was to create a no-bake version but for some reason, my heart just said no. You see, growing up I was heavily obsessed with Caramel Slices, a.k.a. Millionaire’s Shortbread, it was one of the very few treats that we were allowed, and of course, they always had to be home baked. When I think of seasonal recipes there’s an element of nostalgia that springs to mind – namely the delicious spiced aroma wafting around the kitchen. You just can’t achieve that same feeling with raw food, it’s close but just not close enough.
Lose yourself in complete dessert indulgence with these Pumpkin Pie Millionaire’s Shortbread. Melt-in-the-mouth shortbread and pumpkin infused caramel, topped with MIA’s 75% Dark Chocolate.
This recipe might seem a little lengthy and complicated but it’s actually quite simple – once you’ve got your shortbread in the oven you can get to making your coconut milk based condensed milk. Don’t skip this step out as it’s crucial to creating the perfect caramel consistency and rich flavour notes. Once the condensed milk cools it’s a simple matter of throwing in some extra ingredients including a hefty amount of pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice, thickening, then pouring over your cooled shortbread base. And then, of course, it’s just melting your gorgeous MIA chocolate and throwing it over the top.
I might have gone a little OTT with the caramel so, by all means, feel free to half the amount of ingredients when making them. The only downside to having that much caramel is that these are super messy to eat. I just really like caramel I’m sorry! If you’re vegan or dairy-free then you can sub the butter in both the shortbread and caramel for a palm oil based shortening such as Nutiva’s Organic Shortening – this is a combination of coconut and palm oil, both of which are organic and sustainably sourced. If you’re in the UK you can pick it up from Amazon for around £8.
Like I said before this recipe is all about nostalgia, which in my books means indulgence. This isn’t a recipe you should whip up regularly, it’s one to crack out when you’re feeling glum due to the change in daylight or for a special occasion when you can share with your loved ones. Although this contains ‘healthier’ unprocessed sugars, and yes you won’t feel half as bad eating these as you would their unhealthy counterparts, please do not be fooled into thinking you won’t go up a jean size if you binge eat them daily. As always you have my utmost transparency, and being healthy doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself. In fact, most people that attempt to be strict Paleo, or follow strict diets, fall off the rails majorly. Again we can still attempt to make these treats healthier and more nutritious than normal. But ultimately, enjoy yourselves, people – you only live once!
Looking for more mouthwatering seasonal treats? Why not try my Beetroot Pie with Vanilla Creme oh, and to keep up to date with my deliciousness sign up for my newsletter and I’ll love you forever – who am I kidding? I already do!
- 70g coconut flour
- 40g ground almonds
- 20g arrowroot powder (can be subbed for corn, sweet potato, or tapioca starch)
- 30g coconut sugar
- 20g xylitol or erythritol and stevia blend (sub for 30g coconut sugar if needed)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 125g grass-fed organic butter or organic palm shortening (cubed, room temperature)
- 2 tins/800ml full fat coconut milk (preferably free from gums/additives)
- ⅓ cup agave nectar/coconut nectar/maple syrup/raw honey
- ⅓ cup xylitol/erythritol (can be replaced with agave/maple syrup)
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ¾ tsp allspice
- 400g coconut condensed milk (see above recipe)
- ¾ cup/200g tinned pumpkin puree
- 120g grass-fed organic butter or organic palm shortening
- 30g xylitol or erythritol
- 1 tbsp agave nectar/coconut nectar/maple syrup/raw honey
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1-3 tsp Raw Nice Dunaliella Salina powder or Carrot Powder (optional for colour)
- Line a loose-based brownie tin (20cm/8"x20cm/8"x6cm/1.5") with greaseproof non-stick paper and set to one side.
- Sift together your ground almonds, coconut flour, and arrowroot powder into a large mixing bowl. Add your sea salt, xylitol, agave, and vanilla extract and stir until combined. Rub in your softened butter/shortening until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Knead the mixture together until it forms a dough, then press into your lined tin in a nice even layer. Place your shortbread into the freezer for a for 10 minutes until firm. Whilst your shortbread is in the freezer pre-heat your oven to 170°C/325°F/gas 3. If using a fan assisted oven set it to 150°C.
- Remove the shortbread from the freezer and prick with a fork. Place onto the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 20 minutes until a light golden brown colour. Remove and leave to cool completely in the tin.
- Now it's time to make your condensed milk. Place your coconut milk, agave nectar, and xylitol (if using) into a medium heavy bottomed pan. Place on a low heat and bring to a simmer. Gently simmer for 30-40 minutes until the coconut milk has darkened and thickened, stirring occasionally. The mixture should have reduced by roughly half. Leave to cool in the pan at room temperature. Whilst your condensed milk is cooking stir together the ingredients for the pumpkin pie spice mix and set to one side.
- Once cooled add your remaining caramel ingredients, except for the Dunaliella Salina powder, into the condensed milk and whisk until combined. Place on a low heat until the sugar has dissolved then up to a medium heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring continuously, for about 15-20 minutes or until the mixture has thickened. Whisk in your Dunaliella Salina powder if using then pour over the shortbread and leave to cool completely.
- Once your caramel has cooled combine your MIA chocolate in a double boiler, be sure that the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl, and melt the chocolate. Leave to cool for 5 minutes before pouring over the caramel layer. Cool completely then freeze for 15 minutes until firm.
- Using a hot, wet knife score lines into the set chocolate until it breaks through to the caramel. Wipe your knife using a clean damp cloth and carefully slice through to the base. be sure to wipe your knife clean after every cut. Make sure you slice whilst still in the tin then remove your slices carefully. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days within the refrigerator.
*All cup measurements used are UK cup measurements and so 1 cup = 250ml.
DISCLAIMER: Please note that this is a sponsored post. Although I am not an MIA affiliate I was paid in both hard earned cash and chocolate goodies in order to create this delicious recipe for you all. Any money earned I use to pay my bills, feed my kids, and to fund my blog to keep bringing you free, quality content. All opinions are my own and 100% honest. If you buy anything from the MIA website using any of the links contained with my post I will not earn a commission. If you’d like to know more, feel free to contact me.