Sometimes you want healthier treats that look and taste decadent like these caramel slices, so scrumptious that my cake-testing friends all said ‘Wow! They’re amazing!’ at first bite. Their eyes widened with delight, even more so upon hearing these treats are good for you! The soft pastry-like base holds well, made of ground nuts, coconut flour and oil, sweetened with maple syrup and optional coconut sugar. The delicious middle caramel layer interspersed with crunchy nuts is a combination of dates, pure almond or peanut butter, coconut oil and salt. And the crunchy dark chocolate top layer is swirled with sesame and chia seeds adding texture and flavour. So these slices are gluten-free, dairy-free with no added or refined sugars. And delicious. Yay! Do you want your own little stock of healthy chocolate and nut caramel slices?
Go on… the recipe’s no-bake and very easy. And they’re pretty healthy!
Healthy and happy
I’m not an expert on dietary matters but I think the 70% dark chocolate will make you happy and the dates give you energy and stabilise your sugar levels. The nuts of your choice provide numerous health benefits. I used a combination of almonds, walnuts and pecans with a little pure organic peanut butter. Coconut flour is meant to have interesting health benefits and the optional coconut sugar is derived from natural processes with a small amount of nutrients regular sugar doesn’t have. Dates are quite high in natural sugar and these slices are very satisfying so you probably only need two or three a day.
I was inspired by Food for the soul’s Raw caramel and walnut slices and Nadia’s Healthy Kitchen’s Healthy caramel slices. This recipe combines elements of both but the main difference is mine have less coconut and the topping’s dark chocolate, not cocoa and coconut oil. I also add nut pieces to the caramel because I like my crunchy bits. The very subtle background flavour is a combination of salt, ginger, vanilla and the chia and toasted sesame seeds but you can easily play with this recipe to suit your tastes.
You need a food processor or equipment that grinds nuts fine and the dates into a paste.
- line a rectangle baking tin (about 27 x 19 x 3cm/11 x 7 x 1in) with baking paper
- soak the dates 15 – 30 minutes in cold water so they soften for the caramel, then drain
- melt 4 and a half tablespoons coconut oil in a small saucepan, over low heat
Bottom ‘pastry-like’ layer
- 90g/3/4 cup walnuts or pecans
- 75g/3/4 cup ground almonds
- 30g/3 tablespoons coconut flour
- 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 2 tbsp maple syrup or honey
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar (or maple syrup/honey)
- half a teaspoon ground ginger, optional
- half a teaspoon pure vanilla essence
Middle caramel and nut layer
- 350-400g/12-14oz mejdool dates, pitted and soaked (about 3 and a half to 4 cups)
- 2 tablespoons natural organic almond, peanut or cashew butter
- 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon coconut oil (left in the pan from the oil you melted)
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, or a little more to taste
- 1 tbsp maple syrup and 2 tbsp cold water, optional (only add if your mixture seems too thick)
- 50-60g/scant 1/2 cup chopped pecans, walnuts or pistachios
Top chocolate layer
- 100-150g/3 and a half to 5oz 70% dark chocolate (like good-quality Lindt)
- 1 tbsp toasted white sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp toasted black sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- some extra white sesame seeds to sprinkle on top
Note: with 100g -110g dark chocolate you’ll have a softer thin layer but with 150g there’ll be a thicker crunch. The seeds are optional.
Melt the chocolate over a bain marie. Stir in the sesame and chia seeds. Spread over the cold caramel layer very quickly with a small spatula knife. Work quickly because it starts hardening on the cold caramel. You can sprinkle white sesame seeds on top while the chocolate is still soft for a nice visual effect.
Quickly cut the slices before the chocolate layer is completely set. Use a big serrated bread knife and cut straight down with a sawing motion, to and fro. Test a slice to check it’s okay. 🙂
Eating and storing
You can eat these immediately but they seem tastier after a day or two and keep up to 2 weeks in the fridge. They can be taken on trips, to work, the park or when you go training and they make a nice breakfast or tea. In other words good any time! 🙂
So if you fancy a healthy decadent treat try these chocolate and nut caramel slices!
Thanks for dropping in again sweet and healthy reader and have a lovely end of the week and weekend! Happy baking, no-baking and eating! 🙂 x