I generally don’t embrace with any real enthusiasm holidays I regard as being US imports and, in truth, we don’t get too many trick or treaters at Halloween but enough that I’ll be embarrassed if I don’t have anything to give to them. I’m unwilling to add to their caches of sugar laden treats, so I’ve made some that could be labelled “healthy” from a variety of nutrient-dense ingredients that, unbeknown to the kids, are loaded with fibre, healthy fats, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
These homemade chocolate- coated caramel bars are made of three simple, delicious layers. The base is a coconut oil, syrup and ground almond layer that provides the perfect nutty flavour and texture.
Next is the divine, gooey, salted, date caramel layer. Medjool dates which are filled with fibre, calcium, potassium and zinc, are blended with water and sea salt to form a thick paste.
The bars are then topped with melted dark chocolate – the darker the better. Look for a small bar (70 % cacao or higher) filled with antioxidants and high quality fats to make these homemade bars even more tempting. Kids in France tend to prefer dark chocolate.
Ingredients (makes 12 small square bars)
- 100g (1 cup) almond flour made from toasted, ground almonds
- 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1 1/2 tbsp brown rice syrup (or date or maple syrup)
- 300g (1 ½ cups) Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
- 13 tbsp (¾ cup) warm filtered water
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 100g (3 oz) small bar 70% min. dark chocolate, melted
- 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1. Line a small tin with greaseproof (parchment) paper and set aside.
2. In a small bowl mix together almond flour, coconut oil and syrup until well combined. Spread the mixture into the bottom of the lined tin and place in the freezer to set.
3. In a high-speed blender, or food processor, combine the pitted dates, filtered water and sea salt. Blend on high for 30-45 seconds, or until the dates are completely liquefied and the mixture is thick and creamy. If the date mixture is too runny, add in another date or two.
4. Pour the date liquid over the top of the set almond base in the tin. Return the tin to the freezer and let mixture set for one hour.
5. After an hour, remove the tin from freezer. Pour melted dark chocolate and coconut oil mix (melt in microwave or in bain marie) over the top, completely covering the date mixture.
6. Place the tin back in freezer and let it sit for 6 hours, or overnight. Can you wait that long?
7. After the bars are well chilled, remove from the freezer. Gently remove lining paper and bars out of the tin and place on a cutting board. Cut into small, medium or large bars with a warm, sharp knife. Whatever your heart desires!
8. Store the bars in an airtight container in the fridge where they’ll keep for two weeks – not that they’ll last that long – or, alternatively, they’ll keep (well-hidden) in the freezer for two months.
Sheree’s Handy Hints
1. Make extra salted date caramel to add to smoothies, pour over ice cream, drizzle on sweet potatoes and oh so much more……………..
2. Feel free to add a little pinch of flaky sea salt on top of the bars for an extra dose of salty sweet flavor.
3. Make the bars more like snickers bars with the addition of a few peanuts in the caramel layer.
4. Not that I had any complaints from my testers but, the next time I make these bars, I’m going to double up on base and chocolate layers, so that they’re a similar thickness to caramel layer.