Monday, 1 December 2014

Vegan Salted Chocolate Covered Caramels

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If a food ever had a trick up its sleeve, it would be these vegan salted chocolate covered caramels. They are so delectably indulgent that you'd never guess the normal butter/sugar combination that makes caramel has been replaced by a blended up date with a touch of coconut oil. Draped in a layer of almond butter before dipped and coated in chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt, these morsels of goodness not only easy (though time consuming) but also slightly less guilt inducing at the same time, which in essence is my kind of caramel. 

These got whipped up on a day of "getting into the Christmas spirit" with my sister as we tried in desperation to find a Christmas movie we hadn't seen 100,000 times but in the end had to settle with the always appreciated National Lampoons Christmas. And a word to the wise, don't even bother turning on the Lady Gaga/Muppets Holiday collaboration ... just trust me on this. Though perhaps you have better judgement than me in the first place. 

Based on this recipe from Minimalist Baker, these caramels have a salty sweet aspect that worked its charm on everyone. These disappeared at record pace and left a caramel sized whole in the hearts of those who enjoyed .... soon to be filled by another treat, I'm sure!

Keep reading for the recipe!

Vegan Salted Chocolate Covered Caramels

1 pound (16 ounces or about 1 1/2 cups packed) Medjool dates, pitted
1-3 tsp water
2.5 Tbsp melted coconut oil, divided
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup almond butter
1 heaping cup bittersweet or dark chocolate chips

  1. Add the dates and 1 Tbsp melted coconut oil to a food processor and mix. If it’s not quite combining, add 1 tsp of warm water at a time until a rough paste or ball forms
  2. Add 1/2 tsp sea salt and mix once more to incorporate. Taste and adjust saltiness level if desired
  3. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes and then using a spoon, scoop out small balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for another 20-30 minutes to set
  4. While these set up, mix the almond butter and 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil in a small saucepan over medium low heat until melted and combined
  5. Remove caramels from the freezer and spoon the melted almond butter over top. 
  6. Place back in the freezer for another 30 minutes, or until the peanut butter has formed shell
  7. Warm the chocolate chips over a double boiler or in the microwave in 30 second increments with 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  8. Remove caramels from the freezer and coat them in the chocolate. I found it easiest to add a toothpick to allow for a quick "dunk" and then used a small spoon to drizzle chocolate evenly on top
  9. Gently shake off excess chocolate and place back on parchment-lined baking sheet
  10. Top with a small sprinkle of sea salt, and repeat until all caramels have been coated
  11. Return to the freezer to allow everything to set - approximately 30 minutes
  12. Enjoy!

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