Sometimes you crave something sweet and just about anything will do, other times you have a very specific thing in mind and you turn the kitchen upside down trying to create it – this was one of those times. I’m a big fan of savoury food so it’s not that often I have a sweet tooth but when it hits it knows what it wants. This weekend I wanted chocolate, gooey melt in your mouth caramel and biscuity goodness, so after a bit of experimenting (and a t-shirt covered in melted chocolate) here’s what I came up with…
These bites are decadent, moreish and satisfying, served straight from the freezer they have a satisfying chew to them, but if you leave them out for a few minutes the caramel starts to melt into a creamy, dreamy, almost mousse-like layer. I can’t decide which way I like them best, maybe I need to eat one more to see? The recipe is quite flexible, it’s nothing out of the ordinary when it comes to vegan desserts, there’s your standard dates, nuts and maple syrup but the addition of miel de caña, or molasses, gives a rich, treacle taste to the caramel that is just delicious. I would really recommend it, but if you have other liquid sweeteners you can substitute and it would be equally successful.
This recipe will make 16-18 servings depending on the size of mould you use, so feel free to size up or down.
You will need:
- 1 cup of nuts (I used a mixture of cashews, mixed chopped nuts and walnuts)
- 10-14 pitted medjool dates (depending on size, if your dates are large use less, smaller use more)
- 1/4 cup of maple syrup
- 1/4 cup of miel de caña/molasses (if you can’t access this, you can replace with maple syrup)
- pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup nut butter of your choice (I used cashew butter but almond or peanut would work too)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
- pack of dark chocolate chips
To prepare for this recipe you will need to dig out some kind of mould. The absolute best thing to use is a silicone cupcake tray or individual silicone cupcake moulds. It will be much easier to remove the caramel bites at the various stages, but you could also use a flexible ice cube tray, chocolate moulds or ramekins. Before starting, soak your pitted dates in some hot water, just enough to cover them in a bowl. This softens them and makes them extra creamy when blended. I boiled the kettle and left them soaking for ten minutes or so whilst I was getting everything ready.
- Blend your nuts in a high powered blender or food processor until they are in small pieces.
- Add them to a bowl and slowly mix in some of the miel de caña a spoonful at a time (or maple syrup if you’re substituting) until sticky and combined.
- Once a sticky biscuit base can be formed, take teaspoons of the nut blend and place it into your moulds, pressing to form the bottom biscuity layer. Clean the blender to prepare for the next step.
- Drain off the water from your soaked dates, leaving a small amount of liquid behind, around a tablespoon (this will help them blend) and add them to your food processor or blender.
- Blend the dates until creamy, then add your nut butter, a capful of vanilla extract and any remaining miel de caña that you didn’t use for the biscuit base. Keep blending until everything is combined into a smooth caramel.
- Using a teaspoon add the caramel on top of the biscuit layers in your moulds and place them in the freezer until hardened, ideally overnight.
- Once your caramel covered biscuits are frozen solid enough to pop out of the moulds, remove them and put them on a plate ready to be coated in chocolate. Place them in the freezer on the plate until your chocolate is done, so that you can move quickly.
- Create a bain-marie with a heat proof bowl over a pan of water. Place your chocolate chips in the bowl along with the coconut oil and 1/4 cup of maple syrup.
- Heat gently until everything is combined and a creamy chocolate sauce is produced.
- Taking a skewer, pick up your frozen biscuit and caramel pieces and dip them in the chocolate sauce, coating them evenly.
- Allow them to cool on a wire rack or some parchment paper and then freeze until solid.
- Use up any remaining chocolate by pouring it into your moulds and putting it in the fridge to set, now you have some cute chocolates to snack on whenever you like!
- Once your biscuit bites are solid you can enjoy them frozen or leave them out for a few minutes to have softer caramel. Store them in the freezer in an airtight container…if they last that long!
Although they are a little fiddly to make these are well worth it, if you make a huge batch you would only need to get messy once a month and you’d always have delicious treats on hand when you need them. Since they are frozen these will keep well, but they are incredibly addictive! I personally think they taste a little like a Mars ice cream when frozen so that’s my favourite way to eat them, I hope you like them, I will definitely be making more at the weekend.
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