Chewy Vegan Chocolate Caramel Bars

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Wow, it feels like a long time since I have posted a new recipe for you!!  I actually developed this recipe a while ago but I have been taking a bit of a break from blogging and social media which has been really refreshing.  I do have a bit of a love-hate relationship with all things digital and too much screen time starts to drive me a bit crazy after a while.  So over the past couple of months I have taken a bit of a break to enjoy time with family, I have been doing a lot of yoga and I have really been enjoying my cooking without being obsessed with photographing everything, and without stressing myself out about posting on my Instagram feed every day.

As much as it has been nice to take a break, however, I do love to share my new recipe developments with you and these chewy, vegan, refined sugar-free are simply too good not to share!  

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RECIPE

Ingredients

For the base:

100g Ground almonds

40g Chia seeds

2 Medjool dates, pitted

1 1/2 Tbsp Almond butter

2 Tbsp Maple syrup

For the caramel:

350g Medjool dates, pitted

3 Tbsp Hot water

For the topping:

100g 70% Dark chocolate

1 Tbsp Coconut oil

Pumpkin seeds, flaked almonds, and chia seeds to decorate

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METHOD

  1. Firstly line a baking tray with baking paper, I used a square 18x18cm tin.
  2. Add all the base ingredients to a food processor and blitz for a few minutes until thoroughly combined.  Tip into the baking tray and use the back of a spoon to press into an even layer.  Put into the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.
  3. Next, make the date caramel layer.  The key to getting a nice smooth caramel is to use soft dates, I find that fresh Medjool dates are best for this.  If your dates are a bit old and dried out they won't work very well, you can, however, soak them in some warm water for a few minutes before using to help soften them.
  4. Place the dates into a food processor and blitz on low for a few minutes until they have broken down and only small bits remain.  With the food processor still running slowly drizzle in the hot water.  Add the water slowly as you only want to add enough to create a caramel-like consistency, if you add too much it will be too watery.  You may need to stop the food processor to scrape down the sides as you are doing this.
  5. Remove your base from the fridge and scrape the caramel out of the food processor onto the base.  It is a bit tricky to spread the date layer on top of the base but I found that the best way to do it was to heat a dessert spoon by running it under boiling water and then using the back of the spoon to spread the caramel.  Return the tray to the fridge to chill for a further 30 minutes.
  6. Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a bowl over a pan of boiling water until smooth and runny.  Spread the chocolate over the date caramel and sprinkle with seed or nuts to decorate.  Allow the chocolate to set at room temperature and then return the fridge to allow everything to firm up before cutting into squares.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

 

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