A few months ago I decided I needed a homemade version of Salted Caramel Chocolate that would be dairy free and soy free. I looooove salted caramel chocolates. So I raided my pantry drawer and freezer to see what I could make them out of (which is generally how my recipes begin!), and started blending up handfuls of cashews, macadamias and coconut, with a little coconut sugar, to use as a base. I added to that some raw cacao butter, pure maple syrup, vanilla protein powder and some salt, blended it for ages until it was smooth, and froze it in molds. It was delicious!! (Thankfully I weighed everything as I went and wrote it down, just in case it worked – phew!)
But then our family went onto the GAPS diet, so the recipe was set aside as we couldn’t have most of those ingredients, and the only sweeteners we have now are a little bit of honey and some fruit (fresh and dried). But I kept thinking about these yummy little caramels, waiting for the time we could add a bit of coconut and cacao butter back into our diet, and planning ways to tweak them so we could have them again.
By the way, it’s amazing the things you can do if you know it will be worth it in the long run, and since our focus has been on gut healing, we decided we could survive without chocolate for a while. We actually kept off it for five months, can you believe it?! Then Christmas came along and I decided to try introducing a little bit of (homemade and naturally sweetened) chocolate, just for special occasions, now and then. I figured it would be best to start with less cacao powder, as that can be irritating to a sensitive tummy, so these salted caramel chocs made another appearance! This time layered with my raw dark chocolate (made with just 20g cacao powder) and both sweetened just with a little honey.
They were a hit!!
I also made some swirled caramel chocolate bark… Mmmm!
Here we are a few months later and it’s nearly Easter… Time to think about chocolate again! So yesterday I decided to try another version, using raw Medjool dates instead of the honey to sweeten, to give it a richer caramel flavour. And it’s soooo much better!! I’ve used 80g dates and that’s sweet enough for us, but if you want it sweeter just add a couple more.
If you don’t have 200g cacao butter, you can use a mixture of coconut oil and cacao butter, or even all coconut oil, but it won’t have that same ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ chocolate texture, just so you know. (And if you make it with coconut oil you will need to keep them in the fridge or freezer so they don’t melt.)
For a nut-free version, you could just replace the nuts with dessicated coconut (same weight as the nuts), it just won’t be quite as creamy.
Ok, here’s the recipe… Enjoy!
It’s been six years since I first shared this recipe, and it’s TIME FOR AN UPDATE! I worked out a simpler and more fool-proof way to make it, so I’ve adjusted the recipe once again. For those of you who tried to make the old version and had trouble with the chocolate splitting, I apologise! The mixture got too hot with the previous method, hence the splitting (sometimes). This new version shouldn’t split, and I think the flavour is even better with the roasted cashew (or cashew-macadamia) butter. Hope you like it!Print
Salted Caramel Chocolates
- 300g raw cashews, or cashews and macadamias
- 250g raw cacao butter, chopped into small pieces
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste, or vanilla powder
- 100g pitted medjool dates
- 3/4 tsp fine sea salt
- Preheat oven to 180C.
- Place cashews (and macadamia nuts if using) on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool. (Alternatively, you can use activated nuts rather than roasted nuts.)
- Meanwhile, melt cacao butter for 5 minutes/60C/speed 3 in Thermomix, or melt in a saucepan over medium-low heat on stovetop. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
- Blend cashews (and macadamias if using) for 30 sec/speed 9 in Thermomix, or in a blender on high speed, until a paste begins to form. Scrape down sides of bowl and blend for another 1 min/speed 5 (medium speed) until it becomes a smooth butter.
- Add dates, vanilla and salt to bowl and blend 30 sec/speed 6 (medium speed) until mixture is smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl.
- Once the melted cacao butter has cooled down and is barely warm (but still melted), pour back into bowl and mix 20 sec/speed 3 (medium-low speed) or until smooth. Don’t mix on high speed or while still hot, or mixture could split. (Note: If your mixture DOES split, add a drizzle of coconut cream while heating gently at 37C and stirring on speed 3, until mixture comes back together.)
- Pour mixture into moulds, or into a lined baking dish (to be cut into squares), or onto lined trays to make a thin bark. Freeze until set hard, then pop caramels out of the moulds (or break bark into pieces) and store in a container in the fridge or freezer.
Chocolate will last for months in the fridge or freezer, but make sure it is in airtight bags/containers as it can absorb other flavours due to the high fat content.
– Try swirling the caramel chocolate with my Dairy Free Raw Chocolate or layering the two in small moulds.
– To make this nut free, swap the nut butter for coconut butter.