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.
To make sure the mixture doesn’t split, freeze the nuts, cacao butter and coconut so that they’re really cold. It needs to be blended well for about 10 mins, to get the smooth texture, plus the extra ‘blitz’ at the end, and it will warm up a bit from the friction, but if it goes over about 40C then stop and let it rest. If you’re making this in a regular blender/food processor (not the Thermomix) you may need to blend longer to get the smooth texture.
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 extra coconut (same weight as the nuts), it just won’t be quite as creamy.
[Update! I’ve uploaded a video for you to show the method and what the mixture should look like, as a few people have had trouble. It seems that these chocolates work best if your ingredients are COLD – I keep my coconut, nuts and cacao butter in the freezer and have never had trouble with the mixture splitting. If you do find your mixture ‘splits’, try adding a tablespoon or two of coconut cream, and mix until it comes together, then pour into molds and freeze. Video below.]
PS A few people have asked where I bought the cacao butter from – the batch in the video I got from a friend and I don’t know where they bought it, sorry! But you can get cacao butter and all the other ingredients from The Source Bulk Foods stores, so check on their site.
Ok, here’s the recipe… Enjoy!
- Place cashews, macadamia nuts, coconut and vanilla bean into Thermomix bowl and blend 30 sec/speed 9. Scrape down sides of bowl.
- Add remaining ingredients and blend 1 min/speed 9. Scrape down lid and sides of bowl.
- Blend 10 mins/speed 5. The temperature will rise because of the friction, and melt the cacao butter, and the mixture will become quite smooth and runny.
- Blend 1 min/speed 9.
- Pour mixture into molds, 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 molds (or break bark into pieces) and store in a container in the fridge or freezer.
- Make sure the nuts, coconut and cacao butter are very cold - store them in the freezer and use them straight from the freezer. This helps to prevent the mixture warming up too much and splitting.
- You can swirl or layer the caramel chocolate with my raw dark chocolate if you like.