My mum sent me this recipe from Nadia Lim’s blog, and I absolutely love it. It’s gluten-free, vegan, and sugar free, and yet it tastes absolutely amazing – I brought some into work recently for a morning tea, and everyone loved it. I’m usually reluctant to promote that a recipe is sugar-free or gluten-free vegan until people have tried it, since “sugar-free”, “gluten-free” and “vegan” can often be equated in the mind with “tastes like splenda-flavoured cardboard”. Please take my word for it that this recipe is delicious – it gets plenty of caramel flavour from the dates and maple syrup – and since you know it’s healthy you can feel free to go for seconds :D
• 1 ½ cup fine rolled oats or ground almonds
• 1 ½ cups shredded coconut
• 2 tablespoons cocoa
• 6 dates, pitted
• 1 cup raw almonds
• Pinch of salt
• 200g melted coconut oil (or butter)
Date and cashew caramel filling:
• 400g dried pitted dates
• ¾ cup boiling water
• 2 cups softened cashews (see note)
• ¼ cup maple syrup
• ½ cup melted coconut oil (or butter)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Chocolate and walnut topping:
• 150-200g good quality dark chocolate
• 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
• 1-2 tablespoons shredded coconut
• Optional: 1 teaspoon neutral flavoured oil, e.g. grape seed, walnut, hazelnut, canola, soy (this softens the chocolate so it doesn’t set too hard – do NOT use coconut oil or butter as this will make the chocolate set harder).
• Preheat oven to 180°C/360°F. Lightly grease and line the bottom and sides of a square baking tin (20cm x 20cm) with baking paper.
• Place oats/ground almonds, coconut, cocoa, dates, almonds and salt in a food processor and blitz to a fine, crumbly texture. Drizzle in melted coconut oil/butter and pulse until well combined.
• Press mixture into the prepared baking tin, pressing down firmly with the back of a spoon of spatula. Bake for 15 minutes.
• Make the caramel while the base cooks. Place dates and water in a medium-size pot and boil, stirring frequently, until the dates are very soft and mushed up, and all the water has evaporated. Place dates in the food processor along with the softened cashew nuts, maple syrup, coconut oil/butter and vanilla. Blitz until smooth (this will take a few minutes).
• Spread caramel over the base in the baking tin. Return to oven to bake for 10 minutes.
• Melt chocolate and mix in the oil if using. Pour melted chocolate over the filling and sprinkle walnuts and coconut over the top. Leave to cool overnight or for 3-4 hours in the fridge.
• Cut into about 25 pieces (I find it easier to cut upside down since the chocolate is the hardest layer to cut).
> To make softened cashews, either soak in water overnight, or boil in a pot of water for about 15 minutes. Drain well.
make softened cashews, either soak in water overnight, or boil in a pot of water for about 15 minutes. Drain well.