Date and Cashew Caramel Slice

Date and Cashew Caramel Slice

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 😀

Base:

• 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).

 

Method:

• 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.

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Guilt-free Chocolate Mini Muffins

Guilt-free mini muffins

From Emily Rose’s Have Your Cake, which features recipes without sugar, butter or white flour. This recipe makes approx 12 mini muffins.

Ingredients:

• 1 egg
• 1/4 cup (60ml) rice bran oil
• 1/4 cup (75g) honey
• 3/4 cup (120g) wholemeal self-raising flour (or 3/4 cup wholemeal flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder)
• 1/4 cup (25g) dessicated coconut
• 1/3 cup (80ml) milk
• 1/3 cup (45g) chopped 70% dark chocolate

Method:

• Preheat oven to 180°C/360°F.
• Whisk egg, oil and honey together until honey is dissolved.
• Mix in flour, coconut and milk, then add chocolate.
• Grease mini muffin tin with oil and fill each case three-quarters full.
• Bake for 15 minutes.

Chocolate Peppermint Crunch (gluten-free)

Choc Peppermint Crunch

Ingredients:

• 1 cup gluten-free flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 cup coconut
• 45g gluten-free cereal (see note below)
• 2 tablespoons cocoa
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
• 6 oz / 175g butter

Method:

• Preheat oven to 150°C/300°F.
• Crush the cereal with your hands and mix the dry ingredients together.
• Melt butter and add vanilla.
• Mix together all the ingredients.
• Pour into a lined square baking tin, and press down gently but firmly.
• Bake for 20 minutes (the edges should be just starting to crisp).
• Ice with peppermint icing (icing sugar, water and peppermint essence), and when set ice with chocolate icing (icing sugar, water and cocoa).

Note: The original recipe calls for weet-bix so go for plain, grainy cereals. I used gf cornflakes and they tasted fine.

• Alternatives: Use lemon-rind or orange-rind instead of peppermint to make chocolate lemon crunch or chocolate orange crunch, or ice with just the chocolate icing to make chocolate crunch.

Chocolate Peppermint Crunch (“normal”)

Choc Peppermint Crunch

Ingredients:

• 1 cup flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 cup coconut
• 3 weetbix
• 2 tablespoons cocoa
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
• 6 oz / 175g butter

Method:

• Preheat oven to 150°C/300°F.
• Mix dry ingredients, crushing the weetbix by hand.
• Melt butter and add vanilla.
• Mix all ingredients together.
• Pour into a lined square baking tin, and gently press down.
• Bake for 20 minutes (the edges should be just starting to crisp).
• Ice with peppermint icing (icing sugar, water and peppermint essence), and when set ice with chocolate icing (icing sugar, water and cocoa).

• Alternatives: Use lemon-rind or orange-rind instead of peppermint to make chocolate lemon crunch or chocolate orange crunch, or ice with just the chocolate icing to make chocolate crunch.