Thursday, June 26, 2014

Chocolate Caramel Peanut Bites

Date caramel is one of my favorite indulgences.  Throw some dates in a food processor and boom: caramel! Okay, the "boom" may require scraping down the bowl of your food processor repeatedly, but eventually you'll end up with a beautiful, golden, creamy caramel.  This recipe is nothing fancy at all.  I just had a craving for date caramel, but decided to go a step further by dipping it in chocolate.  And with peanuts in the mix, these were reminiscent of Snickers bars.  Awesome.  Nougat-less, homemade vegan Snickers bars are fine with me. :)

Makes 6-7 large pieces 

Caramel Filling
10 large, soft pitted Medjool dates (they should be squishy)
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
1-2 tablespoons water (as needed to help with blending)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts 
  1. Blend all the caramel filling ingredients (except the peanuts) in a food processor until smooth. (this will take some time and scraping) 
  2. Transfer the caramel to a bowl and fold in the peanuts. 
  3. Using a cookie scoop (or two spoons), place mounds of the caramel peanut mixture onto a plate or cutting board lined with parchment paper.  Flatten each mound with wet fingers if desired. (the mixture will be sticky)
  4. Place the caramel-peanut mounds in the freezer while you make the chocolate coating.
Chocolate Coating
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder or cacao powder
1-2 tablespoons coconut palm nectar or maple syrup (to taste)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
  1. Blend all the chocolate coating ingredients in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. Using a fork, dip the caramel-peanut mounds in the chocolate until completely covered and then place them back on the parchment paper.  Top with chopped peanuts if desired.
  3. Place the chocolates in the freezer to set.  (30 minutes or overnight; uncovered is fine)
I used a cookie scoop to make these, so they were pretty big.  You can probably squeeze out a dozen pieces if you make smaller mounds. For the coating, you can also melt a cup of chocolate chips with a teaspoon of coconut oil over a double boiler instead of following the recipe above. Up to you!

There's no need to thaw these before eating.  They're great straight out of the freezer. I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing.  But I'm leaning towards good.  :)