Raise your hand if you like to indulge in sweet treats. Ah, I thought so — that’s a lot of hands! And keep your hand raised if you’re thinking you should cut back on refined sugars. Mm-hm, still quite a few hands up.
I’m with you. I have a sweet tooth. Sometimes I have it under good control, but other times it growls and pleads for satisfaction and can’t be ignored. Over the past couple of years I’ve reduced the amount of sugar I consume and feel better for it. But let’s get real, I still crave sweets from time to time. Although I don’t enjoy highly sweet treats the way I used to, nibbling (okay, scarfing down) a bar of fair trade organic dark chocolate doesn’t always hit the mark. So, what’s a gal with a craving for something decadent to do?
I’ve been exploring recipes that provide sweet goodness through ingredients like dates, honey, maple syrup and other good things that are more natural than the sparkling white sugar I used to consume with abandon. Treats that are less likely to toss me up on a sugar high and then cruelly let me crash down.
Treats like these choco-caramelicious patties. A rich chocolate shell enveloping a luscious, gooey-chewy caramel centre will definitely kick those cravings to the curb. Not only that, they’re so rich and satisfying that one at a time is enough. Okay, I might be persuaded to have two, but seriously, one really is enough.
Wanna hear a secret? That caramel? It’s not really caramel. Instead, it’s dates processed with some nut butter, honey and other goodness. The chocolate? I made it myself, because that’s the kind of kitchen puttering I like to do. I’ve added the instructions, but you could just melt some quality chocolate and use that instead. A sprinkling of sea salt adds a sophisticated finish that brightens the flavour.
These chocolatey, caramelly patties are just the thing for when friends drop by. A cup of tea and one or two of these will fuel a good chat, don’t you agree?
I was inspired by the ‘homemade yolos’ in Angela Liddon’s oh she glows cookbook and on her blog, here. That started me on a journey that also led me to Meghan Telpher’s homemade chocolate turtles. After playing around, the recipe I settled on for the ‘caramel’ is almost identical to Meghan Telpher’s. And, I used her instructions for making the homemade chocolate coating. So, with thanks for the inspiration and information, let’s see how I made these treats.
The Medjool dates that I use are large, soft and luscious. If yours are dry you may need to soak them in warm water for a few minutes to plump them up. I’ve also made this recipe with almond butter, with delicious results.
To make this recipe vegan, just substitute a different sweetener for the honey, such as maple syrup or agave or coconut nectar.
This recipe makes about 12 patties, depending on size.
- 4-1/2 ounces pitted Medjool dates (about 6 – 8, depending on size)
- 2 tbsp peanut butter (or other nut butter)
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp vanilla
Add all the ingredients to the bowl of a heavy-duty food processor or blender. (Note: I’m suggesting using heavy-duty equipment because I tried a few appliances that simply couldn’t handle the load of the dates.) Process until smooth.
Place the mixture onto a piece of parchment paper and roll and shape into a log about eight to ten inches long. Secure the ends of the paper with twist ties and place in the freezer.
While the caramelicious filling is chilling, prepare the homemade chocolate. Or, melt about 100 grams of the chocolate of your choice. I’d recommend a dark, bittersweet chocolate.
Homemade Chocolate with Coconut Oil
- 1/3 cup cocao powder (not cocoa powder)
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 2 tbsp honey
Put the three ingredients in a heatproof bowl and set over a pot of simmering water, ensuring the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Once the coconut oil starts to melt, stir until everything is smoothly mixed together.
Assembling the Choco-Caramelicious Patties
You can shapes these treats however you like, but I found it less fussy to make patties instead of rolling balls and dipping them in chocolate.
For patties, you can use silicone moulds or a small tart or muffin tray. I haven’t tried making these in petit fours liners, but I think that might work although I wonder about the paper sticking. Let me know if you’ve tried it. I used a small metal tart tray for the patties pictured in this post.
Lightly coat the tart cups with coconut oil. Spoon about a half tablespoon of the chocolate mixture onto the tart cup bottoms and set the tray in the freezer until the chocolate has set. This should happen in about ten minutes.
Remove the caramelicous filling ‘log’ from the freezer and cut into 12 sections. If necessary flatten and shape each piece into a patty that fills most of the tart cup without touching the sides or extending over the top if your trays are shallow. Set atop the chocolate bottom. (If you have too much filling, roll the excess and dip into any leftover chocolate and chill.)
Spoon the remaining chocolate over the filling, ensuring its flows around the sides and covers the top of the caramel. Place the tray back in the freezer until the chocolate has hardened, at least half an hour. Then insert a knife at the edge to pop out the patties. You can sprinkle with a bit of sea salt now or just before serving. Keep in a sealed container in the fridge or freezer.