I haven't visited the blog in a while - life seems to have got in the way with a trip to Paihia (half marathon - beautiful place and stunning course) birthdays (mine and my son's), preparing to start a new job (new jobs of course require new clothes, which takes time & planning as unless I'm buying running clothes I have no clue.
Nadia Lim posted a free-from-refined- sugar Caramel Slice recipe on Facebook over the weekend. I loooovvve caramel slice so seemed rude not to give it a go.
The recipe below, and any notes or tips, are taken straight from her page as she's encouraged readers to share it.
Date and Cashew Caramel & Chocolate Slice
¾ cup fine rolled oats* (you can also use ground almonds as a GF alternative)
¾ cup coconut thread
1 tablespoon good quality dark cocoa powder (I used Equagold's Dutch cocoa powder)
6 medjool dates, pitted
½ cup natural/raw almonds
pinch of salt
6-8 tablespoons melted coconut oil (or butter)
Date and cashew caramel filling
400g packet dried pitted dates
¾ cup boiling water
2 cups softened cashew nuts**
¼ cup pure maple syrup (not the stuff that's artificially flavoured with sugar!)
½ cup melted coconut oil (or butter)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence or extract
Chocolate and walnut topping
150-200g good quality dark (at least 70%) eating chocolate (I used Green and Black's Organic 85% cocoa chocolate - which has hardly any (3%) sugar)
1 teaspoon neutral oil e.g. grapeseed (optional - all this does is softens the chocolate a little, so it doesn't set too hard)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1-2 tablespoons coconut thread
Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 30 minutes + 3 hours to set in the fridge
Preheat oven to 180degC. Lightly grease and line the bottom and sides of a square baking tin (20cm x 20cm) with baking paper.
1. Place oats/ground almonds, coconut thread, cocoa powder, medjool dates, almonds and salt in a food processor and blitz until a fine, crumbly texture. Drizzle in melted coconut oil/butter and pulse until well combined and the mixture holds together when you pinch it between your fingers.
2. Press mixture into the prepared baking tin, pressing down firmly with the back of a spoon or spatula. Bake for 15 minutes, then set aside in the fridge to cool while you make the caramel.
3. To make the caramel, 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 nice and smooth - this will take at least a few minutes.
4. Spread caramel all over the base in the baking tin. Return to oven to bake for 10 minutes. Set aside in the fridge while you melt the chocolate.
5. Melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler or in a glass bowl set above a small pot of simmering water. Mix in oil if using. Pour melted chocolate all over the filling and spread it over evenly. Place in the fridge for at least 3 hours, or the freezer for at least 1 ½ hours, or until set.
Cut into about 30 pieces. The slice will keep for up to a week in the fridge.
I just made a couple of changes to the recipe - I used hazlenuts in the base instead of almonds, and topped with Whittaker's Dark Ghana and chopped pistachios.
Here's the end result. It's certainly more faffy than regular caramel slice but very yummy so worth the effort.