If I am going to indulge in something sweet (and this of course happens on a daily basis) I think my favourite treat on the planet is caramel. This is a tricky one being a vegan and a health nut because most of the truly yummy caramel is made with loads of butter, corn syrup, sugar and cream.
Over the years I’ve tried a number of recipes for “vegan caramel” only to come up short and be left craving a good old-fashioned Turtle or Rolo.
So you can imagine my delight when I came upon this brilliant Vegan Rolo recipe from fellow blogger Angela Liddon over at Oh She Glows. These little gems are vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, super easy to make and best of all they are delicious!
I always (and I mean always) have a batch of these in the freezer for when one of my many sugar cravings hits and they never fail to satisfy my sweet tooth. And the kids love them too – I ask them if they want a chocolate caramel, don’t tell them what’s in them and watch them gobble them down. I just don’t let them have too many because these little babies are mostly for mom!
I’ve made a few minor modifications but the credit for these delectable treats belongs to Oh She Glows. You can check out her awesome site and the original recipe here.
Vegan No Bake Caramels (adapted from Angela Liddon, OhSheGlows.com)
Makes 18-24 caramels
12 organic medjool dates (make sure they are fresh and soft)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ tbsp agave nectar
½ tbsp organic cold-pressed coconut oil (plus 1 tsp for use in chocolate)
Pinch of fine sea salt
½ tbsp organic peanut butter (or sunflower butter in case of nut allergies)
1 cup semi-sweet or dark vegan chocolate chips (you can use regular dark or semi-sweet chocolate if you prefer)
Combine dates, vanilla, agave, 1 tbsp coconut oil, salt and peanut butter in your food processor and pulse until the mixture comes together into a sticky ball. You may have to scrape down the sides to help the ball come together. Put the ball into the freezer for 15 minutes to make it easier to work with.
Melt the chocolate and 1 tsp of coconut oil in a small saucepan on low heat on the stove top. Line a plate with parchment paper. Remove the caramel ball from the freezer and using your fingers pinch pieces off and roll into smaller balls – approx the size of a cherry.
Working quickly, dip each ball into the chocolate to coat using a spoon to save your fingers and place on the parchment lined plate. Once finished – put the plate in the freezer for 20 minutest to ½ an hour to let the balls harden. When they have hardened you can store them in a glass freezer-safe container. They are best eaten cold straight from the freezer.
I like these chocolate caramels plain but you could doll them up by rolling them in finely chopped nuts, coconut, cinnamon or cacao powder after you dip them in chocolate for a completely different taste experience. Trust me these are wonderful and addictive. Enjoy!