Salted Caramel Squares – Original

Caramel squares…what can I say, these and tiffin slices are probably my biggest weaknesses when it comes to desserts. Luckily enough they’re also one of the few “clean” desserts that actually taste as good as, if not better than, the “real” version. They taste delicious in their own right but the fact that you don’t feel as guilty after eating them is also a big plus.

I say “as guilty” because these are still a treat, just a much healthier option! They’re made using all natural ingredients and are gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar free. The sweetness comes from the use of dates, which make up the caramel layer. However, they are still high in natural sugars so I wouldn’t be eating them everyday, but when you do you can rest assured knowing that they are high in fibre, iron and potassium so are still good for you!

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For this recipe I used a combination of normal and medjool dates. Medjool dates are commonly used in clean-baking recipes as they are bigger (as in photo), stickier and sweeter than normal dried dates but they are also more expensive. I happened to find a 1kg box of them in the Asian shop in Westside in Galway for about €11 which is excellent value and the box ended up lasting me for months. Asian shops are fantastic for buying nuts, spices, herbs, rices and flours and so many unusual ingredients for great prices. Up until now I’ve got on fine using normal dried dates but to make them easier to work with I usually just soak them in hot water for about 10 minutes and then drain before using.

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Recipe

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Ingredients (Makes 6 decent sized slices):

*I love these so much I also have a second, slightly altered recipe for Salted Caramel Squares here.
Base:
1/4 cup Brazil nuts
1/4 cup almonds
1/2 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
*1 tablespoon ground almonds (You may not need this if your mixture is holding together well but depending on how much oil is being released from the nuts you might need to add some. You can either buy almond flour or make it yourself by blending a few whole almonds into a flour like consistency – don’t over-blend though or you’ll end up with almond butter!).

Caramel:
3/4 cup dates
1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon sea salt (can use more or less depending on if you like salted caramel but add it very slowly and taste as you add)

Chocolate topping:
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
tiny pinch salt

Method:
Base:
To make the base blend all the base ingredients in a blender (I used my Nutribullet) until they are sticky and crumbly.
Spread out evenly into a lined tin and leave in the freezer while you prepare the next layer.

Caramel:
Using the blender again (no need to rinse) blend all the caramel ingredients.
This may take a while as you want it to be completely smooth. You also have to stop every so often to scrape down the sides of the blender to make sure everything gets combined.
Once smooth, spread the caramel on top of the base layer and leave back into the freezer to set.

Chocolate Topping:
Place all the topping ingredients into the blender again (bit of a theme going on here making it a very easy recipe!).
Blend until smooth.
Spread on top of the caramel layer.
Place back into freezer to set for about 1 hour.

Cut into six slices and enjoy!
Store in the fridge.

The photos don’t do these justice at all by the way! Be sure to check out my slightly different salted caramel square recipe here, especially if you want to make these but don’t have any coconut milk to hand.

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As usual let me know if you try these out by tweeting (@aisling_harris), Facebooking, Instagramming (@the_superfit_foodie) or snapchatting me (superfitfoodie)! I love to hear from you!

Aisling