Secretly-‘Good’-For-You Caramel Slice

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I enjoy exercising and healthy eating, and I work really hard at that. Saying this though, I enjoy baking sweet things probably a bit more, even if it does stress me out at times, because  I haven’t ‘eaten properly’ or in a more positive light ‘indulged in something’- No regrets though! I love good old fashioned baking (and the sweetness that comes with it!!), but I also like to try and recreate yummy things, with a lighter twist, just to have SOME healthier options!

I have been looking on the internet at ‘raw’ cooking and it’s a bit overwhelming. It requires a lot of stuff I don’t have, or probably couldn’t afford, for the amount of cooking I do. But I really wanted to give it a crack. I made caramel slice recently so I thought ‘maybe I could make it healthier??’ And people, it has been done!!  I went recipe hunting for ‘raw caramel slice’ and came across some terrific blogs/sites such as This Rawsome Vegan LifeTegan Westra and Ascension Kitchen (I hope to learn from their wholesome ways of baking!!!) and each version of their caramel goodness looked amazing.

I was able to come up with my own version of Caramel slice, looking at the ingredients I had and comparing them to other recipes.  I would say my version’s raw, but I bent the rules and added flour and oats… I and don’t think that’s truly raw (I don’t know the rules!).. but I am experimenting!!

I was so surprised with how my slice turned out. The flavours are so delectably rich, and smooth and creamy, you wouldn’t even know it’s a good-for-you type of slice! (plus, no bake!! Perfect for heatwaves in Australia, when using the oven is just not going to happen!)

I’ll stop this big spill here and give you the lowdown on how to make my version of this lovely stuff.

Here it is!!! (are you excited?!)

Secretly-‘Good’-For-You Caramel Slice

(Adapted experimentally from: This Rawsome Vegan Life’s Chocolate Cream Caramel BarsTegan Westra’s Raw Caramel Slice and Ascension Kitchen’s Raw Chocolate Caramel Slice)

BASE

1/2 cup white flour (or another substitute of your choice, just make it up!!)
1/2 cup almonds
3/4 cup dates
2 tablespoons  coconut butter* (plus a bit extra if base is slightly dry)
1/4 cup dessicated coconut
1/4 cup oats
1 tsp vanilla extract

CARAMEL FILLING

1 cup of cashew butter** (I followed this recipe from The Healthy Foodie here, as I had never made it before!!)
1/2 cup coconut butter
2/3 cup pitted dates (I used pitted sayer dates?? Had them in the cupboard, but many recipes call for medjool dates, I wouldn’t know the difference, ha! All about experimenting!)
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste/extract
1 tablespoon of maple syrup (or another sweetener e.g. honey, agave syrup etc)

CHOCOLATE TOPPING

Side Note: Okay I have to admit, I adapted this after a fail… I included cashew butter in this initially, only to find in turn in a thick  lump of chocolately mess, separated from most of the oil, so I omitted the cashew butter the second time around and the problem was solved, apart from the minor separation of the oil when it set in the fridge but hey, it tastes/looks pretty good for a first go!!
1/2 cup maple syrup (or other)
2/3 cup coconut butter, melted
4 tablespoons of cocoa
Vanilla, to taste
For the crust: Place dry ingredients into a food processor and blend until floury and combined. Add in coconut butter and vanilla and blend to combine also. Finally, gradually add in dates and process again in the food processor. Stop and test the base-  it should be okay when it looks like it has come together to form a crumble like consistency, but sticks together at the touch.
Press into a lined slice tin and refrigerate until firm (or freeze for a while then transfer to the fridge to if you’re impatient like me!!) 
For the filling: place all ingredients into the food processor or use a hand held ‘whizz stick’ as I call them ( more commonly known as a held food processor/puree/blender stick) to blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour onto base and set in fridge/freezer as with base.
For the topping: Again! all in a food processor/use a whizz stick to blend. Do this until just smooth I as think if I continued it may a separated more. Spread onto refrigerated slice and set.
Store in the fridge and cut into squares to enjoy.
Experiment and try for yourself, and keep posted, I hope to make more of these ‘good-for-you’ slices/other yummy healthy things!! 🙂
Eat, share and enjoy,
Kirra xo
NOTES:
* My coconut butter was melted, due to hot weather. May/may not make a difference in consistency, probably not, as you’ll refrigerate anyway.
** whole cashews take up more space in a measuring cup than the butter form does, so you may need extra to make the full cup, but don’t stress too much if you only have the cup full of cashews as is, it’s all about not being too strict on measurements here!
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