These bars are sooo dreamy, and the perfect treat (in my opinion anyway)! Made with a soft, chewy base, filled with a smooth date caramel and topped with rich dark chocolate… you really cannot go wrong! I have been wanting to make bars like these for ages, as a kid I was obsessed with caramel slices however, these were the kind that were high in fat and packed with sugar- not such a healthy treat! BUT I do believe a treat should be treat there are just healthier ways of enjoying them. These bars I actually prefer to the original ‘caramel slice’. They are sweet but not too sweet and they are made with ingredients that are actually nourishing our bodies… I have listed a few of the ingredients I use below with a little bit about their health benefits.
Oats… Among on the healthiest of grains, oats are packed with minerals and vitamins such as: manganese, phosphorus, magnesium and B1, as well as being a good source of carbs and protein. They are a great source of fibre, beta-glucan, which is suggested to increase the growth of good bacteria in the gut.
Ground almonds… Almonds are rich in vitamin E, which is essential for nourishing our skin (and slowing down the effects of ageing). They are also great foods for controlling our blood sugar levels, and are great for brain functioning. Almonds contain nutrients riboflavin and L-caterine, which are capable of having positive affects on brain function and preventing cognitive decline.
Coconut oil… I have a blog post on the health benefits of coconut oil- see my blog post here. Please note, like anything, you should not consume excess amounts of coconut oil; to achieve the health benefits you only need to use 1 tablespoon a day.
Dates… Dates are good for our digestive health as they are a great source of fibre. They are also high in magnesium, which is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits.
Peanut butter… Although peanut butter is high in fat, you will be happy to know it is the good kind of fat- the type of fat that is good for heart health: monounsaturated fat. Peanut butter is also a good source of protein, potassium and vitamin E. (Note; not all nut butters are equal so look out for the brands that add sugars and sweetness to their nut butters. My preferred peanut butter is Meridian.
Dark chocolate… Yes, I LOVE dark chocolate (well most chocolate in fact) but dark is my favourite! Although we don’t need to be overdoing it on the chocolate front, you will be pleased to know that the darker the chocolate, the higher the amount of antioxidants it contains. So a few squares are actually deemed good for you!
So now you know that these bars our a lovely treat that also contain a number of health benefits.. you can start making them.
- 3/4 cup of ground almonds
- 1/2 cup of oats
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (melted)
- 4 tablespoons of maple syrup
- 1 pinch of salt (I use pink himalayan salt)
- 10 medjool dates
- 1 tablespoon of smooth peanut butter (I used Meridian)
- Pinch of salt
- 80g of melted chocolate of your choice (I used 85% green and blacks dark chocolate)
- Prepare a tin (roughly 8×8 inch) lining it with baking paper.
- Remove any stones from the dates and soak in boiling water for about an hour.
- In a bowl mix together the oats and ground almonds, salt and oats (I use Quaker Oats for this recipe as they are smaller oats). Then add the maple syrup and coconut oil. Combine the mixture until it’s almost dough like and spread across the bottom of your prepared tin, using your fingers to press and even it out.
- Put it in the freezer to set for 30 minutes.
- Drain the dates and use a food processor to purée them. If you’re like me and don’t have a food processor, you can use a sharp knife to cut them into small pieces, then place them in a bowl and use a fork to smooth them out (you will start to achieve a thick Caramel like consistency).
- Then add your smooth peanut butter and pinch of salt and mix in well with the date mix.
- Once the base has chilled, smooth the date Carmel on top of it and leave to chill in the freezer for one hour.
- 5 minutes before removing the base and Caramel from the freezer, you can melt your chocolate. Pour the melted chocolate over the caramel, using a spoon to smooth it over evenly (ish).
- Again, place in the fridge or freezer to set for 30 minutes.
- Using the baking paper, lift your caramel slab out of the tray and use a sharp knife to cut into slices.
- Note- you may want to leave it at room temperature before slicing as it can be very hard straight from the freezer.
- Store in the fridge.
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