Heartbeet Kitchen
Salty Chocolate Date Caramels
December 16, 2015 in Dairy-Free · Gluten-Free · Paleo · Sweets · Vegan · Winter · 44 Comments

Salty Chocolate Date Caramels.

I learned to pick my favorite chocolate out of the iconic Whitman’s sample box at an early age, that mustard yellow with printed cross-stitch pattern etched in my mind forever. Grandma’s candy cabinet was my first stop when I skipped into her house, knowing the next few days would be filled with playing cards, seeing my cousins, and watching her cook.

She made sure the cabinet was always stocked with the best snacks – homemade caramel corn, salty mixed nuts, and a box of chocolates. Andes Mints were her favorite too, and I remember thinking how fancy the foil wrappers were.

Chocolate Covered Date Caramels {paleo, vegan}Salty Chocolate Date Caramels.

Pulling out the flavor map, my first move was discarding any chocolate-covered cherries and maple cream bon-bons that obstructed my path. My mission was finding the chocolate caramels before any of my cousins snagged them. There’s just something about biting into the rich, gooeyness of a caramel through the chocolate, cracking just a bit, reminiscent of brown butter and toffee.

So I decided to play chocolatier in my own kitchen this year, and recreate a box of just my favorites with gift-giving in mind. Instead of making traditional caramel with butter and cream, I turned to date caramels, inspired by my friend Lindsey’s truffles. I made them for Valentine’s Day last year, and ever since then I couldn’t stop thinking about how amazing they were.

\vegan Date Caramel.
Salty Chocolate Date Caramels {recipe}Salty Chocolate Date Caramels {recipe}

They’re much easier than making the traditional kind too. Using a food processor, you’ll blitz sticky medjool dates until creamy and smooth, with a touch of almond flour, almond butter and vanilla.

Super creamy and decadent……

Enrobed in dark chocolate (which I took the time to temper so it would have a shiny, flawless appearance and not have to be refrigerated, notes below), and flaky sea salt……

Vegan + Paleo Salty Chocolate Date CaramelsSalty Chocolate Date Caramels {recipe}

And to no surprise, my adult self is picking these over any other candy right now as I did with the Whitman’s sampler box. They even look like tiny little presents, just in time for Christmas.

Happy week before the holidays, and stay tuned for one more recipe before Santa arrives. Hopefully he brings a long some snow with him to Minnesota! xo

Salty Chocolate Date Caramels {recipe}
Special thanks to Udi’s Gluten-Free for sponsoring this post, and to all of you for reading. Together, you make Heartbeet Kitchen possible, and let me share my passion.

Learn more about living gluten free: Visit http://udisglutenfree.com/community

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Udi’s Gluten Free. The opinions and text are all mine.

Salty Chocolate Date Caramels {paleo, vegan}

makes 12 caramels
lightly adapted from this recipe, by my sweet friend Lindsey of Mabel & The Wooden Spoon

A note about tempering chocolate: Although I’ve always melted chocolate in a double boiler and added a bit of oil to make it “set”, I was frustrated with the condensation that sometimes appears on the chocolate. I also noticed its susceptibility to heat and humidity, melting more easily and spoiling more quickly. Tempering is the process of slowly heating and cooling melted chocolate to certain temperatures while stirring. It’s why the chocolate you buy at a gourmet candy store is so perfect. ow that I’ve done it myself, I have to say it really isn’t any more difficult than melting chocolate in the microwave, it just takes a thermometer and a little time. 

1 cup packed, soft & pitted Medjol dates (161 grams)
1 tablespoon creamy almond butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon warm water
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
2 1/2 tablespoons almond flour/meal
120 grams dark chocolate (at least 70%)
flaky sea salt for finishing

Add dates, almond butter, vanilla, salt and warm water to a food processor. Blend until completely smooth, scraping down the sides to make things easier. Add almond flour/meal and process until incorporated.
Line a small bread pan or narrow pan with greased parchment paper (you can use coconut oil). Scrape date mixture out of processor, and smooth with another greased sheet of parchment paper, using your hand or a spatula to press on top of the paper and make even. The caramels should be about a 1/2 inch thick.
Place in freezer for one hour. Meanwhile, temper chocolate using these instructions. Remove caramels from freezer, and cut into 12 small squares. Then dip and coat with chocolate using a fork, tapping on the side of the bowl to get chocolate to drip off. Set on a piece of parchment paper to dry.

Sprinkle with sea salt as you work, waiting a few seconds so that the chocolate has started to harden a bit and the salt will adhere. Caramels will last at room temperature for 1 week if you temper the chocolate. You can also use the regular method of melting the chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave, and adding a 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil. If you make this way, the caramels will need to be kept refrigerated until serving.

Salty Chocolate Date Caramels {recipe}

This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which I make a small commission on to pay for my giant grocery bill if you happen to purchase something. 

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44 thoughts on “Salty Chocolate Date Caramels

    1. amandapaa Post author

      i like the way we work. and isn’t it funny how somehow your least favorite is someone else’s favorite? i’m all about the caramel and the peanut butter. xo!

      Reply
  1. traci | vanilla and bean

    Grandma always had candy on the ready! Every Christmas she would make huge batches of fudge and caramels. We all clamored and bargained for them. I really miss her. These date caramels are quite tasty and so pretty! These would make perfect little gifts, Amanda, if any were left : 0 ! I love that shine on your tempered chocolate! Beautiful work my dear! xo

    Reply
  2. Mary

    I looooooved taking that trip back to your childhood! Once again, it reminded me of my own. Grandma’s house, lots of cousins and good food. In my case, pasta always, bowls of pecans and those strawberry candies wrapped in strawberry foil and filled with sweet creamy goodness. I would steal them alllll…I adore you, Amanda. And this post is eye popping! Going to make these so very soooon! xo

    Reply
    1. amandapaa Post author

      oh my goodness – i totally remember those strawberry candies and their foil! it’s always fun to reminisce. makes me wonder how time goes by so fast. happy holidays, and thanks for stopping by Mary. xo

      Reply
  3. Lauren Gaskill | Making Life Sweet

    Haha, I love your story about sorting through the chocolates! I did the same thing. My sister would just eat whatever, but I always picked out my favorites. These salty chocolate date caramels are a dream come true! Perfect for after-meal snacking in my opinion!! :D

    Reply
  4. Hannah | The Swirling Spoon

    How gorgeous are these! They look incredible, plus no stirring a pot of cream and sugar until it reaches an exact temperature and then cooling and then stirring some more (which is exactly what I was dreading having to do in the coming days…) brilliant!

    Reply
  5. Kate

    Oh my goodness these look delicious! I’m making treats for all my family as extra Christmas gifts and might just have to make these healthier additions to the line up :-) x

    Reply
  6. Katie

    These are so beautiful! I have never tempered chocolate, but I just read the epicurious article and it sounds totally doable. Might need to give that a try when I’m making christmas treats with my sister tomorrow!

    And seriously. MN needs that snow.

    Reply
  7. Emily | Gather & Dine

    Amanda! I was just thinking about making chocolate covered caramels, but I’m going to switch directions and make yours! So excited about using dates instead. And because your chocolate is so perfect looking, you’ve convinced me that I need to have the patience to temper. Your photos are telling me that it’s worth it. :)

    Reply
  8. Danae @ Recipe Runner

    Grandmas always have the best treats in their kitchen. I miss all the wonderful things my grandma used to make when we would come visit. The caramels look absolutely perfect! I would love a box full of them. Merry Christmas!

    Reply
  9. christi lynn

    These look fabulous! I will be on AIP for quite awhile but want to tuck this away for later! I was planning to use homemade sunbutter as I’m allergic to all nuts. Do you think coconut flour would sub for the almond flour? Or another type? I’ve got tapioca, coconut, tigernut, arrowroot and probably others that I can’t seem to remember at the moment! Thanks for any insight!

    Reply
  10. DMB

    Made these tonight for my family – everyone loved them! I even forgoto to add the almond meal and it was still good. Oops! They were a little gooier to work with because of it. Still delicious. And honestly, I made a few without the sea salt in case one of my little kids felt like pitching a fit about it. They were all good – but the sea salt ones were perfect!

    Reply
  11. Laura

    I’ve made these twice now and they are delicious! I used about 3 T. homemade pecan butter in the caramel filling instead of the almond butter/flour and water. Thanks for sharing this recipe. They are so good I will have to refrain from making them too often, as I ate the entire first batch in one day. :)

    Reply
  12. Pingback: No-Bake Salted Caramel Cups - Pinch of Yum

  13. Hayley

    I keep re-reading this and staring at the photos because I love dark chocolate sea salted caramels, but am too much of a health nut to eat much of them…ever. These healthy versions with dates mean that I can have them ALL THE TIME! It’s like this post was made just for me because I used dates in most of my desserts :)

    I figured I should leave a comment to let you know that I’m in love, love, love with the photos. They make me drool.

    I’m excited to grab a box of medjool dates so that I can try this out ASAP.

    Reply
  14. TJ

    Hi! I added salt too quickly, waited LITERALLY a couple seconds, didn’t let chocolate harden first. Now the salt has actually prevented the chocolate from hardening properly. It hardened on the ones I did not salt. What can I do to fix this I wonder please? Thx!

    Reply
    1. amandapaa Post author

      Hi, yes, you should wait longer to add the salt. Salt does not prevent chocolate from hardening, that just means you didn’t temper it (which is okay) but the caramels will take a lot longer to set. If you don’t want to wait, you can put them in the refrigerator.

      Reply
  15. Chanel

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe :)

    Brought it into work for a Valentine treat for coworkers, it is only 10 am and they are nearly eaten up

    Reply

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