Salty Chocolate Date Caramels

By Amanda Paa – Updated April 13, 2023
4.92 from 12 votes
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date caramels with flaky sea salt on parchment paper

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 they seemed quite sophisticated with their green foil wrappers.

Pulling out the flavor map of the chocolate box, 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.

date caramel being made in a food processor
date caramels on parchment paper

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 caramels made with dates instead, because it’s easier! No candy thermometer needed. And they’re absolutely delicious.

I made them for Valentine’s Day last year, and ever since then I couldn’t stop thinking about how amazing they were.

dipping caramels in chocolate, using a fork.
chocolate caramels with sea salt on parchment paper.

Making Date Caramels:

Vegan date caramels are much easier to make than traditional caramels. No candy thermometer, no cooking!

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……

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!

chocolate date caramels on a white surface

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chocolate date caramels on a white surface

Salty Chocolate Date Caramels

These easy to make caramels are made with dates, almond butter, and vanilla. They're dipped in chocolate and topped with flaky salt!
4.92 from 12 votes
Prep Time :15 minutes
Additional Time :30 minutes
Total Time :45 minutes
Yield: 12 caramels
Author: Amanda Paa



  • 1 cup packed soft & pitted Medjol dates (161 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon creamy almond butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons almond flour
  • 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.


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. 

Did you make this?

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December 16, 2015


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Recipe Rating

4.92 from 12 votes (10 ratings without comment)

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  1. Bobbi W

    I’d like to try these – I don’t have any almond flour / or butter though- is there another you can recommend?

    • Amanda Paa

      hi! you can use all-purpose gluten-free flour (one that doesn’t have beans in it) and any nut butter.

  2. Grace Y.

    5 stars
    These were amazing! They far exceeded expectations. I will definitely be making these again.

    • Amanda Paa

      So glad you enjoyed them, Grace!

  3. Freya

    This looks so good! But i couldnt find enough normal dates.. norway..
    Im making double batch, half with normal dates and then rest with cocoa&orange dates! (Excited if they turn out good)
    Needed the rest of the normal ones for the no-bake coconut mango cheese cake bites!

  4. Ariel

    5 stars

  5. Christie

    What would happen if I left out the almond flour? I’m concerned that could make them gritty

    • Amanda Paa

      Hi Christie! You could use oat flour instead. Some binder is needed to help the caramel’s structure.

  6. StaceyN

    These are so good! I used peanut butter since that’s what I had on hand. I also didn’t temper my chocolate so I stuck them in the fridge. Only problem is it didn’t make enough. Lol Next time I’ll double the recipe!

    • Amanda Paa

      Yay! Aren’t they delicious? A fun, real food treat option.

  7. jess

    hi there!
    I want to make a nut free alternative for lunch boxes! thinking a sunflower seed/pepita flour swap for the almond flour and tahini for the almond butter?
    thanks, they look irresistible <3

    • amandapaa

      hi Jessica! i think those substitutions would work great, just make sure the flour is very finely ground. i’d also say that you might want to add one or two dates to make them a little sweeter, since those swap ingredients are a little more savory than almond.

  8. Carrie Allton

    Made these tonight and they are so delicious! Thank you for sharing your recipe.

    • amandapaa

      yay! glad you liked the recipe!

  9. Natalie

    These little chocolates are SO good!! I made them last night and can’t stop eating them!! They are def my new favorite salted caramel chocolates!! Thanks for sharing :)

    • amandapaa

      yay! i’m so glad you liked the recipe. they keep well in the refrigerator which is nice for summer too!

  10. Linzy

    These are fantastic! Thank you!

  11. 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

    • amandapaa

      I’m so happy to hear that! Thank you for sharing your results.

  12. 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!

    • amandapaa

      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.

  13. Amaryllis @ The Tasty Other

    Such a deliciously decadent little treat, Amanda! They look amazing, can’t wait to try them! Thanks for sharing x

    • amandapaa

      thanks for stopping by amaryllis! these are one of my favorite chocolate treats. xo

  14. 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.

  15. Rachel

    Hi! I’d love to share this in a Buzzfeed post about raw chocolate! Let me know if that’s ok!

    • amandapaa

      Yes, go right ahead. Thank you!

  16. 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. :)

    • amandapaa

      Laura, that’s so great to hear! And homemade pecan butter sounds fabulous. I may have to try that. Thanks for sharing your joy!

  17. 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!

    • amandapaa

      yay! and glad they worked out even though you forgot the almond meal. kudos to working with that gooey-ness!

  18. 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!

    • amandapaa

      Hi Christi! The sunbutter should work and I would use tapioca starch/flour, reducing the amount to 1 1/2 tablespoons. Enjoy!

      • christi lynn

        Thank you so much for replying so quickly! When I try them I will get back to you on how the substitutions worked! Have a great day!

  19. Laura

    Wow, Amanda, I mean that the only thing I can say now..look delicious

    Great job!

  20. Tisha

    These look absolutely divine!

  21. Gena

    Oh, these look heavenly, Amanda. And so easy, too. Can’t wait to try them!

  22. Sara @ Cake Over Steak

    Yum!! These sound dreamy. I feel like I can already taste them.

  23. 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!

  24. Melissa Falk

    Wow! Very effective photos ;)

  25. Jessica @ A Kitchen Addiction

    I can’t wait to give these a try! They look so good!

  26. 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. :)

  27. 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.

  28. 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

  29. 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!

    • amandapaa

      that’s always my nemesis – the perfectly cooked caramel! so yes, I may have taken the easy street. :)

  30. Pauline

    J’aimerais avoir les recettes en français svp

  31. Alison @ Food by Mars

    Wow, you’re killing me this week. These look insane – add it to the list!! XO

    • amandapaa

      :) several test batches….. gone.

  32. 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

  33. Brianna @Flippin' Delicious

    These look soso good! I love how you used dates. And that flaky sea salt… oh MAN!

  34. 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

    • amandapaa

      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

  35. Patricia @ Grab a Plate

    Oh! I’m swooning beyond belief! These look and sound amazing! How creative & love that you’ve used dates! Yum!

  36. Faith (An Edible Mosaic)

    I remember the Whitman’s box too, lol! These date caramels are pure genius, my friend. I’m a caramel kind of girl too, and I love that these are so nourishing in addition to being decadent and delicious. xoxo

  37. 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

  38. Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine

    These are beautiful Amanda!

    • amandapaa

      thanks Rebecca! happy holidays, xo.

  39. Abby @ The Frosted Vegan

    Those are the things you should be learning growing up, right?! :) I was the same way, bypassing nougat for caramel and coconut candies! I can’t wait to try these Amanda! xo

    • amandapaa

      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!