Sweet sweet October [Chocolate Almond Caramel Bars]

Monday fans: raise your hand. Nobody? Hm … Maybe I can convince you by saying that this post is not just going to be marvelous but mmmm[hhh]arvelous? Happy Monday!

MiMM_new

Do anybody else’s  cravings for anything sweet become even more intense as soon as it gets colder outside? I’m longing chocolate no matter of the season but it’s definitely exponentially increasing with the decreasing temperatures.

But I digress. Sweet is the name of the game because is there any better way to start into the week? [This is a rhethorical question, by the way ;).] In my post on Wednesday I asked for your favourite chocolatey snacks – for a reason. Let’s say my consumption of the ‘real’ deal has gone up noticably in the past weeks. While I’m never going to give up on it [ha, not even considering it] I figured queasing my sweet chocolate tooth with a slightly healthier or actually just a homemade alternative. Michelle’s recipe for vegan Twix hugely inspired these.

Bar I

Not only was I missing key ingredients [read: almond flour] called for in the recipe but reading it I just couldn’t help coming up with my own spin on it in my head already. What sounds good in theory, though, doesn’t always turn out once put to practice. I’m happy to say it did for these little bars of deliciousness, though. For those of you concered with this: my changes also add a protein boost – treats with a nutritional bonus? Why not.

Caramel bars

You’ll notice I once more put an emphasis on using white almond butter in the caramel. While I’ve just recently discovered the amazingness of roasted almond butter it doesn’t lend the sweet and creamy flavour the unroasted one does in this recipe. I dare you to manage not eating the whole batch of sticky caramel all at once … I somehow did but I can’t tell you how. Next time I may or may not need to prepare a litte more …

Date caramel (2)

But trust me: self-control is rewarded. Rich dark chocolate that crisps upon first bite. Creamy sweet caramel. Slight salty peanutty base. Good thing I don’t have to share …

Treat

Chocolate-covered Almond Caramel Bars [makes five to six bars]

For the base:

  • 25 g pitted dates
  • 1/3 cup (40 g) peanut flour
  • a pinch of salt

For the caramel:

  • 45 g of dates
  • 1 1/2 tbsps of white (!) almond butter
  • 1 tbsp of water (you might need to add more later)
  • pinch of real vanilla [optional]

For the chocolate coating:

  • 1.5 – 2 oz chocolate (I used 85 % dark chocolate)

Blend the dates in a food processor [or the ice crush attachment of your handheld blender] until a paste forms.

Add the date paste to the peanut flour and salt and knead to get a thick doughy texture. You might need to mix in water little by little depending on how sticky your dates are.

Shape into bars and place into the fridge for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare the caramel by combining the dates, almond butter and water in the food processor. Blend to reach a smooth but not drippy consistency.

Once the bars have chiled for the time required to firm the up spread a thick layer of caramel onto each of them. Place them in the freezer [not fridge this time] until the caramel has hardened a bit.

Melt the chocolate. Cover the top of each bar with chocolate. The coating should harden right away. If not return to the fridge until set.

in hand

In case you’re wondering: yes, this post’s title was inspired by the movie Sweet November. So romantic, so sad. Perfect for the season. If you haven’t watched it yet: do it! Maybe with a Chocolate [Caramel] Bar to sweeten things up?!

Happiness inducing today: Lots. For one a nice long telephone chat with one of my cousins, Exciting blog news [more to come]. Oh, and Chocolate Caramel Bars – sorry ;).

Have you ever made your own candy bars or found any great recipes online? Please share the links! Amanda had an awesome collection in her Sunday link love post already.

What are your favourite romantic movies? It’s the season so I’m looking for recommendations. Preferably ones that have been released a few months or better yet years back so chances are my library will have them.