This date caramel slice should probably come with a warning label: I’m RICH and INTENSE.
Just kidding. But in all seriousness, this no-bake slice is bursting with flavor! And it’s no ordinary, shockingly-sweet caramel slice, either.
Made with nutritious plant-based fats like coconut, almond butter, and cacao, and sweetened with dates and brown rice / maple syrup, it’s a much healthier spin on the classic Aussie cafe treat!
3-Layered Vegan Slice: The Lowdown
This caramel slice is composed of 3 simple layers that are quick to put together and requires NO oven time! Hoorah for low-effort treats.
1. CHEWY VANILLA COCONUT BASE: coconut flour + coconut oil + vanilla extract + rice syrup
2. GOOEY MAPLE DATE CARAMEL FILLING: dates + almond butter + maple syrup + coconut oil + vanilla extract + good pinch (or 2 or 3!) of salt
3. CREAMY DARK CHOCOLATE TOPPING: cacao powder + coconut oil + almond butter
Just sandwich everything together, freeze, slice, and let the *OOH-ing* and *AAAAH-ing* begin!
Why Choose Date Caramel?
If you’re a caramel lover whose also got a strong taste for lower sugar, whole-foods-based treats, then the average caramel slice probably doesn’t sit well with you.
Fortunately, this healthier date caramel exists and will probably suit your fancy! Thanks to gooey dates, it’s satisfyingly sweet without simply tasting like sugar. Plus, it’s far from nutritionally empty (although from the look of it you certainly wouldn’t think so!):
Dates are high in insoluble fiber, which is beneficial for digestion, as well as minerals like potassium and copper. They also add a subtle fruity note to the caramel!
Almond butter is rich in magnesium, a powerful mineral that is essential for brain health (among other things!). The startling fact is that nearly half of Americans are deficient in it!
I hope you enjoy this no-bake slice as much as I do! It’s full of:
Gooey salted caramel
Creamy almond butter
+ Rich dark chocolate!
No-Bake Date Caramel Slice Bites
This healthier raw vegan caramel slice features 3 simple and delicious layers: 1. chewy coconut crust, 2. thick layer of gooey date caramel, 3. luscious dark chocolate topping! YUM.
- Coconut Base:
- 1 cup coconut flour
- 1/3 heaping cup brown rice syrup (or sub other sticky liquid sweetener, but the flavor/sweetness will slightly change)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
- Date Caramel Filling:
- 1 packed cup (~180 g) pitted dates (soaked in hot water for ~10 min if not already soft and gooey)
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsps (6 tbsps total) high-fiber maple syrup or regular maple syrup
- 1/2 cup unsalted almond butter (if yours is salted, you may want to go easier on the added salt below)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 1/2 tsps vanilla extract
- Generous ~2-3 pinches salt (add to taste based on desired salted caramel flavor)
- Dark Chocolate Topping:
- 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/3 cup cacao powder
- 2 tbsps almond butter
- 1-2 tsps syrup of choice (optional, add to taste for more sweetness, or omit for a darker chocolate)
- Pinches of flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, to sprinkle on top (this really elevates the salted caramel flavor!)
Line a loaf tine with parchment paper and set aside. Make the coconut base by combining all of the ingredients in a bowl. The resulting mixture will be slightly tacky to the touch, but should not be too sticky to press into the loaf tin. If yours is too sticky to handle, allow it to sit for ~15 min to see if the coconut flour absorbs any more mixture. If not, add more flour ~1 tsp at a time. Pop the tin in the freezer to harden up.
Make caramel by blending the soft dates in a food processor or high-speed blender until broken up into small bits. Add the almond butter, syrup, vanilla, salt, and coconut oil (but make sure the oil isn't super hot to the touch, that would be dangerous!), and blend until a creamy, thick paste forms. You may have to stop and scrape down the sides a few times if it's not incorporating well. Taste and add 1-2 more pinches salt as desired.
Spread the caramel over the chilled base and cover with plastic wrap before returning to the freezer overnight or for several hours (~4-5) until noticeably hardened up. It won't be rock solid to the touch, but will have a slight squish. If yours isn't firm enough after 5 hours, allow it to firm up over night.
When the caramel is firm enough to hold it's shape, begin making the chocolate layer. Whisk together the melted coconut oil, cacao, almond butter, and sweetener (if using). Pour over the caramel and return to the freezer for ~15 minutes until the chocolate layer has fully hardened.
At this point you can leave it overnight in the freezer (in a freezer-safe container) and thaw it very slightly before slicing it up the next day. I don't advise leaving it in the fridge overnight before slicing it, as the caramel will soften too much, making cutting it up a gooey mess! It's best sliced when very cold.
To cut it up, lift the slice out of the tin using the sides of the parchment paper. Use a sharp knife to cut it into ~10-12 pieces. You may want to run the knife under hot water in between slicing if it's getting sticky.
Enjoy the slices immediately, or return to the fridge or freezer in a tightly-sealed container. I recommend storing them in the freezer and allowing them to thaw for a few minutes before enjoying (the base will harden up a bit). They can also be stored in the fridge, but the filling will be slightly less firm (see the difference between the 1st and 2nd picture for freezer vs. fridge consistency). Consume within ~6-7 days if kept in the fridge, or longer (I estimate ~2-3 weeks or more) if stored in the freezer!