Recipe Difficulty: Easy
My Raw Caramel Slice Recipe Notes
This is THE BEST RAW(ish) CARAMEL SLICE.
I made this so many times to get these the way I wanted them to be in my head. A roasted almond base sweetened with dates, a super gooey caramel layer made from peanut butter, dates, a bit of maple, vanilla, and sea salt (or you could sub your fav nut/seed butter), and a fudgy chocolate layer made from dark cocoa powder, coconut oil & maple. They are divine, and I can't imagine a better for you treat that is more satisfying to my taste.
How to Store my Raw Caramel Slice
I recommend keeping these in the freezer. I make myself a cup of tea, grab a couple of these to enjoy right from the freezer. The caramel will hold together better and still be really gooey, plus they soften fairly quickly at room temp anyway, if you want a stickier caramel situation. These bars wouldn't be my choice for packing in a lunch box or taking on a picnic. They are however perfect for when you are at home and want something sweet with your favourite cuppa.
These bars are gluten free and dairy free, but they definitely contain a whole lot of nuts and I know a lot of people have allergies. I haven't tested a nut free version of this recipe. If I were going to try however, I would substitute oats for the almonds in the base. My guess is spreading them on a sheet pan and popping them in the oven until a bit golden would be a good way to add some toasty flavour. (I have tested this recipe with raw almonds and roasted almonds, roasted were the clear winner)
For the gooey middle, if you were able to consume almond or cashew butter, those would be my first choice. Otherwise I know nut free peanut butter substitutions exist. How good they are, I'm not sure, but my hope would be they would blend up with the dates to be something tasty. An extra splash of vanilla might not hurt.
Roasted Almond Base
The base comes together easily in a food processor. I just blitz everything together until it is in really small pieces and holds together when you squish some between your fingers. When you are pressing the mixture into your pan, you might find it helpful to dampen your fingers with a bit of water first. I have tried so many combinations of things for my base. Raw almonds with some oats and walnuts, oats and raw almonds, but then I tried just straight up roasted almonds along with the other ingredients and it was my favourite. Not at all surprising!
Peanut Butter & Date Caramel
This stuff is some kind of vegan magic. My original raw slice recipe had a thinner layer of caramel, and it took me awhile before I realized I just wanted more. I want the caramel to be the star, I don't want the dark chocolate to be the predominate flavour. I basically just want a bar with a base and a topping to provide shelter for this caramel gold. I've thought many times about making component as a dip for apple slices or whatever else. I would just thin it out with a bit more plant milk. What a great snack idea. If you find yourself eating a few bites of caramel while making these bars, don't worry, I do it every time.
Fudgy Chocolate Layer
I tested different chocolate layers over time, and this is where I landed. I used to just melt chocolate chips and pour it over top. I enjoyed the hard chocolate shell as a contrast to the rest of the gooey bar, but after navigating away from that and testing toppings using cocoa powder, I just like it better. I used Hershey's Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder in my recipe. I typically buy Camino, but the store didn't have it, and this has a vegan label so good to go. It has great rich, dark chocolate flavour and I would definitely buy it again. You will need to melt the coconut oil in a small sauce pan for this recipe and stir in the remainder of ingredients. I wouldn't recommend trying to microwave the oil and stirring everything in after. I tried it (although with a different ratio of ingredients) and ended up with a clumpy mess. Maybe it would work with my current ratio of ingredients, but I will never risk it again to try.
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Hey! I'm Trisha