Healthier Date and Cashew Caramel Chocolate Slice

After posting a ridiculously yummy, but ridiculously bad-for-you recipe for caramel chocolate slice that my husband loves (and occasionally bakes for his mates when they go on their hunting or fishing trips), I thought “right! I’m going to see if I can make one that’s just as delicious, but is full of nutritious ingredients!” Creating a healthy version seemed like mission impossible at first, but after four attempts I have made a caramel slice that mimics the flavour, texture and all round deliciousness of the original. I’ve fed it to many guinea pigs now, and people are just gob-smacked when I tell them there’s no refined-sugar, dairy-free or gluten in it! Note: there is a lot of confusion around oats and whether they are gluten free or not, please refer to the asterisk note at the bottom of the page for more info. Enjoy! Watch my video below on how to create this amazing recipe at home and be sure to subscribe to “The Good Food Neighbourhood” here!

Healthier Date and Cashew Caramel Chocolate Slice
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Nutritional Information (per serving)
Calories
277 Kcal | 1174 kJ
Carbs
22.2 g
Sugar
17.9 g
Total Fat
19.4 g
Protein
4.2 g

User Rating

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Serves

20-25 pieces

Prep

15 minutes

Cook

30 mins + 3-4 hours to set in fridge

Ingredients

Base
  • fine rolled oats* ¾ cup (you can also use ground almonds as a gluten-free alternative)
  • coconut thread ¾ cup
  • good quality dark cocoa powder 1 tablespoon (I used Equagold's Dutch cocoa powder)
  • medjool dates 6, pitted
  • raw almonds ½ cup
  • salt one pinch
  • coconut oil 6-8 tablespoons, melted
Date and cashew caramel filling
  • dried pitted dates 400g
  • boiling water ¾ cup
  • cashew nuts 2 cups softened**
  • pure maple syrup ¼ cup (not the stuff that's artificially flavoured with sugar!)
  • coconut oil ½ cup melted
  • vanilla extract 1 teaspoon
Chocolate and walnut topping
  • good quality dark chocolate 150-200g (check dairy-free if required)
  • neutral oil 1 teaspoon (e.g. walnut, canola, soy)
  • walnuts 1/3 cup chopped (optional)
  • coconut thread 1-2 tablespoons (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degC/355 Fahrenheit. Lightly grease and line the bottom and sides of a square baking tin (20cm x 20cm) with baking paper.

  1. Place oats/ground almonds, coconut thread, cocoa powder, medjool dates, almonds and salt in a food processor and blitz until a fine, crumbly texture. Drizzle in melted coconut oil/butter and pulse until well combined and the mixture holds together when you pinch it between your fingers.
  1. Press mixture into the prepared baking tin, pressing down firmly with the back of a spoon or spatula. Bake for 15 minutes, then set aside in the fridge to cool while you make the caramel.
  1. To make the caramel, place dates and water in a medium-size pot and boil, stirring frequently, until the dates are very soft and mushed up, and all the water has evaporated. Place dates in the food processor along with the softened cashew nuts, maple syrup, coconut oil/butter and vanilla. Blitz until nice and smooth – this will take at least a few minutes. scrape down the sides of the food processor a few times to make sure everything has been blended.
  1. Spread caramel all over the base in the baking tin. Set aside in the fridge to set for at least 4 hours or the freezer for at least 2 hours, or until the filling is firm.
  1. Melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler or in a glass bowl set above a small pot of simmering water. Mix in oil if using. Pour melted chocolate all over the filling and spread it over evenly. Return to the fridge for about 20 minutes, or until set. If it still seems a bit soft, return to the fridge/freezer for a bit longer.
  1. Cut into about 25 pieces (a long, sharp serrated knife dipped in hot water will help a lot!). The slice will keep for up to a week in the fridge.

 

  • * While oats are naturally gluten free, they contain a protein similar to gluten (Avenin) that some people still react to, and they are often contaminated with gluten when processed and packaged where other gluten-containing products are. Some people on a gluten free diet can tolerate oats, but others cannot. If you are worried about traces of gluten, use ground almonds as an alternative. If you are coeliac, Coeliac NZ recommends avoiding oats altogether.
  • ** To make softened cashew nuts, either soak in water overnight, or boil cashew nuts in a pot of water for about 15 minutes or until soft. Drain.

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  • Jaimee

    Hi Nadia, this is such a delicious recipe! I recently made it for a bunch of girls with dairy-free, gluten-free & refined sugar free needs between them, was very much enjoyed! Just a question, I’m wanting to make a cheesecake using this base as the base, would it be ok not cooked for that or would I still be best to bake it as you have for this recipe? Thanks :)

    • http://nadialim.com/ Nadia Lim

      Hi Jaime, oh dear I’m so sorry for such a late reply…I completely missed your comment somehow! I’m sure you would have figured it out yourself, but yes you can use the base uncooked – it’s delicious raw and holds well together too. You just have to check the consistency of it and make sure the mixture holds together when you pinch it between your fingertips. Thanks for the lovely feedback too!

  • http://nadialim.com/ Nadia Lim

    Hi Jaimee! It would be absolutely fine uncooked/raw :) Good
    idea! And will be very yummy in a cheesecake

  • mary

    Can I substitute the cashews with macadamia nuts?

    • http://nadialim.com/ Nadia Lim

      Although I haven’t tried it myself, i’m sure you definitely could :)

  • Chelle

    THIS WAS A LIFE SAVER!!! Thank you so much! I had to adjust a few things and did a blog post on your recipe. I gave you all the credit but let me know if I need to do anything else. And THANK YOU I was missing chocolate caramel ness SO SO much :

    http://lhirondellerouge.com/lhirondellerouge/chocolate-carmel-goodness-without-the-ness

    xox Chelle

    • http://nadialim.com/ Nadia Lim

      Wow, thanks Chelle! Your blog (and the picture of the final product) looks amazing! Thank you for sharing the recipe around :)

      • Chelle

        Your blog is so beautiful and inspiring!!! Thanks so much for sharing your lovely work!!!!!!!

  • Paul

    Brilliant recipe and the caramel is delicious. I have blogged a recipe using your recipe here. Please take a look, I want to make sure you are happy with the post as you feature prominently in it.

    Decadent yet healthy, Date and Cashew (fake Caramel) Tart on the blog. http://t.co/EhFm97V535

    • http://nadialim.com/ Nadia Lim

      Hey Paul, thanks for the great feedback. Checked out your blog – looks great! Love the idea of turning it into a tart. I think I might have to give your recipe a go myself! Very happy! Thanks again, Nadia x

  • Glenn Stewart

    Thanks Nadia! I just whipped up one of your slices! I made my icing with 1/2 cup cacao, 1/3 cup coconut oil & 150ml pure maple syrup! It tasted yummy…I just wish my caramel was as light as yours…mine appears a little darker but still tastes good!

    • http://nadialim.com/ Nadia Lim

      Good idea with the topping – it would have been nice and soft. Great to hear you liked it! Thanks for the feedback and icing idea :)

    • Tracy Pinfold

      Mine is dark to lol was hoping it to be like the photo

  • Hiliary Schroeder

    YUUUUM! So good Nadia. Just wondering if you can freeze the slice to have later and how long you could keep it for??

    • http://nadialim.com/ Nadia Lim

      you certainly can freeze the slice….good idea or else it might all get eaten in one hit! Just make sure it’s well wrapped/covered so it doesn’t take on any odours from the freezer. It should keep for up to about 1 month. Glad you love it!

  • Helen Armstrong

    I am living overseas and made this for friends who were gluten, dairy and sugar free and it was divine :-) I have access to natural date syrup here. Could you use that to replace some of the dates, or would it be too runny?

    • http://nadialim.com/ Nadia Lim

      You have very lucky friends Helen! :) Not sure about the date syrup…I have a feeling it would be too runny and not set enough. Although if you increased the coconut oil and set it in the fridge it may still work.