Healthier Date 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!” This is a ‘healthy caramel slice’ that is really worth getting excited about – its quick to make and ridiculously delicious.

Creating a healthier version seemed like mission impossible at first, but after four attempts I have made a ‘healthy date cashew chocolate 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! Enjoy!

Watch my video below on how to create this amazing recipe at home!

Healthier Date 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
Dairy
Free
Gluten
Free
Kid
Friendly

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 180degC/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 10-15 minutes until light golden. 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! I also find it easier to flip the whole caramel slice upside-down and cut through the base down). The slice will keep for up to a week in the fridge.
  • ** 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 🙂

    • 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!

  • 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?

    • 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

    • 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

    • 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!

    • 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??

    • 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?

    • 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.

  • Victoria Klingonsmit

    What is coconut thread?

    • Catherine Ainsworth

      Shredded coconut

    • Hi Victoria, it’s also called shredded cococnut…it’s like dessicated coconut but bigger pieces. Feel free just to use dessicated coconut though 🙂

  • Kelley Rodger

    This looks amazing I’m going to make this but I have a question, I don’t have a good processor could I use a stick blender instead??

    • Hi Kelley, do you have a blender instead? (not a stick blender)….if you do, for the base you can finely chop the almonds and just mix with the other ingredients, or use ground almonds instead. For the filling, blend the cashew nuts, maple syrup and coconut oil until smooth and then mix with the date mixture. If you don’t have a blender, you might have to knock on your neighbours door! 🙂

  • Yana Ashton

    Hi Nadia – just wondering what chocolate you used for the topping that was refined sugar-free? Thanks

    • For a completely sugar-free chocolate topping – use cacao powder, coconut oil and a little pure maple syrup (although you may not need it as the filling is very sweet). I used Green and Blacks 85% cocoa chocolate which is so low in sugar it worked out to be like less than 1g per slice

  • Liz

    Nadia, I follow a low FODMAP diet. Could I substitute macadamia’s for cashews perhaps? I tried this today & it was devine.

    • YEs, you could absolutely use macadamias instead of cashews! In fact, it would be extremely good with macadamias!

  • Hannah Williams

    Hi Nadia – I don’t have any Medjool dates and was wondering if i could just use ordinary dried dates, or will it not work? Thanks

    • Yes, you can use normal dried baking dates instead…but just soak them in boiling water for a few minutes first – this plumps them up a bit and makes them more moist, like medjools. You need that little bit of moisture/stickiness to help the base ingredients stick together

  • Amber Bourke

    Hi Nadia this recipe looks amazing but I have one problem. I live in Italy and can not find coconut oil anywhere! Is there anything I could possibly substitute it for?

    • Butter is fine. But it will not be dairy free then of course, but just as delicious!

  • Sharon H

    Hi Nadia, this looks incredible & will definitely make. Only thing is I’m caffeine free – any thoughts for an alternative to chocolate?

    • you can use cocoa or cacao whipped with some coconut oil and a little maple syrup…however cocoa/cacao will still contain a bit of caffeine in it. Carob powder would be a good substitute! Otherwise, you could just top it with walnuts 🙂

  • Briar Schwalger-Smith

    Hi Nadia, loving all the recipes in Fresh Start! Was just wondering if it’s possible to use roasted cashews in this recipe? Thanks!

    • Hi Briar, great to hear you’re loving the book! Yes, you could use roasted cashews no problem, it will just have a slightly different flavour and the caramel will be a bit darker in colour

  • Graeme E Bradley

    Made it today for my members at the gym! They’re all loving it ^^ you really did nail it Nadia!

    • Awesome! And thanks 😉

      • Graeme E Bradley

        did it a second time and made it all much smoother and creamier! (though i think the base is best raw and chunky!)

        was favored by even the vegans and no healthy eaters on our camping trip ^^

        Thanks again! This is definitely my go to caramel slice recipe now 🙂

        • thats great! bet you were mr. popular on the camping trip 😉

  • Kelsey Barrett-Beesey

    do you have to bake the chocolate base?

    • Nope, you can have it raw – it’s just as nice!

  • Fiona Brownlie

    Hi there. is it possible to get the decadent bad-for-you chocolate caramel slice? My son is keen to have one without the healthy dates, as a special treat! Thanks, Fiona

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  • Cathy

    Wow! This is such an addictive slice! I’ve made it a couple of times now, and always to rave reviews. The first time I made it, I used butter instead of coconut oil and had a lot of trouble trying to get it to set. In the end, I could only get a few nice looking slices to take for a morning tea so the rest ended up in my freezer (where I discovered how impossible it is to stop at one slice!). The second time I used coconut oil and it set much better- I cut it up in the tin anyway to be on the safe side.
    It’s also really filling so it makes a perfect afternoon treat when you need a bit of sweetness!

  • Bella Bozzone

    So delicious! I made this quite a few times already and it was always a hit. I wanted to make it again but this time use a chocolate ganache as a topping? Do you think that would work? Do you have a healthier version of chocolate ganache? Thanks so much!

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