candy

Time to fulfil your wishes. Your nut-free wishes! Nearly every time I post a new sweet recipe I get messages from my lovely readers with allergies asking if it would be possible for them to prepare the recipe without nuts or almonds. Most of the times I have to disappoint them because nuts and almonds play such a significant role in many raw/health recipes, and the recipe just wouldn’t be the same if you substitute them with something else.

But now, my babies – now I have something magnificent for you! Something that is nut-free, raw, vegan, gluten free, dairy free and naturally sweetened, all at the same time. And delicious too! This one is truly a crowd pleaser.

And it doesn’t lay on coconut! Many times nut-free treats use coconut to get the creamy rich texture, but I know that the taste of the coconut doesn’t please everyone. And I have to admit that I don’t prefer a strong coconut flavor either and nowadays I use coconut in my recipes in veeery subtle ways so that the strong hippie vibe doesn’t push through. (All my love to hippies ♡)

So, therefore I picked a more neutral ingredient here that still gives a nice wholesome consistency. I picked chickpeas – le chick! Those brilliant little creatures that are so versatile, nutrient-rich and lovely. Then I accompanied them with fresh organic dates. Because dates are my no. 1 favorite sweeteners and they also add a nice little bonus to the texture and taste. I really could not survive without fresh dates in my kitchen.

Which brings to mind another quoestion I get asked a lot – Which dates do I use? Well, the ones that you can always find from my kitchen are fresh organic dates by Fontana that are sold in cardboard boxes in fruit ja vegetable section in supermarkets – at least here in Finland. I like the texture, the taste and the fact that they are organic. They are also easy to find because they are available very widely in the supermarkets – at least here in Helsinki. So I was very happy to pair up with Fontana with this post, because I actually use their dates A LOT.

And here’s my hot tip for a natural date sweetener:

Buy a package of fresh dates. Preferably organic. Take about 20 dates, take out the stones and place the dates in a blender. Add about 1 cup water and 1 tsp vanilla extract or ½ tsp vanilla powder, if you like. Blend until creamy and smooth sauce. Add more water, if needed. And if you like your sauce to be extra smooth, remove the date skins under a running water. Then pour the sauce inside a sealable clean jar. Now you have a lovely sweetener that you can use when baking in breakfasts or in any way you want. Store the date paste sealed in a fridge and you can use it easily for 2 weeks.

Now there you have it. Go ahead and make this date caramel paste & my Le Chick! Caramel Bars and serve them for example to your Valentine next week. Moi moi!

V

In collaboration with: Fontana organic dates

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(Nut-free, Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined sugar-free)

 

Base:

1 cup chickpeas (cooked / from a can)

10 fresh dates, pitted

5 tbsp coconut flakes / shredded coconut

½ tsp vanilla powder (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)

 

Caramel:

10 fresh dates

3 tbsp tahini (or your favorite nut/almond butter)

3 tbsp coconut oil, melted

3 tbsp water

3 tbsp coconut syrup (or raw organic honey)

½ tsp vanilla powder (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)

a tiny pinch of sea salt

 

Chocolate frosting:

6 tbsp raw cacao butter, melted

4 tbsp coconut oil, melted

6 tbsp raw cacao powder

4 tbsp coconut syrup (or raw organic honey)

a tiny pinch of sea salt

 

OR about ½ cup of your favorite raw chocolate melted

 

Tin size: 17 x 12 cm / 7 x 5 inches

 

Base:

Cover the tin or the freezer safe container with parchment paper. Add the chickpeas into the blender and blend. Add dates, coconut flakes and vanilla and mix until a thick sticky mass. You may have to scoop down the sides of the blender in between blending. Taste and if you want add vanilla or other sweetener, for example coconut syrup. Spoon out the dough into the tin and even the surface with a spoon. Prepare the caramel sauce.

 

Caramel sauce:

Place all the ingredients into the blender and blend until sticky sauce. Add a drop of water, if needed, but try to keep the mixture as thick as possible. Spoon out the caramel sauce and spread onto the base mixture. Prepare the chocolate frosting.

 

Chocolate frosting:

Melt cocoa butter and coconut oil in a warm water bath. Add cocoa powder, syrup and salt. Mix until a nice sauce. Taste and add more some of the ingredients, if needed. Pour the chocolate mixture onto the caramel sauce. Put into the freezer and freeze for a couple of hours or until solid. Take out of the freezer and cut into bars. Let thaw for about 15 minutes before serving. Store in the freezer or in the fridge.

 

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Makes 15-20 pieces

Caramel

  • 15 fresh dates
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1-2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 15-20 pecans
  • 4-5 tbsp unsweetened peanut butter or almond butter

Icing

  • 4 ounces dark chocolate or raw chocolate

On top

  • flaky sea salt

Pit the dates. Put the dates, coconut oil, water vanilla extract and salt into the blender and purée. Caramel should be thick and smooth. Spoon the caramel in a freezer-safe container and put it in the freezer for about 15 minutes so that it thickens a bit and is easier to handle.

Line a small baking sheet with a parchment paper. When the caramel sauce has thickened, take about teaspoon-sized dollops of the caramel and place onto the prepared baking sheet and mold the caramel into balls. Press a pecan into each ball. And then add about half a teaspoon of peanut butter on each pecan nut and place the tray into a freezer. Freeze for about 30 minutes.

In the meantime melt the chocolate on the top of a double boiler / in warm water bath. Take the pralines out of the freezer and dip each of them into the chocolate icing. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and return them to the freezer just to set. Bring out, serve and indluge. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

Recipe from the book IT’S A PLEASURE by Virpi Mikkonen

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Approx. 15 pieces

  • ½ cup of almonds and / or walnuts
  • ½ cup of local organic honey
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond butter or nut butter
  • 2 tbsp grated coconut /coconut flakes
  • a pinch of sea salt

 

Chop the nuts/almonds into small pieces, for example with a blender and set aside. Pour the honey into a pan and heat it on the stove over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it starts to foam. After stirring the foaming honey for about 5 minutes, turn the heat low and add the almond or nut butter. Stir the mixture until it begins to thicken slightly. Remove immediately from the heat and add the chopped almonds/nuts and coconut flakes. Blend quickly until it becomes a smooth paste. Place the warm mixture into silicone molds or into a tin lined with baking paper. Smooth the surface and sprinkle sea salt lightly on top. Allow to cool and set in the fridge before slicing small pieces with a knife. Wrapped candies can be stored in the fridge. Eat within a couple of weeks.

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About 8 bars

Coconut filling:

  • 3 tbsp mashed otatotatoes
  • 3 tbsp organic honey (or kookossiirappia)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 dl grated coconut
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

Raw Chocolate Frosting:

  • ⅔ cups cocoa butter, melted
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ⅔  cup raw cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp organic honey or coconut palm syrup
  • a pinch of sea salt

Coconut Filling:

Peel and cut the potatoes. Cook until done. Mash the potatoes with a fork. Put three tablespoons of mashed potatoes in a bowl. Add vanilla extract and honey. Stir. (Mushi becomes a liquid at this point!) Stir in the coconut and the molten coconut oil. The dough should be so thick that it may be lurking ball. If necessary, add grated coconut. Shape the dough into small bars on a dish. Put batons for half an hour in the freezer to solidify.

Chocolate Frosting:

Melt the cocoa butter and coconut oil in a warm water bath. Add cocoa powder, honey and salt. Stir. Check the taste and add more sweetness if desired.

Take the bars from the freezer and dip in chocolate. Store in a refrigerator until served.

Check out the Clean Bounty Bar VANELJA video!

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  • ½ cup rice syrup (or organic honey or coconut palm syrup)
  • ½ cup almond butter (or nut butter of your taste or 1 cup butter)
  • 3 tbsp oat milk (or other dairy-free milk)
  • 3-4 tbsp black licorice root extract powder or grated liquorice root extract stick
  • 1 tsp ground anise
  • ½ tsp vanilla powder
  • a tiny pinch of sea salt

Pour all the ingredients to a saucepan. Bring to boil. Stir constantly and turn the stove to low temperature. Heat the mixture stirring slowly for about 5-20 minutes. If you want it to be really thick and sticky, cook only for about 5-8 minutes. If you like softer toffee, cook for 10 – 20 minutes. To test if the toffee is ready, drop a tiny bit of mixture into a bowl of cold water. Toffee is ready when you can mold a soft but solid ball of it with your fingers. Pour the mixture into chocolate molds or spread to a silicon-lined or parchment-lined board or plate. Let cool in the fridge. If you spread the toffee onto a sheet, break it into bars or smaller candies. Wrap it for example in greaseproof paper or store in a jar. Serve and enjoy! Store sealed in a cool room temperature or in a fridge and use within two weeks.

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