Salted Caramel Bonbons
When my family moved from California to the East Coast, my grandma started ordering boxes of our favourite California chocolate any occasion she could. By now, my grandma knows all of our favourite chocolates – nuts and chews for my mom and dark caramel patties for me. Old habits die hard. Even without the butter, sugar, and cream, these treats really taste like salted caramel, thanks to the creamy almond butter and dates. Next test: sneaking them into the chocolate box and seeing if anyone notices!
Makes 15 to 18 bonbons
150g soft medjool dates, pitted
75ml raw creamy almond butter
1 tbsp coconut oil, plus more if needed
½ tsp sea salt or pink salt, plus more if needed
1 tbsp almond meal, if needed
175g dark chocolate chips
Maldon salt, for topping
In a food processor, combine the dates, almond butter, coconut oil, and pink salt. Pulse until the mixture is well blended and a ball starts to form. You may need to scrape down the sides a couple of times. Taste and add a pinch more salt as needed, keeping in mind that you will be adding another pinch to top each bonbon.
Pop the large ball of salted caramel “dough” in the freezer to chill for 5 to 10 minutes. If the mixture feels too soft to dip into chocolate and hold its shape, you can freeze it for longer or return it to the food processor and blend in 1 tbsp almond meal.
Use a small cookie scoop to measure out the bonbons. They should have a flat bottom and round top (like half of a ball). Alternatively, you can use a tablespoon coated in a little coconut oil so the caramel slides out easily. Once they have all been measured out, stick them back in the freezer while you melt the chocolate.
Gently warm the chocolate chips over simmering water in a double boiler (make sure the water does not touch the bowl above it). Stir the chocolate frequently until it is completely melted. Assess the consistency to make sure it will work for dipping; if it’s too thick, you can add some melted coconut oil.
When you’re ready to dip (this part can get a little bit messy, but it’s worth it!), remove the bonbons from the freezer. Line a large plate with parchment. Try using a toothpick to pick up each bonbon by the bottom and dip in the chocolate – or a fork to dip the bonbon and gently roll it around in the chocolate. Set them on the plate and sprinkle each one with a pinch of Maldon salt to finish. Stick them back in the freezer to firm up for about 15 minutes. They’ll keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of weeks or in the freezer for a few months.
If you have leftover chocolate, you can simply pour it onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, sprinkle on your favourite superfood toppings (like hemp hearts, pepitas, goji berries, and bee pollen), and let it set in the fridge or freezer. An easy, delicious treat!
Ideally, you will be using fresh, soft dates for this recipe to get the creamiest texture for your caramel. If your medjool dates are not soft, soak them in hot water for a few minutes to soften them.
Extracted from Good Clean Food: Super Simple Plant-Based Recipes for Every Day by Lily Kunin (Abrams, approx €18). Photographs copyright © 2017 Gemma and Andrew Ingalls