Raw Chocolate & Caramel Slice

Raw Chocolate & Caramel Slice

Caramel slice has to be one of my favourite naughty foods, ever.  When my friend Lizzie told me she was working on a healthy version of the delicious treat, I was pretty damn excited to try it.  Like anything she makes, it was a hit.  The base has the most unbelievable crunch, the caramel is sweet and rich and the chocolate on top adds the most amazing bitter-sweet finish.  Best of all, this healthed-up version is raw, gluten free, and refined sugar free.  Tick!

The main ingredients in the slice are dates, nuts, desiccated coconuts, and rice malt syrup- an ingredient I have heard about but haven’t known too much about until recently.  

Rice malt syrup is a sugar alternative.  It is made from fermented brown rice, which is cultured with enzymes that breakdown the starches in the rice, then cooked until it becomes a sweet syrup.  Rice malt syrup is better for you than using sugar when cooking.  This is because it contains soluble complex carbohydrates, maltose and a small amount of glucose.  When eaten the glucose is absorbed in the bloodstream almost immediately, while the maltose, in the brown rice requires up to 2 hours to digest completely, meaning it is slow energy releasing and considered to be low GI.

If you’re going to be whipping up sweet treats rice malt syrup is the way to go.  It’s readily available in the health food aisle in all good supermarkets.  To read more about sugar and it’s affects on our body, I recommend reading Sarah Wilson’s summary.  It’s rather eye opening!

So to make this delectable slice you will need a food processor, and will need to begin a day ahead. 

INGREDIENTS
Base-
½ cup almonds
½ cup buckwheat
1 cup desiccated coconut
16 medjool dates, pits removed
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon sea salt

Caramel-
250 g natural cashews
4 medjool dates
2 cups water
½ cup raw cashews butter, melted
1/2 cup rice malt syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 egg yolk
½ cup coconut oil, melted

Chocolate-
¼ cup cashew butter, melted
½ cup rice malt syrup
½ cup raw cacao powder
½ cup coconut oil, melted (or cocoa butter if you can find it)
½ teaspoon sea salt

HOW IT’S DONE
To start the caramel you will need to soak the cashews and 4 dates in water over night.  Place the dates and nuts in a bowl and cover completely with cold tap water.  Let them soak for 8-12 hours and set aside.

Line a 20-22cm square baking tin (or a rectangular one with same capacity) with baking paper ensuring you have overhang (this makes it easier to pull the slice out of the tin later).

To make the base, place the almonds into a food processor and blitz. You want to have some fine crumbs as well as bigger crumbs for texture.  Add remaining base ingredients ensuring to pit the dates and blitz until the mixture comes together. Press the base into the baking tin and place into the freezer to firm up whilst you make the caramel.

To make the caramel, drain the cashews and dates, making sure to remove pits from dates. Place into a food processor with softened cashew butter, rice malt syrup, vanilla, lemon juice, sea salt, and coconut oil. Blitz for 2 to 3 minutes until creamy.  Spread caramel over the base and place back into the freezer while you make the chocolate topping. You want this to set for about 30 minutes.

Finally to make the chocolate, in a bowl mix all the ingredients together until combined. Spread over frozen caramel and pop back into the freezer. Leave to set for 30 minutes before removing from tin and cutting into slices.

The slice is best kept in the freezer.  

Recipe by Elizabeth Hewson, Photography by Phu Tang

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