This summer I was a frequent visitor to the Van Leeuwan ice cream trucks and shops around NYC. Seriously, their vegan flavors are totally awesome and I’ve even started to run into their pints at stores around town (I hear they recently launched a truck in LA too!). One of my favorite flavors is their Salted Caramel so as ice cream season ends (just kidding-we all know it’s year round) I decided to make a dessert that captures my favorite ice cream flavor in a slightly more Fall format.
Today’s Raw Vegan Salted Caramel and Chocolate Squares taste unbelievably decadent. Originally I was going to make them into bars but after tasting how rich the chocolate and caramel layers I decided to cut them into smaller squares. You would never guess that these bars are not only vegan and gluten-free but also raw and made without refined sugar.
- 3 dates, pitted and chopped
- ½ cup oats
- ¼ cup shredded coconut
- 1 tbs coconut oil
- dash of salt
- 10 dates, pitted and chopped
- 2 tbs coconut oil
- ⅛ tsp salt
- ¼- 1/2 cold water
- ½ cup cashews, soaked in water at least 4 hours
- 1 tbs cocoa powder
- ¼ cup coconut butter
- 1 tbs agave
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbs coconut oil
- 1 tbs cold water
- optional chocolate topping- 1 tbs agave, 1 tbs cocoa powder
- Prepare crust layer by combining 3 dates, ½ cup oats, ¼ cup shredded coconut, 1 tbs coconut oil and dash of salt together in blender or food processor. Scrap down sides and blend until mostly smooth texture is achieved.
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Use hands to form mixture into square about ½" high (about 6" x 6").
- Created salted caramel layer by combining 10 dates with 2 tbs coconut oil, ⅛ tsp salt and ¼ cup cold water in blender until smooth. Add more water if needed to blend.
- Smooth mixture over crust layer.
- Prepare chocolate cream layer by draining cashews and blending with 1 tbs cocoa powder, ¼ coconut butter, 1 tbs agave, ½ tsp vanilla extract, 1 tbs coconut oil and 1 tbs cold water. Spread mixture over salted caramel layer.
- Set in freezer for at least 30 minutes before cutting into squares.
- If adding chocolate topping, stir agave and cocoa powder together and drizzle over bars. Store in refrigerator.