Can Halloween be sinfully good and good for you? The answer is yes. Sweet Medjool dates are transformed into caramel, and extra-dark 91 percent chocolate — the darker, the better — enrobes each candy with its rich, complex flavor. Plus, healthy fats like coconut oil and unrefined sugars like maple syrup mean you can treat yourself to some Halloween fun. One bite of these chocolate candies and you’ll know there are no tricks, just real treats!
Peanut Nougat ’n’ Caramel Chocolate Bars
Makes: 16 mini bars
1 cup extra-dark chocolate, preferably made for coating, chopped
For the nougat:
¾ cup almond flour or almond meal
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
For the caramel:
½ cup Medjool dates, soaked in water for at least 4 hours and drained
2 tablespoons unsalted peanut butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup roasted peanuts
Bring water to a low simmer in a double boiler. Place two-thirds of the chocolate in the double boiler and melt to 115 degrees F. Stir in the remaining one-third of the chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes; stir to combine. Let the chocolate cool down to 90 degrees.
To make the nougat: In a food processor, pulse together the almond flour, coconut oil, maple syrup, almond milk, vanilla and salt until combined.
To make the caramel: In a food processor, pulse together the dates, peanut butter, salt and 2 tablespoons water until combined.
To assemble, line a 3 1/4-by-5 3/4-inch mini loaf pan with parchment paper, overhanging on 2 sides. Coat with chocolate to cover the bottom about 1/8 inch thick. Let set, at least 1 hour or overnight. Top with the nougat, about 1/2 inch thick. Top with the caramel, about 1/4 inch thick. Scatter over the peanuts. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.
Reheat the chocolate to 90 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the assembled bar to a cutting board and cut into 16 pieces. Dip in chocolate and place on the prepared parchment. Let set, at least 1 hour or overnight.