The Recipe Redux is a group of like-minded food bloggers whose mission is to inspire the food lover in every healthy eater and inspire the healthy eater in every food lover. Each month members post recipes to their blogs following a theme set by the group moderators. This month’s theme is favorite kitchen tools, gadgets, and gizmos. Click the Recipe Redux link at the bottom of this page to see links to all the posts for this month’s challenge.
Valentine’s Day is coming up and it of course wouldn’t be complete without chocolate, but if you’ve been diligently sticking to your New Year’s healthy eating resolutions you might be reluctant to celebrate with the traditional confections served on this holiday. If that’s the case, then these Healthy Salted Caramel Chocolate Hearts are the answer! A thin coating of dark, bittersweet chocolate with a light sprinkling of flaked sea salt covers mock caramel, which is made from pureed dates, flaxseed, and peanuts. This filling is completely free of refined sugar so it lacks the characteristic biting sweetness of a typical caramel filling. Make no mistake though – these are still decadent little treats, high in fat and calories, but when compared to other chocolate covered caramel candies, they are definitely more nutritious. They’re lower in sugar and have a little bit of protein and fiber where most chocolate covered caramel candy has none.
This month my fellow Reduxers and I were asked to reveal a new (or old) favorite kitchen tool, gadget, or gizmo and then create a healthy recipe using it. I didn’t have to think too hard for this challenge because my Joseph Joseph rolling pin is at the top of my list of kitchen tools that I simply could not live without. This unique rolling-pin comes with plastic washers that correspond to various dough thicknesses. These washers are screwed into the ends of the wooden pin so that dough can be rolled out to an exact, perfect, even thickness. Anyone who is an experienced baker knows it can be difficult to roll dough out to an even thickness using a traditional rolling-pin, and even very slight variations in the thickness of dough can affect your final baked goods. This is especially true for pie crusts, cookies, and crackers. Pie dough, when baked, will become browned, or possibly burned, where the dough was rolled too thin, and underdone where it was rolled too thick. Cookie dough that is not the same thickness throughout will cause your cookies to bake unevenly. And, cracker dough that is not rolled out super thin and even will produce thick, tough crackers without that crunch and snap that we all want from our crackers. This rolling-pin is a godsend in these situations, but it also came in handy making these Healthy Salted Caramel Chocolate Hearts.
Here’s what the inside of a Healthy Salted Caramel Chocolate Heart looks like. If you didn’t know any better you’d think it was a real chocolate covered caramel candy, right? It tastes like one too, just not quite as sweet and gooey. The main ingredient in the mock caramel filling is dates and I like deglet noor dates for this recipe. They have a delicate flavor and are more firm-textured than other types of dates which I find makes them easier to process. For best result use a Vitamix blender or something comparable to make these candies. You’ll won’t be able to combine the mock caramel ingredients into a soft, smooth, pliable dough unless you use a very high-powered blender.
A box of Healthy Salted Caramel Chocolate Hearts would make a nice Valentine gift for your health-conscious loved one. These candies are best stored in the refrigerator or freezer. They can be served straight from the freezer for a delicious frozen candy-bar-like treat. For a slightly less firm texture, store in the refrigerator. Be sure to click on The Recipe Redux Link below to see posts highlighting other useful kitchen tools, gadgets, and gizmos.
- 2 cups (220 grams) pitted deglet noor dates
- 1 cup (120 grams) unsalted dry roasted peanuts
- ½ cup (60 grams) flaxseed meal
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 1 cup (6 ounces) bittersweet (60% cacao) chocolate chips
- ¼ cup (2 ounces) coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt flakes
- Place the dates, peanuts, flaxseed meal, vanilla, and salt in a Vitamix or other high-powered blender and, with the aid of the tamper tool, process until smooth.
- Roll the dough out to a thickness of about ½ inch. Using a heart shaped cookie cutter measuring 2¼ inches x 1¾ inches, stamp out 14 hearts.
- Spray a wire rack with olive oil cooking spray and set it over a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Put the bittersweet chocolate and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl or measuring cup and microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir and put it back in the microwave for 15 second intervals until the mixture is completely melted, stirring after each interval. Alternatively you can melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler over barely simmering water.
- Drizzle the chocolate evenly over the hearts and sprinkle some sea salt flakes in the center of each.
- Let chocolate set/harden before removing the candies. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.
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