Silky Caramel Chocolate Pralines (vegan, raw, gluten & grain free)
1 C of almonds/pecans
1/2 C of tahini/almond butter
1 1/2 tsp of vanilla powder or 1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch of salt
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1/3 C of date paste (1 1/2 cups of water blended with 1 cup of soft dates) or 1/2 C of medjool dates
1/3 C of maple syrup
1/3 C of melted cacao butter
2 tbsp of lucuma powder
Favourite bar of chocolate for dipping (100/200 gr)
Place the almonds/pecans, vanilla, salt and cinnamon in a food processor and blend until the pecan start to form a nut butter consistency. Don’t let it become runny as a nut butter would be, just enough so it’s completely smooth.
Add the lucuma, date paste, maple and cacao butter and process until creamy.
Remove the caramel from the food processor and place into a square tin lined with parchment paper, flattening it out with a spatula or your hands making sure it’s at least 1 inch/1.5 cm thick.
Set in the freezer for about an hour.
If using a chocolate bar, chop it into small chunks, transfer to a glass or metal bowl and start melting it 15 minutes before taking out the caramel.
You can either do it in the microwave at a minimum setting, making sure to stop and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon every 20-30 seconds or melt it over a bain marie (basically, bring some water to boil in a pot, lower the heat to a simmer and place the bowl with the chocolate on top, stirring very so often.
Once the chocolate is melted, take out the caramel and cut into desired shape. You could do small or bigger squares, rectangular or triangle shape and even cut out different shapes with a cookie cutter.
Line a baking sheet or plate with parchment paper and with the help of a fork, dip each piece into the chocolate, making sure to gently shake off the excess before placing it on the sheet/plate.
Repeat until you coat all the caramel pieces.
Then, set the pralines in the fridge for 5-10 minutes before serving.
You could decorate the top with edible flowers or a sprinkle of chopped pecans, sea salt and cacao nibs.
Enjoy each praline with your eyes closed! The crunch of chocolate and the melt in your mouth texture of the caramel are a perfect combination!
Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
If you have any leftover caramel, store it in the freezer and simply glaze it when you are melting more chocolate.
If you have any leftover chocolate, dip some strawberries, bananas, dried fruit or nuts in it and set in the fridge. Or simply pour on a sheet lined with parchment paper, set in the fridge until hard and save for a later use.
**If you’d like to make your own chocolate fro dipping, you’ll need cacao butter, cacao powder and a powdered dried sweetener.
250 gr of cacao butter, chopped in small pieces
180 gr of cacao powder
pinch of salt
150 gr of powdered coconut/cane sugar (simply grind the sugar in a blender or spice grinder until fine)
If you have a high speed blender, place the cacao butter and blend until it starts to melt. Then add the rest of the ingredients until smooth. Make sure to not overheat the chocolate.
If you have a normal blender, simply melt the cacao butter first over a bain marie (as explained above), then transfer to a blender and add the remaining ingredients.
Transfer to a glass or metal bowl and stir with a spatula to cool down the chocolate slightly (5/10 minutes). It’s a similar process to what chocolate makers do when tempering chocolate to reach that nice crunch and snap that we all love when we reach for a square.
Follow the same dipping directions as above.
I suggest to powder the sugar first to give the chocolate a smoother texture.
Also, using a dry sweetener will give that chocolate that typical snappy texture that you get when you break a bar of chocolate or bite into it. Using a liquid sweetener will instead give the chocolate a soft, more truffle like consistency.