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Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart

 

This post is sponsored by California Dates. All images and opinions are my own.

One of the very first vegan recipes I ever tried was a date based caramel sauce. I was making it to go with dairy-free ice cream, and was excited to find something that didn’t have refined sugar and didn’t require a candy thermometer! I don’t know if you’ve ever made caramel (with cream and butter), but there’s a very small window between just perfect and burnt beyond repair lol, and for someone who is easily distracted (like me), you usually end up with the latter. Since California Dates naturally sweeten with notes of butterscotch/toffee, they make a fantastic foundation for a creamy, caramel sauce like the one I used here to top this decadent chocolate tart. They also easily replace sugar 1:1, creating refined sugar-free recipes with the added benefit of fiber and antioxidants.

Since caramel and chocolate play so well together, I decided to balance the sweet & salty flavors of the caramel with a deep, dark chocolate ganache filling and nutty chocolate crust for a dessert that’s sure to satisfy even the most discerning sweet tooth. It’s like eating a chocolate bar in tart form!

The caramel sauce is so simple and versatile, I recommend doubling the recipe so you can have an extra batch on hand for dipping fruit, drizzling on top of ice cream, or even just eating right off of the spoon :).

Ingredients: (makes 1, 9″ tart 10-12 servings)

Chocolate Date Crust:

9″ tart dish

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

2 1/4 cups almond flour

1/4 cup cacao powder

6 tablespoons date paste (made from California Dates)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Chocolate Ganache Filling:

1 13.5oz can coconut cream

12 oz. bittersweet chocolate (no sugar added)

4 tablespoons ghee* (optional, to enhance the shine and richness of the chocolate)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch sea salt

Date Salted Caramel:

1 cup California Dates

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons almond butter

2-4 tablespoons date syrup (use more for a thinner, more pourable caramel)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prep your tart dish by lightly greasing it with melted coconut oil (you can use a clean paper towel dipped into the oil for this). Set aside.
  2. Add all of the chocolate date crust ingredients to a food processor, and process just until it begins to combine to form a dough.
  3. Firmly press the crust into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared tart dish using the palm of your hand or the bottom of a small drinking glass (the back of a spoon also works well). Bake for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool while making the filling.
  4. If you’re not using chocolate chips, chop the chocolate bars into small pieces and transfer them to a heat-proof mixing bowl.
  5. Heat the coconut cream, in a small saucepan, over medium heat just until it starts to simmer. Then carefully pour over the chocolate pieces. Allow to sit untouched for 3 minutes, and then whisk the chocolate and cream together until smooth. If using the ghee, whisk it in now, and then the salt and vanilla.
  6. Pour the chocolate ganache into your tart shell, and transfer to the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to set.
  7. Time for that delicious date caramel (no candy thermometer required)! Place the California Dates into a shallow bowl, cover with hot water, and allow to soak for 15 minutes.
  8. Drain the dates, and transfer them, along with the other caramel ingredients, to a high-speed blender (starting with just 2 TB date syrup). Add more date syrup to thin, or more almond butter to thicken.
  9. Pour the caramel on top of the set chocolate ganache, and use an offset spatula to evenly spread it, covering all the way to the edges of the tart.
  10. Cover the tart and keep refrigerated. Allow to sit at room temp 30-60 minutes before serving. Decorate with chocolate shavings, marshmallow*, flakey sea salt, and anything else you’d like just before serving. Enjoy!
    *I made a few date syrup sweetened panda marshmallows to decorate my tart. As I’m still perfecting the recipe, it’s not available just yet, but I will update this page once I have it good to go :).

If you try this cute dessert please let me know, I would love to see your version! You can learn more about California Dates by visiting DatesAreGreat.com.

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