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Buttercream & Date Caramel Candy Bars

By Sara McGlothlin

I am a talented recipe creator in many ways. I can become immediately inspired by simply flipping through a magazine, or all of a sudden an idea for a dessert will pop into my mind. I then ride the wave of creative energy until I find myself fiercely typing away at my laptop. I love coming up with new flavor combinations, figuring out the pieces of the puzzle that will fit, and (surprise, surprise) healthifying traditional recipes to result in a more nutritious (yet still delicious!) rendition of a baked good or main meal.

The major way I fall short however, is that often I want to ride the wave of creative energy without having to whip out my laptop to write everything down. That part can take me out of the flow, and I not only start to overthink and doubt what I am doing, but also attach to how someone else (you, dear reader) might perceive it. Also, a lot of time, I am not measuring. Often a 1/2 teaspoon is shaking the spice into the palm of my hand, eyeballing the amount, and tossing it into the bowl. That method doesn’t translate well on paper. Lastly, sometimes the incorporated ingredients for a particular recipe aren’t exact. Case and point: these candy bars. A *professional* recipe creator or cookbook author would likely ensure that the date caramel and buttercream filling perfectly matches the amount you need for these bars. Not I. I made a full serving of both, and there is a lot left over. I see this as a good thing as I can now use it for something else, or eat it straight out of the jar with a spoon (which I am known to do).

If you don’t share my sentiment that having leftover date caramel and buttercream frosting is a good thing, I apologize in advance. In order to change your mind, perhaps you try these date caramel blondies and frost them just for fun. Or better yet, these date caramel cupcakes will call for some frosting so you can kill two birds with one stone. Otherwise, I encourage you to make my raw cacao or carob cups, top with a tablespoon of both the date caramel and frosting, and say hello to your new favorite after-dinner, lower sugar sweet treat.

Back to these bars though. I allowed them to set in the freezer, and then the next day, I transferred them to the fridge. Later that day, I took my first taste test bite. I was in heaven! The only sweetener I used – aside from the natural sweetness of dates – was powdered monk fruit. In that moment, I was reminded that it is enough. Of course I always love baking with my coconut sugars, but I am quickly becoming a bigger fan of this more blood sugar balancing option. I highly recommend!

The inspiration behind this recipe came from a chocolate bar I bought at the farmers market. A vendor was selling some high-quality dark chocolate, and I opted for the 100% cacao because I knew I could use it as an ingredient, rather than eat it raw. When I chopped it up per the instructions below, it yielded enough for four bars, but feel free to use chocolate chips in order to make more. I would suggest when melting, use 2 tablespoons of coconut oil for every one cup of chocolate chips.

Buttercream & Date Caramel Candy Bars {Grain-Free, Gluten-Free}

Leave the refined sugar and additives behind and make your own chocolate bars. Made with high-quality dark chocolate and sweetened with dates and some monk fruit to prevent that blood sugar spike.
Prep Time 40 mins
Passive Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 40 mins
Course Dessert
Servings 4 bars

Equipment

  • 1 silicone candy bar mold See notes
  • Food processor
  • Microwaveable safe bowl

Ingredients
  

For the Bottom & Top Layers

  • 1 2oz 100% dark chocolate bar chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon powdered monk fruit
  • 1/2 teaspoon monk fruit

For the date caramel

  • 2 cups Medjool dates, pitted equals about 15-18
  • Hot or boiling water enough to cover
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the buttercream filling

  • 3/4 cup grass-fed butter room temperature
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil room temperature
  • 1/3 cup powdered monk fruit
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the date caramel first. Cover the pitted Medjool in hot or boiling water for at least 30 minutes. Once soft, scoop out 1/4 cup of the soaking water and set aside. Drain the dates, and transfer them to a food processor. Add the soaking water and vanilla extract. Process until creamy, scraping down the sides of the food processor as you need to. Transfer the date caramel to a medium bowl until ready to use.
  • Make the chocolate. In a microwaveable safe bowl, combine the chopped dark chocolate and coconut oil. Microwave for 50 seconds to 1 minute. Remove the bowl and stir until creamy (chocolate may appear to not have fully melted, but once you stir, it will combine with the hot coconut oil). Add the powdered monk fruit and granulated monk fruit and stir again until everything is blended.
  • Pour 1-2 tablespoons of the melted chocolate into the bottom of the candy bar mold. Transfer the mold to the freezer to harden for at least 30 minutes. Set the remaining melted chocolate aside.
  • Make the butter cream frosting. In a large bowl, combine the grass-fed butter and coconut oil. Beat with a hand mixer, immersion blender with whisk tool or a large whisk until fluffy, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the powdered monk fruit and vanilla extract and beat again until everything is blended together, using a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl as you need to and beat again.
  • Once the chocolate has set in the bottom of the bar mold, layer in the date caramel and buttercream filling (about 1-2 tablespoons each mold). Pour the remaining melted chocolate over the filling in equal amounts until used up. Place the mold back in the freezer to completely set, at least 1 hour.

Notes

Candy bar mold on Amazon
Otherwise, this recipe could be made as “cups” using muffin liners 
Storage: Bars can be kept frozen for 1 year, refrigerated for 1 month. Keep leftover date caramel in the fridge in an airtight container for up to two weeks. Keep buttercream filling in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 10 days. 
Keyword Egg-free, Gluten-free, Grain-free, Nut-free, Tree Nut-free