Visiting the Pana chocolate cafe in Melbourne recently revived my enthusiasm for raw treats – to the point where I almost prefer them to their cloyingly sweet traditional counterparts. I used to dismiss such offerings – disdainfully claiming “if it’s made with dates, it tastes like dates”, and here I am now, eating my words and far too many pieces of this slice. This is not so much a healthy take on the traditional caramel slice I adore and analyse the chocolate to caramel ratio of, rather simply a raw and vegan version that tastes just as good as the real thing. The recipe may be gluten and dairy free, but having either intolerance is absolutely not a prerequisite for enjoying it immensely.
While the combination of sesame with the chocolate and caramel may seem a little odd, I promise it adds both a salty depth of flavour with the addition of tahini and a pleasant crunch thanks to the seeds themselves. I see a lot of “raw” Snickers slices in both cafes and on Instagram, and the difficulty with creating a chocolate/peanut butter combination that’s truly raw is the fact that unroasted peanuts tend to taste more like beans. Obviously I don’t follow a raw vegan diet at all, but I wanted to respect the principles behind the philosophy when I created this – hence my inspiration to use sesame seeds for a slight nuttiness to make the slice more interesting. Also, no peanuts = paleo friendly!
raw vegan salted sesame caramel slice
- 1 1/8 cup (180g) raw almonds
- 1/2 cup (40g) desiccated coconut
- 9 fresh dates, pitted
- 1/3 cup (90g) coconut oil
- 2 tbsp black sesame seeds
- Pinch of sea salt
- 24 fresh dates, pitted (room temperature)
- 1/3 cup (100g) tahini
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tbsp rice malt syrup
- Generous pinch sea salt flakes
- 1/4 cup coconut cream
- 2/3 cup (250g) rice malt syrup
- 1/3 cup (90g) coconut oil
- 1/2 cup (50g) raw cacao powder
- Pinch of sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
- White sesame seeds for topping
- Loving Earth salted caramel chocolate (optional)
- Grease and line an 7 x 11 inch (or similar) deep baking tray with nonstick paper.
- For the base, combine the almonds, coconut, dates and coconut oil and blitz in a food processor on high speed for a few minutes, or until the nuts are in small crumbs and have formed a sticky mixture with the dates and coconut oil. Add the sesame seeds and blend for a further minute to mix them through. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the baking tray and pop in the freezer while preparing the caramel.
- Again with the food processor, blend the fresh dates, tahini, coconut oil, sea salt and rice malt syrup on high until they form a thick paste. Add a spoonful of the coconut cream at a time to thin the caramel so it can be spread over the base. Pour the caramel over the partially set base, spread evenly with a spatula and freeze again.
- Melt the coconut oil and over very low heat in a saucepan, combine with the rice malt syrup, cacao powder and a pinch of salt. Stir constantly until combined. Pour over the caramel, sprinkle with extra sea salt and sesame seeds (along with the caramel chocolate if using). Freeze for at least 2 hours before cutting into pieces with a warmed knife.
- Store in the fridge for a creamy texture, the freezer for a chewy one in an airtight container.