Hi.

I’m Jackie, a stay at home vegan mommy of one amazing little girl. My daughter, Zoey, is three years old, a huge Disney aficionado and Minnie Mouse super fan. She’s also the most amazing little helper in the kitchen that a mother could ask for, and so she is… my Minnie Chef.

Chocolate Caramels

Chocolate Caramels

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Fun Fact: The runner-up name for Zoey was Lucy after the much beloved Lucille Ball, America's favorite red head… I’m a HUGE fan of ‘I Love Lucy’ and have been since I was a little kid.  So much so that I wanted to name my firstborn after the star of the show! But her dad vetoed that idea…. And of course, as irony would have it, Zoey is a red-head!  

So anyway, there’s this one episode of the show in which Lucy and her partner in crime, Ethel, decide to swap roles with their husbands.  The ladies go out and get jobs, while the men stay home and do the homemaking.  Lucy and Ethel end up getting placed at a chocolate confectionery and, of course, their experience ends in complete comedic disaster.  The ladies fail at every task they’re assigned to.  Lucy had a go at dipping chocolate.  Thinking it would be a walk in the park, she aloofly mimicked the seasoned chocolate-dipping veteran next to her until she ended up with a melted blob of a mess.  The ladies were ultimately given one last opportunity to redeem themselves before getting fired.  The task is simple enough, or so it seems—scoop up each piece of chocolate that comes through on the conveyor belt, wrap it up, and put it back on the conveyor.  But when the conveyor starts moving faster than they can, they end up with hats, blouses and mouths full of chocolate in an attempt to hide it all and avoid getting fired.  It’s probably one of the most iconic scenes from the series. 

I visualized this episode over and over again in my head the entire time I was making these chocolates.  I could not stop laughing to myself as my I saw my perfectly molded caramels consumed by unattractive globs of melted chocolate… picturing my favorite leading lady's reaction as she found herself in the same situation.  I discovered that much like Lucy and Ethel, I’ve got some work to do on my confectionery skills.  But don’t go judging books by their covers here, because even though these little babes might get self-conscious next to a storefront display case full of expertly handcrafted chocolates, they sure do taste good—imagine what it would taste like if a Rolo and a Mounds had a baby!  And the best part is, they’re made from simple, clean ingredients!

Servings Prep Time Cook Time Total Time
12 10 mins. 0 mins. 10 mins.

Ingredients:

  • 12 medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil, optional*
  • Sea salt

*Adding oil will help keep the chocolate smooth and prevent it from clotting up while you’re working with it.  If you aren’t a fan of coconut, use a ½ teaspoon of vegetable oil instead. 

Directions:

  1. Combine dates and maple syrup in a blender and blend on high until a fudgy, caramel consistency is achieved.  This shouldn’t take more than a minute. 
  2. Transfer date caramel to a Tupperware container lined with wax paper, using a piece large enough so that it comes up the sides of the container.  This way you can easily lift it out of the container later. 
  3. Using a spatula, smooth the date caramel out until it is a uniform thickness all over. 
  4. Gently cover with remaining edges of wax paper and seal.  Place in the freezer for about an hour.
  5. After an hour, prepare a cutting board or small baking sheet, by lining it with wax paper.  Grease the wax paper with coconut oil.  Set aside.  Arrange another piece of wax paper on your counter, near your stove if possible.   
  6. Bring a double boiler* to a simmer over low heat. 
  7. Place chocolate chips in the double boiler, add coconut oil and stir frequently until chocolate is melted.  
  8. While the chocolate is melting, remove date caramel from the freezer and Tupperware.  Gently peel away the wax paper and place the block of caramel on the fresh piece of wax paper on your counter.  Use a knife or pizza cutter to cut block into cubes, or use cookie cutters to cut into shapes.
  9. One at a time, gently drop the caramel cubes into the melted chocolate and use a fork to gently toss around until coated in chocolate.  Slide a fork under the cubes to lift them out of the melted chocolate, letting some of the excess chocolate drip out through the prongs of the fork.  Place chocolate-coated caramels onto the wax paper-lined tray, top with a pinch of sea salt and refrigerate for at least an hour to set.  Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.  Enjoy!   

*If you don’t have a double boiler, find a glass heatproof bowl and a saucepan that are similar enough in size so that the glass bowl will fit snuggly over the saucepan.  You don’t want to use a bowl so small that it will fall into the saucepan or one so large that it will allow steam to escape.  And make sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t come into contact with the simmering water in the saucepan!                                                                                       

 cover gently so the wax paper won't stick to the date caramel when it's in the freezer. 

cover gently so the wax paper won't stick to the date caramel when it's in the freezer. 

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Toddler Tip:

Let your toddler help cut out shapes using a cookie cutter!

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