Vegan Samoas (Caramel DeLites) with Date Caramel

Girl Scout Cookies.

Yummy Vegan Caramel Delites (Samoas) with Date Caramel

Don’t pretend you don’t like them. Almost everybody has a soft spot for at least one of those delicious, seasonal sweet treats.

Delicious Vegan Samoas with Date Caramel

Coincidentally, several varieties of Girl Scout Cookies are vegan (#bless). Which is honestly such a gift to dairy-free and vegan people. It’s so nice to not miss out on the Girl Scout cookie fun.

Vegan Samoas with Date Caramel

Thin Mints: vegan. S’mores cookies: vegan. Peanut butter patties: vegan.

Vegan Date Caramel

But what’s not? Sadly, samoas (or caramel delites, depending on who you ask). Boo.

Vegan Caramel Delites with Date Caramel

Now. I have seen a million line-extensions of Girl Scout cookie products on the shelves that hypothetically I could enjoy. Girl Scout cookie cereals, granola bars, candy bars, even teas – but nothing is quite as satisfying as the cookies themselves.

Amazing Vegan Samoas with Date Caramel

So when life won’t give me a vegan Caramel DeLite, I will make one myself. Because I am a strong, independent woman and I do not need a mass-bakery to support my inner-cookie-lover. I will get creative and I will succeed. Just watch me.

Vegan Caramel Delites (Samoas) w: Date Caramel

So here we are: vegan samoas. I played around with two versions. One batch I made used date caramel. The other used this Coconut Milk Caramel. You could also just melt a bunch of these heavenly nuggets and use that instead. You do you. I’m not here to tell you how to live your best samoa life.

Anyways ~ On to the cookies. A little prep work is involved, yes, but I promise it’s worth it. Perfect and impressive and tasty for your next party or Instagram. Or in my case, empty Friday night.

#bless up, Girl Scouts:

Vegan Samoas (Caramel DeLights) with Date Caramel

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes, and at least 20 additional minutes or refrigeration
Servings: 12 cookies

Ingredients:

Shortbread Cookies:

  • 1/4 cup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (can sub additional vegan butter)
  • 3/4th cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (can sub additional AP flour)
  • dash of salt
  • Date Caramel Coconut Layer:

  • 8 ounces pitted dates (roughly 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seed butter, cashew butter, or coconut oil (optional, adds richness)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded coconut
  • Alternatively, you can sub one batch of this Coconut Milk Caramel
    Chocolate:

  • 1 cups dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (optional)
  • Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • In a large bowl combine softened vegan butter and melted coconut oil. Add sugar and vanilla extract and whisk well. Add flour and fold into dough until just combined. If dough seems dry, add a tablespoon or 2 of water or non-dairy milk. Place dough in refrigerator to set, about 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, soak dates in 1 cup water for at least 10 minutes. Once dates have softened, drain them and place in a food processor. Add sunflower seed butter, vanilla and salt. Pulse until a smooth caramel dough forms; the caramel should be sticky.
  • Transfer date caramel to a bowl. Add shredded coconut and mix until coconut is coated in date caramel.
  • Remove dough from refrigerator. Roll out dough to be about 1/8th inch thick. Use a circle cookie cutter, and/or an inverted drinking glass to cut dough into circles. Use a knife to cut a smaller hole in the middle of each cookie, to resemble a doughnut shape.
  • Place cookies onto a parchment paper-lined pan and place in the oven until golden brown, about 18-23 minutes.
  • Remove cookies from oven and allow to cool.
  • Once cookies have cooled, use a spoon or your fingers (fingers are much easier, honestly) to distribute date caramel around cookies. Aim for about 1/4-1/3th inch of date caramel.
  • Once cookies have caramel layer, melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave using 30 second increments, and stirring occasionally. This will take 2-4 minutes. Once chocolate is melted, stir in coconut oil.
  • Pipe chocolate or drizzle it in a zig-zag pattern using a pastry bag, and/or by letting it run off the back of a spoon. Once all cookies have a chocolate drizzle, dip the bottom of each cookie into the remaining chocolate, placing back onto the parchment baking sheet after each dip.
  • Allow cookies to set in the refrigerator until chocolate has hardened, at least 30 minutes.
  • Enjoy!
  • Vegan Salted Coconut Milk Caramel

    Caramel! Do you say it “CARA-uh-mel” or “CAR-uh-muhl” or “KAR-mul?” I say it “delicious,” and something I enjoy swirled into my ice cream or as a dipping sauce for a hot doughy pastry (hello, mini churros).yummy-vegan-coconut-milk-caramel

    So once upon a time I found and fell a bit infatuated with these vegan caramels made from coconut milk. Me being me, I instantly starting working on how I could recreate something similar.

    I typically make my vegan caramel from dates, which is delicious, but this was a fun new challenge and I can’t wait to bake with this stuff and incorporate it into other fun desserts and treats.coconut-milk

    What are you up to right now? As I’m typing up this post, I’m watching Vanderpump Rules. It’s the best worst show ever.

    Life is still a bit of a doosey for me lately. I’m experiencing multiple transitions and am exploringย new platforms for freelance, and in the meantime I find I have a lot of create energy and am unsure where to place it. It feels like I’m going to pop creative juice all over the carpet. So when this happens I end up baking breakfast cookies and making homemade vegan caramel. I need a life. Or a friend who will eat my food that isn’t my dog.vegan-coconut-milk-caramel

    In other news, I am experiencing a really adorable adult acne breakout. This acne does not help me in the she-looks-like-a-teenager-don’t-take-her-seriously-department. Which is starting to get a wee bit frustrating. But that’s okay. I recently read a tweet from a vlogger I follow about letting people who doubt you and try to take advantage of you be your motivation to succeed. So I’m going to try to go this route. Which I guess means caramel, among other things.

    Enough of my talking. On to the caramel:delicious-vegan-coconut-milk-caramel

    It’s easy, delicious, and has a lovely coconul undertone. It’s wonderful swirled into yogurt, on top of ice cream, AND in the recipe I am going to post next (stay tuned ~ I’m really excited about this one).

    Oh, and if you’d like the mini vegan churros recipe here it is: 1) Go to Trader Joe’s. 2) Buy frozen mini churros. 3) Eat.

    Prep Time: ย 2ย mins
    Cook Time: 35-40 mins
    Total Time: ~40 minutes
    Servings: ~1/2 cup caramel sauce

    Ingredients:

    • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
    • 1/2 cup sugar or coconut sugar
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla
    • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt

    Method:

    1. In a small saucepan, combine coconut milk and sugar.
    2. Heat mixture to a boil over medium heat. Maintain slow boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened, roughly 35-40 minutes. Stir in coconut oil and vanilla and remove from heat.
    3. Transfer caramel sauce to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Enjoy!

    Salted Caramel Date Truffles (from my ebook!)

    Hi everyone! If anyone is out there still.

    I must apologize for my disappearance! I had a major cross country move, and then I started grad school for human nutrition at Columbia! I’m also working some and interning a bit with Spoon University. I’ve never been so busy in my whole life! But that said, I’ve really been missing blogging and am going to try my best to get back to it! Winter break will CERTAINLY be full of blogposts!

    But I thought I’d share this Salted Caramel Date Truffle Recipe that’s from my ebook, (which you can buy here), and also featured on Spoon University, here.

    These are honestly amazeballs. Like, way better than they have the right to be. With the salty crunch on the somehow seemingly sinful date filling, combined with the creamy nut butter, they blow the senses a bit, and create a cravable, not-actually-unhealthy treat.

    You can use any nut butter you want, but for these, sunbutter is ma fav ๐Ÿ˜€

    Enjoy! Ps I used Iron Salt on these babies (that’s the pretty pink stuff on top).
    PPS – WordPress is being a pooper and I’m having mega-trouble uploading photos, so for now, I only have these two on here. Will add more laters!

    Prep Time:ย 30 minutes
    Cook Time:ย 0 minutes
    Total Time:ย 30 minutes
    Servings:ย 12
    Level:ย Easy

    Ingredients:

    • 8-oz. dried, pitted dates or date pieces
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • ยผ cup sunfloweer seed butter (can substitute almond butter or peanut butter)
    • 1 cup dark chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (optional)

    Directions:

    1. Soak dates in warm water until softened, at least 15 minutes.
    2. Drain dates. In a food processor or blender, process dates and vanilla until a smooth paste forms. Add sunflower seed butter and ยผ teaspoon sea saltย and continue to blend until well combined.
    3. Roll mixture into small balls, about 1-inch in diameter. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and place into the freezer until set, about 15 minutes.
    4. Meanwhile, in a small microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate in 30 second increments, stirring after each increment, until melted (about 60-90 seconds total). Stir in coconut oil.
    5. Remove truffles from the freezer. Dip each truffle in melted chocolate and return to baking sheet.
    6. Sprinkle with remaining sea salt and return to the freezer until set, another 15-20 minutes.
    7. Enjoy!ย Store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

    Homemade Twix + Homemade Almond Joy

    As long as I’m rolling out candy recipes, (Kit Kats earlier today, Take 5 Bars with Graham Cracker and Sea Salt yesterday,) I thought I’d also post my homemade Twix and homemade Almond Joy bars. These were also part of my DIY Candies piece for NYU Spoon and were featured on The Daily Meal. I gave Kit-Kats their own post because Kit-Kats are a godly food in my eyes so I felt they deserved it. I’m combining Twix and Almond Joy because they’re also in my top 5 favs, but I’m also kind of lazy right now and I think my pup has to poop so I’m anxious to finish this post so we can go on a walk. And you know what? My blog my rules. *whip crack* Anywhoo, I feel like everyone loves Twix. I do too. I also feel like a lot of people think of Almond Joy as “old people” candy. It’s not. It’s great. Don’t judge my love of it and think I’m an old grannie. Even though ever since I turned 22, I’ve been going to bed progressively earlier. It’s fine trust me, I just like my bed a lot.

    Baker_Twix

    I feel like it is my responsibility to clarify, while I categorize all these homemade candies as “easy,” I should also mention that they’re all putsy. (ie: you got to have a bit of patience because it’s a lot of repetitive handling and spreading of chocolate etc). But spreading chocolate and being putsy is fun when you get delicious end results. At least in my eyes. Give these a whirl. And just like the Take 5 Bars, I reccomend Sea Salt. Also that Real Salt brand Sea Salt is dank monies. You should buy it. It’s like $6 for that bag, but so, so, so worth it. Last night I ate some food just so I could have a vessel for the salt. I do that a lot with hot sauce too. And salsa. And then I need a sugary chaser, like these bars. Life is all about balance, people!

    Twix:


    Baker_Twix_Ingredients

     

    Prep Time: 30 minutes
    Cook Time: 0 minutes
    Total Time: 30 minutes

    Ingredients:
    1 small box butter shortbread cookies
    1 9 ounce bag baking caramels
    1 12 ounce bag chocolate chips
    sea salt (optional)

    Directions:

    1. Place parchment paper or aluminum foil onto a large plate or baking sheet, and place it next to your work space.

    IMG_8019

    2. Unwrap caramels and place in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high in intervals of 30 seconds until melted, stirring between each interval.

    Baker_Twix_step3

    2. Spread caramel onto shortbread cookies using a knife. Place each caramel covered cookie onto the prepared sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt if youโ€™re fancy.

    3. Allow caramel to cool on cookies. This should take about 20 minutes.

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    4. Empty the chocolate chips into a large microwave safe bowl. Place in the microwave and microwave in increments of 30 seconds, stirring after each increment, until chocolate is melted. Be careful not to burn chocolate.

    5. Use a knife to spread chocolate on all four sides of the caramel coated shortbread cookies and place back onto prepared pan.

    Baker_Twix

    6. Place cookies in the refrigerator until chocolate has set, about 30-60 minutes.

     

    Almond Joy

    Baker_Almond

    Prep Time: 30 minutes
    Cook Time: 0 minutes
    Total Time: 30 minutes

    Ingredients:
    4 cups sweetened flaked coconut
    7 ounces sweetened condensed milk (half of a small can)
    1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
    1 12 ounce bag chocolate chips
    1/2 cup raw almonds

    Directions:

    1. Line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper or grease with butter or nonstick spray.

    2. Pour sweetened condensed milk into a medium sized bowl and add powdered sugar. Mix until smooth and well combined. Fold in sweetened coconut.

    3. Pour coconut mixture into prepared pan. Spread and pat it down evenly with a spatula.

    4. Place almonds in rows on top of the coconut mixture. Press each one into the coconut just a lightly, until each nut is about half submerged in coconut.

    Baker_AlmondJoys_Step2

    5. Place pan in the refrigerator for about an hour until coconut is set and firm.

    6. Grease a sharp knife with cooking spray. Cut the coconut mixture in rows following the pattern made by the almonds, and then into individual 2-inch bites.

    Baker_AlmondJoy_Step3

    7. Place parchment paper or aluminum foil onto a large plate or baking sheet, and place it next to your work space.

    8. Empty the chocolate chips into a large microwave safe bowl. Place in the microwave and microwave in increments of 30 seconds, stirring after each increment, until chocolate is melted. Be careful not to burn chocolate.

    IMG_8048

    9. Using hands, dip each 2-inch bite in chocolate and use a knife to coat chocolate evenly. Place on lined baking sheet.

    Baker_AlmondJoy

    10. Place almond joys in fridge for 30-60 minutes until chocolate is firm. Keep cold until serving. Nom it up and defend these beauties as young AND old person candy.

     

     

    Homemade Take 5 with a Delicious Graham-y Twist

    Do you know what I love? Candy. Always have, always will. I have longtime standing favorites, like the Kit-Kat, which I conquered in the kitchen here, but a more recent candy to hit the scene and secure a place in my heart is the oh-so-wonderful Take 5 Bar.

    IMG_8096

    In my humble opinion, these beauties are underrated. They are simple in principle (pretzel, caramel, peanut butter, peanuts, chocolate) but perfectly combine the salty-sweet-crunchy-chewy combo, which I consider to be synonymous with the ideal dessert. It’s like a mash up of the Salty Pimp and American Glob minus the soft serve. And y’all know ANYTHING that reminds me of Big Gay Ice Cream is the way to my <3.

    IMG_8079

    Any sweet treat I like to eat I like even more as a challenge to make in the kitchen. And hence, the homemade Take 5 Bar became this afternoon’s adventure after a lovely hour long stroll with Millie and her Uncle James. She also functioned as a sous-chef/major creeper in the process of making these babies (see below).

    IMG_8016

    I googled recipes and found a lot of Take-5-like layer bars, but those didn’t satisfy my desire to duplicate down to appearance. The only possible problem I came across while conceptualizing was how to avoid the pretzel topped with the goodies to stay together when I dipped em in chocolate. I decided I needed a base. And then I thought of graham crackers. I love graham crackers, so I decided that adding them to Take 5 Bars would only make them better. I was correct in this idea. Huge fan.

    This recipe is not gluten-free, sugar-free, paleo, #fitspro, or antioxident rich. It is, however, delicious. And as much as I am a typically healthy eater I stand by my belief that nourishing your mind and your taste buds is just as important as nourishing your body.

    So here is my recipe for Take-5s ft. Graham Crackers. Make these. Eat them. All of them. Top them on vanilla soft serve for best results. *~*drool*~*

    Ingredients:

    • 1ย sleeve graham crackers (9-10 whole crackers)
    • 1 cup “Snaps” shapped pretzels
    • 1 cup caramel candies (use a nicer kind, like werther’s baking caramels)
    • about 1/3-1/2 cup peanut butter
    • about 1 cup salted peanuts
    • 18 oz chocolate chips (1 and a half bags)
    • sea salt (optional)

    Directions:

    1. Break graham crackers into quarters. Just follow those handy lines on the squares. I know you can do this. I believe in you.

    IMG_8015

    2. Unwrap caramel candies. I highly recommend you do not skip this step. Place said caramels in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for about 30-45 seconds on high until *~*melty*~* โค

    IMG_8019

    3. Use a knife to spread gooey melty caramel onto each graham rectangle. This works best if you set up a nice parchment paper work tray on a baking sheet.

    4. Press 2 pretzels on top of each graham rectangle.

    IMG_8027

    5.Take your peanut butter and spread it on top of the pretzel layer.

    IMG_8031

    IMG_8036

    6. Sprinkle 5-6 peanuts on each peanut-butter-covered rectangle.

    IMG_8044

    7. Pour chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 1-2 minutes in 30 second intervals, stirring at each interval until melty and smooth.

    IMG_8048

    8. Use a spatula or knife to scoop chocolate on top of each bar and smother the crap out of it in with chocolatey goodness. ย Sprinkle with sea salt if you are fancy. I am fancy. Not “so fancy,” though. Just the regular type.

    IMG_8075

    9.Place each on on parchment paper lined tray and freeze until chocolate is set.

    10.ย Eat.

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