Chocolate has steadily worked its way into the Easter traditions of much of the world. Despite it having nothing to do with Easter per se, it’s here to stay and brings with it much joy and anticipation. The milk chocolate of most Easter eggs is overly sweet for my palate, yet a bar of the usual dark chocolate doesn’t cut it when you have those sugar-laden offerings around. This recipe came about as I wanted to make something moreish and nutritious, that I would reach for over and above those eggs. These bars, similar to a Twix, now have a permanent place in our fridge. They are packed full of sustaining fats and have a satisfying sweetness from the dates. You will have trouble believing that they are not full of processed sugars. – Maria
50g seed butter (a mix of tahini and pumpkin seed butter)
150ml rice malt syrup
100g dark chocolate (90% cocoa), broken into pieces
1 tbsp coconut oil
Fleur de sel, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 160°C fan-forced. Line a 28 cm × 22 cm rimmed baking tray with a reusable silicone sheet.
To make the base, pulse the ground almonds, flour and cinnamon in a food processor to combine. Add the butter and honey and pulse 6–8 times, or until the mixture just comes together.
Turn the mixture out onto the prepared tray. Fill a mug with boiling water. Heat a tablespoon in the water. Spread the mixture out evenly, using the back of the hot spoon. Reheat the spoon intermittently, so the mixture won’t stick to it. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until just golden brown. Set aside to cool completely.
For the faux caramel layer, process the dates in a food processor until finely chopped and starting to stick together. Add the nut and seed butters and rice malt syrup and process on high speed for 15 seconds. Spread the mixture evenly over the cooked base. Use the backs of your fingers to press down, then smooth it out using the back of a tablespoon.
For the chocolate layer, melt the chocolate, honey and oil in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, ensuring the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl, stirring continuously. Once combined, pour the chocolate evenly over the caramel layer. Sprinkle with fleur de sel. Refrigerate until the chocolate layer has completely set, about 45 minutes.
Working quickly, turn the slice out onto a large board. Remove the silicone sheet and cut into 40 bars. Store in the fridge for several months.
COOK’S NOTES: You can make these over 2 days – the base on the first day, the rest on the next day.