At worst, biscuits can be dry, hard and functional, built for basic survival, and to fuel stamina in long work meetings. Somewhere in between are the biscuits that are easy to dispatch – chocolate-coated, jam-sandwiched or dipped in tea; good enough to eat, but not to linger long in the memory. And then there are those in a class of their own, challenging the very meaning of the word ‘biscuit’ with their outrageous ratios of chocolate and caramel. This, I hope, is one of those.
Salted date caramel slices
Prep 30 min
Bake 40 min
Set 1 hr 20 min
115g dairy-free butter, such as Pure, plus extra to grease
300g pitted medjool dates
50g caster sugar
120g plain flour
30g rice flour
150g smooth almond butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g vegan 70% chocolate, broken into small pieces
30g coconut oil
Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Grease a 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin with dairy-free butter and line the base with greaseproof paper.
Put the dates in a bowl, cover with 200ml just-boiled water and leave to soak.
For the base, put the butter in a bowl with the caster sugar, flour, rice flour and a pinch of salt, then bring together with a wooden spoon until it’s all properly mixed and comes together into a dough. Spread the dough out evenly in the bottom of the tin – if it’s a bit tacky to work with, cut out a disc of greaseproof paper to cover it, then smooth out the dough using your hands before gently peeling off and discarding the paper.
Put the tin in the freezer for at least 20 minutes, so the dough firms up, then bake for 40 minutes, turning the tin around halfway through, until the biscuit is golden and firm to the touch. Take out of the oven and leave to cool in the tin.
While the biscuit is baking, make the date caramel. Drain the dates, squeezing out any excess water, then put them into a food processor with the almond butter, vanilla extract and a half a teaspoon of sea salt, and process to a smooth paste.
When the biscuit base has cooled a little, spread the date caramel over it in a thick, even layer and set aside.
For the chocolate topping, put the chocolate and coconut oil in a heatproof bowl set over a small saucepan of simmering water (make sure the bowl and water aren’t touching) and stir until the chocolate has melted. Pour the chocolate all over the caramel layer, again spreading it out evenly, then sprinkle over a couple of good pinches of sea salt and freeze for about an hour, until the chocolate has set. Cut into squares or diamonds to serve.
- Food styling: Valerie Berry
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