Salted Date Caramels
1 cup pitted mejool dates. To measure, pit your dates and then pack them into the measuring cup before soaking them in the hot water.
1/4 cup coconut milk (I used full fat), warmed
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, optional
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. unrefined salt
Coconut flour for dusting
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 Tbs. raw honey or pure maple syrup
Soak dates in very hot water for 15 minutes. Drain before proceeding. Blend the dates, coconut milk, coconut oil and vanilla extract until a smooth paste forms. Add 1/4 tsp. salt, blend, and taste. Add a bit more salt if desired. Place in the fridge or freezer until firm and pliable, at least 3 hours.
Roll teaspoons of the date mixture into balls. Dust lightly with coconut flour so they don’t stick to each other. Place in the freezer to stay firm.
Make the chocolate coating: melt and stir together the cocoa powder, coconut oil and raw honey over very low heat until combined. The mixture may separate slightly, in this case put it in the fridge for just a few minutes and then stir. Let the mixture cool until thickened enough to coat the caramel balls. Place in the fridge for a few minutes if it is too runny, but keep an eye on it because it hardens very quickly.
One by one, roll a caramel into the chocolate and place on a baking sheet lined with unbleached parchment or waxed paper. Sprinkle very lightly with the unrefined salt, and place in the fridge until the chocolate coating is firm. Store in the fridge. If they aren't consumed quickly (most likely), they last at least a few weeks in the fridge.
*Adapted from http://empoweredsustenance.com/date-caramels/