Boy, do we ever have the perfect vegan and gluten-free dessert for you! Simple, delicious, and best of all, lots to go around. Prepare to learn how to make the most irresistible salted caramel cups on planet Earth (bold statement, we know).
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There's not a whole lot that goes together better than salted caramel and chocolate. The only problem is those two foods usually aren't very vegan friendly. So, for all of you that want to cut down on dairy, we got you!
We're not ashamed to admit that we rifled through the candy bar boxes on Halloween and only ate the Cadbury Caramilks leaving the Coffee Crisps behind (don't judge, we know you did it too).
But as we started adopting a plant-based lifestyle, getting our chocolate and caramel fix in grew more challenging. We had to stumble our way through various vegan caramel recipes until we perfected this one.
There's not much more to say about this dessert. It's so quick to put together, easy to snack on throughout the day, and budget-friendly. We hope you love this recipe as much as we do!
🍲 Key ingredients
- Medjool dates: this is what we use in the base of our creamy caramel. Dates are naturally sweet, so you don't need much else to sweeten these cups. Not only do dates reduce the amount of sugar needed, but they also offer fiber and other vitamins and minerals like B vitamins, copper, iron, and magnesium.
- Dark chocolate: for this recipe, we use rich, intensely flavored dark chocolate chips to balance out the sweet caramel. We always recommend buying a higher percentage (70% or more) dark chocolate because then it's paired with health benefits like fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, and manganese.
- Coconut manna: if you don't know what coconut manna is, we have a full post on how to DIY this sweet nectar. To get right to the point, coconut manna (or coconut butter) is essentially ground-up coconut flesh. We use it in this recipe to make the salted caramel even creamier and more irresistible.
- Salt: this rich and decadent dessert is perfectly enhanced with a touch of salt. As you may know, salt is an excellent flavor booster when paired with just about anything (especially caramel and chocolate).
This recipe is super easy! To begin, you'll melt some chocolate chips and coconut oil together in a double boiler. Then, divide your melted chocolate mixture into parchment-lined muffin cups. Set your muffin tin and bowl of chocolate aside while you prepare the caramel filling.
For the salted caramel, drain your soaked dates and transfer them into a high-speed blender or food processor. We prefer to use our Vitamix for this step because it creates the smoothest end result, but a magic bullet or food processor will work too.
Next, add in the rest of the caramel ingredients and combine everything on high until you achieve a smooth consistency. Note: you'll have to stop a few times to scrape down the sides and ensure the dates are blended. Perform a vital taste test (highly recommended), then divide the caramel evenly over the bottom layer of chocolate.
Spoon the rest of the melted chocolate evenly over the caramel filling and smooth it out. As an additional step, you can sprinkle a little more salt over the chocolate before freezing it. Let the caramel cups set in your freezer for about 15 minutes before digging in!
These salted caramel cups can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5-6 days, although they are best kept in the fridge. You can also keep them in the freezer for 4-5 months in a freezer-safe bag or container.
💭 Budget tips
We think everyone should be able to eat better for less, so here are a few tricks to make this recipe even more affordable:
- Sub maple syrup for regular sugar
- Use a no-name brand of vegan chocolate chips
- Use a cheaper vanilla extract, or use artificial if you have to
- Get your hands on a different date variety like Deglet Noor
🍴 Tasting notes
These salted caramel cups won't stay around for long. You better hide them from your family. They're:
If you try these peanut butter cups, please rate them and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!
The Most Irresistible Salted Caramel Cups
- Double boiler or sauce pan and heat safe bowl
- Muffin tins with liners
- High speed blender or food processor
- 1 cup vegan dark chocolate chips ($1.34)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil ($0.12)
Salted Caramel Filling
- 6 whole Medjool dates, pitted & soaked ($0.86)
- 2 tablespoon coconut manna, melted ($0.38)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup ($0.15)
- 1 tablespoon coconut milk ($0.03)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ($0.21)
- A pinch of salt ($0.01)
- To begin, line a muffin tin with paper cups (12 in total). Then, melt chocolate chips and coconut oil together in a double boiler.
- Once melted, spoon 1 teaspoon of chocolate mixture into the lined muffin tins. Note: smear a little chocolate up the sides of the muffin cups with your spoon to fully encapsulate the caramel filling. Set the muffin tin and the rest of the melted chocolate aside while you prepare the caramel.
Salted Caramel Filling
- For the salted caramel, drain the soaked dates and transfer to a high-speed blender or food processor. Add in the rest of the caramel ingredients, and combine on high until you achieve a smooth consistency. You will have to stop a few times to scrape down the sides.
- Once smooth, divide caramel on top of the chocolate bottom layer. Spoon the rest of the melted chocolate evenly over the caramel filling.
- Place muffin tin in your freezer for 15-20 minutes, or until the chocolate hardens. These cups are best kept in the fridge, although they will last 5-6 days at room temperature.
- For the smoothest caramel results, use a high-speed blender like the Vitamix.
- It's also best to soak the dates overnight in room temperature water, or for a minimum of 1 hour in boiling water.
♻️ Similar recipes
For more sweet tooth satisfying recipes, check out our:
- Vegan caramel apple cheesecake if you want your expectations of vegan cheesecake blown away.
- Peanut butter cups for a peanut twist on this recipe.
- Homemade Snickers bars for a healthier (and just as tasty) version of a Snickers bar.
- Chocolate peanut butter fudge if you want an irresistible dessert made of only two ingredients.
You don't have to use coconut butter in this recipe, but it's definitely recommended for the most creamy texture. If you don't have any on hand, you can substitute it with more coconut milk and maple syrup.
You can definitely use other date varieties in this recipe, but Medjool dates have the most caramel-like taste. You can achieve similar consistency, but the taste will not be exact.
Yes! To make these caramel cups 100% sugar-free, choose stevia-sweetened chocolate chips and skip the maple syrup. You can use more dates in the caramel or your preferred sugar-free sweetener.