Dessert makeover – healthier Salted caramel slice

Salted caramel sliceMy life would probably be a lot easier if I did not like desserts so much. But alas, I do. So I am forced to create healthier versions of the desserts I enjoy. Luckily I enjoy this process. After a couple of attempts I feel that I have created a tasty, far healthier version of a Salted caramel slice that is not too outrageously high in calories. I noticed most versions of ‘healthier’ salted caramel are loaded with coconut oil. Although coconut oil is a source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), which are absorbed directly into the portal circulation and transported to the liver for rapid oxidation as opposed to long-chain triglycerides (LCT), which are transported into the lymphatic system allowing for uptake into adipose (fat) tissue (1), this does not mean that you can eat coconut oil by the cupful and lose weight (unless you are following a ketogenic diet which most people are not). It can be effective in weight loss if LCTs are replaced with MCTs (2).

Anyway, the point is I wanted to create a slice that was not so high in calories and without any refined sweeteners, such as maple syrup, agave nectar or honey. The base was made with walnuts, coconut flour, homemade coconut butter (which is easy to make and far cheaper than coconut oil) and coconut milk; the chocolate layer was made with dates and cannellini beans and for the salted caramel layer I used dates, peanut butter, ricotta cheese for saltiness and some gelatin to allow it to set. Although the ingredient list is long, it is really just a matter of placing all the ingredients for each layer into the food processor then layering them on top of one another. The hardest part is waiting for it to set before you can eat it. Once again I will admit that of course it is not as sickly sweet and rich as a real Salted caramel slice, but it won’t send your insulin levels shooting through the roof and prevent you from burning fat as a real Salted caramel slice will.

Healthier Salted caramel slice

Ingredients

Base

1/2 cup walnuts

1 tablespoon coconut butter or oil

½ cup desiccated coconut

¼ cup coconut flour

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

10 drops vanilla flavour liquid stevia

½ cup reduced fat coconut cream or milk

Chocolate layer

½ cup pitted dates

1 tablespoon coconut butter

¼ cup reduced fat coconut cream or milk

½ cup cannellini beans or white beans

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 tablespoon stevia

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Salted caramel layer

½ cup pitted dates

½ cup reduced fat coconut cream or milk

1 heaped tablespoon peanut butter

200 grams low fat ricotta cheese

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of cinnamon

1 teaspoon gelatin dissolved in 2 tablespoons boiling water

Utensils

Measuring cups and spoons

Food processor

Mixing bowl

Spoon

20cm x 20cm baking tray

Baking paper

Teaspoon

Small bowl

Salted caramel slice 2Method

  • For the base add the walnuts and coconut butter to a food processor. Process until the walnuts resemble the texture of coarse crumbs.
  • Tip the walnut mixture into the mixing bowl. Add in the coconut and coconut flour and mix together. Add in the remaining ingredients and mix well. Scrape the base mixture into a 20cm x 20cm baking tray lined with baking paper.
  • Press the base down firmly with wet hands. Bake the base for 15 minutes at 160°C or until the edges start to turn golden brown. Allow the base to cool while you prepare the next layer. Rinse the food processor to prepare for the Chocolate layer.
  • For the Chocolate layer add the dates, coconut cream and coconut butter into the food processor and process until the dates are pulverized. Add in the remaining ingredients and process until a smooth consistency is achieved. The texture of this layer is quite thick.
  • Carefully spread the Chocolate layer over the base with the back of a teaspoon. Make sure the base has cooled before you do this. Rinse the food processor to prepare for the Salted caramel layer.
  • For the Salted caramel layer add the dates and the coconut cream into the food processor and process until the dates are pulverized. Add in the remaining ingredients and process until a smooth consistency is achieved.
  • In a separate small bowl, completely dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water. Add the dissolved gelatin to the salted caramel mixture in the food processor and process to combine.
  • Pour the Salted caramel layer over the Chocolate layer and spread it out evenly with the back of a dessert spoon.
  • Allow the slice to chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours (2-3 hours if you are impatient) before slicing.
  1. Babayan VK (1987) Medium chain triglycerides and structured lipids. Lipids 22(6):417-420.
  2. St-Onge MP & Jones PJ (2002) Physiological effects of medium-chain triglycerides: potential agents in the prevention of obesity. The Journal of nutrition 132(3):329-332.

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