Much to the chagrin of my dentist, I have always loved caramel. It’s sugary sweetness and soft sticky texture makes everything seem right with the world. Until it pulls out a filling (or causes you to need one).
But did you know that caramel’s dreamy creamy flavor is a result of it’s two pernicious main ingredients: refined sugar and heavy cream? Suddenly caramel sounds less like a treat and more like a recipe for disease!
Refined sugar contains no health benefits because it has been stripped from it’s natural package (namely corn, beet, or cane) and heavily processed. In addition, it has been scientifically proven to be more addictive than cocaine and triggers processes in the body that can lead to diabetes, liver toxicity, kidney disease, and heart disease, among other ailments.
Dairy on the other hand, contains saturated fat, cholesterol, trans fats, and hormones which have been implicated in everything from acne, to weight gain, to premature puberty, to heart disease, to hormone-dependent cancers such as breast and prostate. And yes, this also goes for organic, pasture-raised, grass-fed, “ethically/humanely slaughtered”, local, magical rainbow cows as well. While they may not be fed or injected with antibiotics the way that factory farmed animals currently are, organic cows are still animals and their meat and milk (and butter and yogurt and cheese and ice cream…) will still contain disease-causing saturated fat, cholesterol, and hormones.
Now don’t have a cow. I am just the simple messenger here. Feel free to click on those hyper-links to read through the non-industry funded research yourself. As a side note, ALWAYS look at who is funding research studies. More often than not, they are funded by those who stand to profit from their findings.
Before this post descends into udder chaos, let’s moooove on.
Last one. I promise.
These Raw Caramel Bites are full of good-for-you ingredients and couldn’t be any more simple. Toss ingredients in to food processor, blend, roll into bites, and devour. Like my No-Bake Hemp Brownie Bites, these goodies have a date and hemp base. Together they create the perfect sticky texture and allow you to create a dessert free of major allergens such as dairy, soy, nuts, and gluten. If you want them to have a firmer consistency, I recommend putting the bites in the freezer for a bit before serving. The beauty of making “caramels” out of whole plant foods is that not only are they full of fiber, protein, iron, and omega-3’s, but they don’t stick to your teeth! My email address is on the Contact page if your dentist wants to send me a thank you note. 😉
I brought these treats over to a friend’s house and they were gone in less than 3 minutes! Next time I think a double batch may be in order.
Raw Caramel Bites
- 1 cup medjool dates, pitted (about 10 dates)
- Note: If you store your dates in the fridge like I do, you may want to warm them up in the microwave for 15-20 seconds. Don’t soak them as the extra liquid will make the final product mushy instead of sticky.
- 1 cup hemp hearts
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- Place all the ingredients in the food processor and blend on high until a dough ball forms, stopping to scrape down the sides of the processor bowl as necessary. This took about 75 seconds in my Ninja, no scraping necessary.
- Using 1 tsp of dough at a time, roll the mixture into balls. You can roll them in toppings such as shredded coconut, crushed nuts, or raw cacao powder if you wish. Store in the fridge for 4-5 days. Makes about 25 bites.
If you make this recipe or any others, make sure to tag With Love & Veggies on social media. I love to see your recreations!
Full disclosure: This blog post contains some affiliate links. Meaning, basically, if you make a purchase from any of these links it doesn’t cost you anything extra, but I may make a little money. So thank you in advance for supporting my family 🙂