Chocolate is pretty perfect on its own. If there's one thing that could make it even more perfect, I think it would be salted caramel. Hence, I give you this salted caramel dark chocolate tart. Did I mention it has a brownie crust? Yeah, you're welcome.
As decadent and sinful as this tart sounds, it's actually made with wholesome ingredients like dates, nuts, and coconut. And chocolate, duh. So, you CAN have your cake and eat it too. Or your tart.
Let's dissect the three components of this luscious tart, shall we?
Layer 1: a no-bake brownie crust made with rich cocoa powder, dates, almond butter, and nuts.
Layer 2: a raw vegan caramel sauce that's gooey, rich, sticky, and made with no refined sugars.
Layer 3: a chocolate ganache made with just two ingredients that tastes like pure chocolate heaven.
Here are some tips for slaying this recipe:
For the brownie crust, I use a combination of almonds and pecans. I like the nutty taste of almonds and the softer texture of pecans, hence the combo, but feel free to use just one of them.
For the brownie crust, if it's a bit dry and not sticking together, you can add one of three things: (1) more almond butter, (2) a couple teaspoons of maple syrup, or (3) a tablespoon of melted coconut oil.
For the brownie crust and the caramel sauce, if your dates aren't soft, I recommend soaking them in warm water for 10 minutes to soften them up. That'll make them easier and give your food processor a break.
For the date caramel, I really recommend using coconut nectar. It has a nice blossom-y sweetness (if that makes sense) and the perfectly sticky texture to make this caramel drizzle-able. I tried using brown rice syrup before, and while the texture was great, the caramel ended up tasting overwhelmingly like toasted brown rice. Honestly, it tasted like someone had poured caramel sauce over a brown rice sushi roll. Not necessarily the most popular combo. I use this brand of coconut nectar.
For the date caramel, if you want it to be less rich, you can use canned "lite" coconut milk or another plant-based milk. The texture won't be as gooey and thick like traditional caramel, but it'll still be delicious.
For the chocolate ganache, to keep this tart as healthy as possible, I recommend using the highest dark chocolate you can get away with. I used an 85% dark chocolate bar because I love intensely dark chocolate, but you can use 70% (or higher).
This tart is definitely a showstopper for your next party or special event! I hope you give it a try :)
Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Tart (Vegan)
Makes 1 9" tart (10-12 servings)
1 cup Medjool dates (soaked if not soft, see notes above)
1 1/2 cups of raw almonds and pecans (can use just almonds or just pecans)
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 tablespoon smooth almond butter
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4-6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Vegan Salted Caramel
1 cup pitted Medjool dates (soaked if not soft, see notes above)
1/2 cup coconut nectar
1/3 cup canned full-fat coconut milk
1/4 cup almond butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
A large pinch of sea salt
Easy Vegan Chocolate Ganache
7 ounces dairy-free dark chocolate (70% or higher)
1 1/4 cups canned coconut cream (or scoop the cream out of a can of full-fat coconut milk)
Pinch of sea salt
High-speed blender of food processor
For the brownie crust, add the dates, almonds, pecans, shredded coconut, almond butter, sea salt, cinnamon and 4 tablespoons of cocoa powder to a high-speed blender or food processor. Blend until you have a slightly sticky dough that comes together when you press it with your fingers. Taste to see whether it is chocolatey enough for you. If not, add a bit more cocoa powder gradually, up to two more tablespoons.
Press the crust onto the bottom and up the sides of of a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Place in the freezer to firm up for 20 minutes.
For the salted caramel, add the dates to a high-speed blender or food processor until they’re broken up into tiny pieces and start to come together into a paste. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until you have a creamy and thick sauce without any chunks. You may need to scrape down the sides as you go. Taste for salt and add additional salt to your taste.
Pour the salted date caramel into the chilled tart crust, spreading it evenly over the tart crust. Put in the fridge while you make the chocolate ganache.
For the chocolate ganache, roughly chop the chocolate and place in a heat-proof bowl.
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, mix the coconut cream and salt until steaming but not boiling. Pour the mixture over the chopped dark chocolate and let it sit for 1-2 minutes. Then, carefully stir until the chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth. Let cool to room temperature.
Pour the cooled chocolate ganache over the chilled salted caramel tart and smooth evenly with a rubber spatula.
Refrigerate the tart until set, approximately 2-4 hours. Before serving, remove tart for 5-10 minutes and let it come to room temperature.
Top with fresh fruit, as desired.