Salted Caramel Turtle Bars (Dairy-Free) | Acne Nutritionist | Katie Stewart

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Salted caramel turtle bar stacked on a wood cutting board.
December 23, 2022

Salted Caramel Turtle Bars (Dairy-Free)

Salted Caramel Turtle Bars

This recipe has a few steps and takes a bit of time – but the end result of Salted Caramel Turtle Bars…soooo worth it.

The base is a shortbread cookie crust that I’ve also used for my Coconut Lemon Squares. I love that it’s a solid base while still having the perfect amount of softness to it.

Next up, I layered in salted caramel made from sweet and juicy Medjool dates. Finally, I layered in pecans and finished it off with nut butter-infused chocolate and a little sea salt.

I’m telling you – these Salted Caramel Turtle Bars…super decadent. 

Wanna Date?

There are a number of different types of dates but for this recipe, we’re using the Medjool.

Dried Medjool dates are basically nature’s candy. They’re plump, moist and naturally sweet making the perfect base for a caramel sauce.

And even though they have higher amounts of natural sugar, they are low on the glycemic index as they don’t spiked blood sugar as refined sugar would.

Medjool dates are also full of vitamins, minerals and fibre. And thanks to their high amount of soluble fibre, dates can help prevent and relieve constipation. By adding bulk to the stool, the soluble fibre in Medjool dates helps to increase transit time through the digestive tract.

They can also offer a quick energy boost with their natural sugars fructose, glucose and sucrose. These types of sugars are easily used by the body for energy making them a great afternoon pick-me-up.

Final fun fact about dates? They’re rich in calcium and phosphorus that work together to strengthen bones. Individually, the calcium also supports muscles, nerves and the heart while phosphorus helps keep other vitamins and minerals balanced (like vitamin D and the minerals iodine, magnesium and zinc.

A typical serving is one to two dates. I also love removing the pits and stuffing them with a little almond butter and a sprinkle of sea salt. Quick and easy treat!

Does Chocolate Cause Acne?

This debate has been going on for decades.

Some studies point to yes. Some point to no. And some are inconclusive.

In my experience of working with 500+ women struggling with acne, pure chocolate is almost never a breakout trigger.

We’ve found it’s the inflammatory ingredients that are added to chocolate that are the issue. For our clients in The CSS, we recommend they avoid the following on the ingredient list:

  • Milk and/or modified milk ingredients (including whey powder)
  • Refined sugar (ie. sugar, brown sugar, cane juice, evaporated cane juice, etc.)
  • Vegetable oils 
  • Artificial sweeteners/flavours/colours
  • Corn Syrup
  • Wheat flour
  • Additives/emulsifiers

Instead, we suggest they opt for quality chocolate with minimal ingredients listed. For example, Camino is a Canadian and organic, fair-trade chocolate brand. Their 100% unsweetened chocolate chips only contain cacao mass and cacao butter.

Try these other chocolate recipes:

 

Salted caramel turtle bar stacked on a wood cutting board.

Salted Caramel Turtle Bars

Layers of coconut flour cookie crust, rich date sauce, pecans and dark chocolate make for decadent Salted Caramel Turtle Bars.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Cooling: 2 hours
Servings: 12 bars
Author: Katie Stewart

Ingredients

For the cookie crust

  • 2/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup arrowrot startch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

For the salted caramel

  • 1 1/2 cups pecans
  • 20 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

For the chocolate

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup nut butter of choice (I used almond butter)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt, coarsely ground

Instructions

To begin:

  • Prep the caramel, by placing the dates in a medium bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside.

For the cookie crust:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8x8 pan with a little coconut oil and then line it with parchment paper to allow for easy removal after cooking/cooling.
  • Add all the ingredients for the cookie crust to a medium bowl. Mix with a fork (or clean hands) until well combined.
  • Press firmly into the lined pan and bake for 12-15 minutes until the crust starts to golden.
  • Once the crust has finished baking, remove it from the oven and set aside.

For the salted caramel:

  • While the crust cooks, strain the water from the dates and add to a blender or food processor along with the sea salt.
  • Add ¼ cup fresh water and turn the blender or food processor on. Add a little more water if needed to thin the consistency.
  • Use a spatula to spread the salted caramel date sauce on top of the cookie crust.
  • Sprinkle the salted caramel with pecans and gently push them into the caramel.

For the chocolate:

  • In a double boiler (see notes), place chocolate chips, nut butter, and coconut oil. Stir constantly while the ingredients melt and blend together. It will be a thicker consistency.
  • Just before you remove it from the heat, stir in the maple syrup (to help prevent it from burning).
  • Pour chocolate sauce over the pecan layer. Use a spatula to spread it evenly.
  • Sprinkle with sea salt and place in the freezer to cool for at least 2 hours (makes them easier to cut without the caramel squishing out the sides).
  • When cooled, remove from the pan and cut into desired-sized bars.
  • Keep bars in the fridge until ready to eat.

Notes

To make a double boiler, use a stainless steel bowl that is slightly smaller than your pot. It should be small enough to fit inside to pot but large enough where the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water in the pot.
Fill the pot with 1” of water and bring to a boil. Place the stainless steel bowl on top with the chocolate and follow the directions above. Use an oven mit to hold the bowl in place.

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Before & Afters

Cupcake ipsum dolor sit. Amet icing candy sesame snaps toffee oat cake jelly I love macaroon.

I love sweet bonbon. Tiramisu I love apple pie. Lollipop macaroon pastry danish. Sweet roll jujubes gummies tootsie roll fruitcake I love liquorice. Wafer chocolate halvah. Liquorice apple pie lollipop sweet roll powder. Oat cake sesame snaps marshmallow cookie jujubes. Croissant pie I love croissant cookie.

client love

next

"

Cupcake ipsum dolor sit. Amet icing candy sesame snaps toffee oat cake jelly I love macaroon.

I love sweet bonbon. Tiramisu I love apple pie. Lollipop macaroon pastry danish. Sweet roll jujubes gummies tootsie roll fruitcake I love liquorice. Wafer chocolate halvah. Liquorice apple pie lollipop sweet roll powder. Oat cake sesame snaps marshmallow cookie jujubes. Croissant pie I love croissant cookie.

client love

next

"

Cupcake ipsum dolor sit. Amet icing candy sesame snaps toffee oat cake jelly I love macaroon.

I love sweet bonbon. Tiramisu I love apple pie. Lollipop macaroon pastry danish. Sweet roll jujubes gummies tootsie roll fruitcake I love liquorice. Wafer chocolate halvah. Liquorice apple pie lollipop sweet roll powder. Oat cake sesame snaps marshmallow cookie jujubes. Croissant pie I love croissant cookie.

client love

next

"