Let's face it, when I was younger I would easily devour a whole bag of Carbury Caramello Koala's all by myself, with absolutely no shame (didn't we all?). But as I got older, I started to notice the way in which that sort of junk food would make me feel - lethargic, sick, bloated, foggy in the head, I would get ulcers, have mood swings and would also feel extremely guilty and angry at myself for what I had eaten.
The only way I was able to keep enjoying delicious food whilst not feeling crap about it was to start experimenting with healthy alternatives... and then this happened.
I realised that healthy food was not boring or restrictive at all! In fact, it's now one of my biggest obsessions because of how many possibilities there are.
So, without writing a novel, here's my take on an old favourite - a delicious, gooey Caramello.
For the ball base:
2 cups of sun dried dates
1 1/4 cups of mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts and cashews are my go-to's)
2-3 heaped tbsp of cacao powder, depending on how chocolatey you want it.
2 tbsp of rice malt syrup (or other sweetener of choice such as maple syrup, honey etc)
For the caramel filling:
1 cup of dates, soaked in hot water for 5-10 minutes (I prefer medjool dates for this part)
1/4 cup of 100% nut butter (eg. peanut, almond or cashew)
Crack of pink himalayan sea salt
1. In a small bowl, cover the dates for the caramel filling with boiling water and set it aside for 5-10 minutes.
2. Add all of the base ingredients to a food processor / blender and blend until the mixture is well combined and looks like dough - this may take a minute or two.
3. Remove the mixture from the food processor and clean out any remains.
4. Next, remove the dates from the boiling water, making sure you keep the 'date' water aside - you may need this later.
5. Add all of the caramel filling ingredients to the food processor / blender and blend on high until it forms a gooey caramel. You may need to scrape down the sides a few times or if you find that the mixture is too thick, you can add a few tablespoons of the 'date' water. *Please note: you don't want the caramel to be too runny as it will be too difficult to roll into balls. If this happens, add some more dates or nut butter.
The next few steps are a little tricky at first, so I recommend watching the video tutorial below on how to roll the balls.
6. With the base mixture, use your hands to create an even amount of flat circles that are roughly 5mm thick and slightly smaller than the size of your palm.
7. Put one of the circles in the palm of your hand and add a dollop of caramel to its centre.
8. Place another circle on top of the caramel and pinch each base layer together, sandwiching the caramel inside.
9. Now, gently (I repeat, gently) continue to press, fold and roll the ball until both layers join seamlessly.
10. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
Keep the balls in the fridge if you plan on eating them quickly, or store them in the freezer if you're wanting to keep them for longer!
If you feel like you'd prefer an extra chocolatey Caramello, you can drizzle over some melted dark chocolate or make your own using equal parts cacao powder, coconut oil and maple syrup (or your sweetener of choice).
I hope you enjoy these Caramello balls as much as I do!
*If you're wanting to kick-start your fitness journey and have access to more healthy, balanced recipe ideas and fun, fat burning workouts, then check out my 12 week fitness guide here*