These Chocolate Peanut Butter Date Caramel Balls are your typical Rice Krispie treats, totally re-imagined. More nutritious and even more delicious, all you need is 6 simple ingredients!
Imagine your typical Rice Krispie treat – the kind you made with your mom as a kid, or the ones you got in your school lunch as a treat. Now imagine it “semi-healthified” and totally revamped – that’s this dessert!
Instead of marshmallows, naturally sweet dates are cooked down into a sticky caramel. Add in some peanut butter, because why not? Make them into balls, for ease of popping into one’s mouth… then coat them in chocolate! Because what’s better than caramel and peanut butter and chocolate? That’s right, nothing.
Why use dates?
Dates are delicious and nutritious! When cooked down, they develop a deep caramel flavour and sticky texture that is perfect for the base of this dessert. Even though dates are naturally high in sugar, they contain many nutrients like fiber, potassium and antioxidants. Dates also have a low glycemic index – this means that unlike many other refined sugars, dates won’t cause a dramatic spike in blood sugar and the inevitable sugar crash later on in the day.
What type of dates should I use?
In my own grocery store, the dates I see most often are Medjool dates or the regular store-brand-packaged dried and pitted dates. While Medjool dates are often softer and jucier, they’re usually higher in price. I often go for the other kind as they’re quite cheap – even if they need a little help in the moisture department. If you choose to use these types of dates, I urge you not to skip the step of re-soaking your dates. This helps re-hydrate them and prevents a dry caramel. If you’re using Medjool or another juicier kind of date, you might not need this step.
How to make Chocolate Peanut Butter Date Caramel Balls:
Long name, short ingredient list. All you’ll need is 6 simple ingredients and some helping hands for rolling!
- Make your date caramel: Combine the soaked dates, peanut butter, water and vanilla in a pot (Picture A). Cook over low heat until you get a thick, sticky paste (Picture B). Stir in some salt, to balance out all that sweetness.
- Add in the cereal. Gently fold in the crisp rice cereal until you have a cohesive “dough” (Picture C).
- Form into balls, while still warm. Then, place them in the fridge to cool while you melt your chocolate.
- Coat with chocolate: I used semi-sweet, but any kind of chocolate will do.
- Decorate! Salty crushed peanuts highlight the peanut butter in the caramel, but sea salt or sprinkles would work well too! Sprinkle on whatever toppings you like while the chocolate is still wet, then place your treats in the refrigerator to set.
Your Chocolate Peanut Butter Date Caramel Balls should keep well in the fridge for at least a few days, IF they last that long!
Hope you enjoy! xx
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Chocolate Peanut Butter Date Caramel Balls
Peanut Butter Date Caramel
- 1 cup dried, pitted dates, packed (~175g)
- ¼ cup peanut butter
- 3 tbsp water
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ½ tsp salt
- 2½ cups crisp rice cereal
- 1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- crushed peanuts, optional
- Soak the dates. Place the dried, pitted dates in a bowl of warm water to re-hydrate. After 15 minutes, drain the water and chop the dates into small pieces.
- Make the caramel. In a small saucepan, combine the chopped dates, peanut butter, water and vanilla. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture turns into a thick paste. Stir in the salt.
- Add the rice cereal. While the date mixture is still warm, gently fold in the rice cereal. Firmly roll heaping tablespoons of dough into balls and place in the fridge for 15 minutes to cool.
- Melt the chocolate. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave. Start with one minute on high-power, adding 30 seconds until fully melted, stirring in-between.
- Coat your treats. One at a time, drop the cooled balls of dough into the chocolate and roll around with a fork until fully covered. Drag the fork against the side of the bowl to remove excess chocolate and place the treat on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Make it fancy! While still wet, sprinkle the tops with crushed peanuts. Refrigerator for at least half an hour before enjoying, or until the chocolate is fully set!