I decided to make soft centred chocolates for the first time last year. This was one of the flavours I made and they were a real hit with everyone. This caramel is vegan and really delicious. The roasted macadamia nuts are an optional extra if you choose to add them.
I made 24 small chocolates with dark chocolate and with the leftovers, I made caramel filled bunnies and lollypops using a gluten and dairy free milk chocolate (I use this brand). But of course, how many you make will depend on the size of your molds. I use the same design for each flavour I am making, so then I know which is which. I bought a fine food brush from a kitchen shop and only use it for chocolate making.
Tips to remember when making soft centred chocolates, take your time painting the chocolate mold to make sure there is a nice even coating. It’s also important not to overfill your chocolates with the filling. Please be patient and make sure your chocolates are set properly. Otherwise when you try to remove them from the mold, they won’t come out properly.
Although there is a bit of preparation to make the caramel, these soft centred chocolates are extremely moreish and definitely worth the effort.
50g (1.8 ounces or a firmly packed ⅓ cup) raw cashews
72g (2.6 ounces or ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon) coconut sugar (I use this brand)
1½ tablespoons (22.5ml) coconut milk (I use this brand)
1 teaspoon (5ml) pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons (30ml) coconut butter
24g (0.8 ounces or 2 tablespoons) desiccated coconut (I use this brand)
1 tablespoon (15ml) coconut oil (I use this brand)
30g (1.1 ounces or ¼ cup) finely chopped macadamia nuts
Approximately 200g dark chocolate (min 70%) depending on the size of your molds.
First, soak the cashews in a bowl of boiling water for 1 hour, as this softens the nuts and helps to make a lovely smooth caramel.
Next, place the finely chopped macadamia nuts in a small cake pan and toast them in the oven at 140C until lightly golden. Transfer to a bowl and allow them to cool.
You can either melt your chocolate the old fashioned way, or you can melt it in the microwave. I melt my chocolate by boiling some water in a small saucepan; once the water has boiled, turn the gas off and place a glass bowl over the top. Add the chocolate to the bowl and stir frequently until melted. If you’re chocolate starts to thicken, gently reheat until it thins out again and once it’s thinned out enough, remove from heat.
When the chocolate has melted, use a teaspoon and place a small amount of melted chocolate in the mold. Use the brush and paint the chocolate evenly inside the mold making sure not to leave any transparent patches.
Then tap on the bench to eliminate any air bubbles. Refrigerate until completely set which takes about 5-8 minutes. The sides of the molds may need an extra light brushing with melted chocolate if there are any transparent patches, again pop them back in the refrigerator until set. While the chocolate is setting, make a start on the filling.
To make the powdered coconut sugar, place it in a coffee or spice grinder a ¼ cup at a time.
Then blend until it’s the consistency of powdered sugar.
If you’ve already bought coconut butter, you can skip this next step. This is actually quite simple. Place your desiccated coconut in a spice grinder and blitz for about a minute or so. As it starts to breakdown, the oils come out.
Add your coconut oil and blitz again, to combine, and you end up with coconut butter.
In a mini food processor, add your rinsed and drained cashews, powdered coconut sugar, coconut butter, coconut milk and pure vanilla extract. Then puree until smooth, scraping down the sides when necessary and voila….you have caramel!
Mix through the toasted macadamia nuts (if using).
When the chocolate is set, approximately ¾ fill the chocolate cases with the caramel filling, but do not over fill. Use you finger to smooth over the surface.
Using a teaspoon pour a small amount of melted chocolate over the filling and then brush to seal it with the chocolate, making sure all the edges are covered. Tap on the bench again and place back in the refrigerator until completely set.
Once set, it’s simply a matter of gently popping them out of the mold and either foil wrapping them or storing them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Recipe by: The Gluten & Dairy Free Bakehouse
Note: all recipe oven temperatures shown are for a fan forced electric oven. Please refer to the below guide to help you adjust your oven accordingly. This recipe is shown in bold.
Oven Temperatures Chart
130C = 110C fan = 250F = Gas mark 1
150C = 130C fan = 300F = Gas mark 2
160C = 140C fan = 320F = Gas mark 3
180C = 160C fan = 350F = Gas mark 4
190C = 170C fan = 375F = Gas mark 5
200C = 180C fan = 400F = Gas mark 6
220C = 200C fan = 425F = Gas mark 7
230C = 210C fan = 450F = Gas mark 8