Vegan Caramel Maple Bon-Bons
Being a cook or baker means lots of experimenting in the kitchen. Plenty of dishes find their way into the dark depths of the trash can. But throughout those failures, there is bound to be something successful; something worth marking in the recipe books to save for the near future. Finally one of these creations stirred up inside my head.
Now, dipping my feet into raw foods led me to consume a large amount of bananas. This isn’t to say that my monkey aspirations started in result of this because I’ve always been peeling away at them. However, chocolate covered bananas have always been a favorite dessert of mine, me being vegan or not. This lovely duo of flavors inspired me for this new treat; vegan maple bon bons. Not only is this dessert delicious from the inside but the dark chocolate coating is the glue for an endless assortment of toppings. I decided to stick with classics; crushed pecans and coconut shreds.
Now I come from a family of harsh food critics. My sister is in culinary school, my dad’s hobby is cooking up a storm in the kitchen and my mom plays in the gluten-free field. They know their food and they will always give me their honest opinion. Not all of my creations end in a thumbs up, but these bon bons got not only a thumbs up but two hands out begging for more.
- 1 cup of raw cashews; soaked for 8 hours, drained, and blended*
- 1/2 cup of coconut milk
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 1/2 TBL caramel syrup
- pinch of salt
- Dark Chocolate
- Toppings (coconut, almonds, toffee nuts, sprinkles, cinnamon sugar, marshmallows, Oreo crumbs..)
*The raw cashews will be the base for this dish. A vegan substitute for cream cheese, heavy cream or any thick dairy base is blended cashews. It sounds strange but the beauty of this is that when soaked and blended the nuts give a blank canvas. They have a neutral flavor that is willing to accept any type of sugars, spices, or sauces you want to combine with them. You will want to rinse the nuts thoroughly after allowing them to soak. They will give off a filmy coating on the outside of them that needs to be cleaned.
- Follow the instructions above to create your cashew cream.
- Blend all of the ingredients except the dark chocolate and your toppings together.
- Pour the batter into the holes of a baking sheet and let freeze until hardened. I did this overnight but it should work within a few hours**
- Place a stick in the middle of each bon-bon.
- Melt your dark chocolate and dip each bon-bon in it, rolling it in the air to allow extra chocolate to drip off.
- Sprinkle coconut and pecans on every surface of the bon-bon.
- Experiment with toppings and layers of chocolate. Try dipping them first in dark chocolate, next in caramel sauce, sprinkle sea salt, and then finish them in another layer of dark chocolate.
**This process is much easier if you use a silicone baking dish like one in this link: http://www.kaboodle.com/hi/img/b/0/0/100/8/AAAAC8Z8chYAAAAAAQCFjA.jpg?v=1288552784000 It allows for perfect sized bon bons and an ease in removing the bon bons. They are fairly cheap and can come in all sizes. If you are feeling extra fancy, create two different flavors of bon bons and sandwich the two together flat sides touching. Place the stick through both of them and dip them in chocolate. An excellent combination is mint and chocolate. Have fun experimenting with flavors and toppings!