Lucky me; I was born into a family who loved going out.  Picnics, outdoor concerts, surprise milkshakes after school… And regular dinnertime visits to our favourite pizza restaurant.

Most places offered that peppermint crisp caramel dessert.  You know the one?  I remember digging in with a long soda spoon; a thick-rimmed wine glass filled to the brim with layers of caramel treat, tennis biscuits, peppermint crisp, and cream.  You could never finish it alone, despite trying, and always felt a bit green around the gills after.

My husband and I relived those fond memories while I was working on this vegan version of it, and dug in with a long soda spoon, marvelling at the fact that this was so good yet lacked a mountain of refined sugar.  Delicious, and not sickly sweet.

And you can unashamedly share it with your family and tiny tots.  In fact, add any leftover cashew nut cream or caramel to their breakfast oats.  And then be prepared for the demands to make more!

Merry, healthy and happy Christmas, everyone.

INGREDIENTS

Prep time: roughly 1 hour excluding the soak time | Makes: 2-4, depending on size of glass and thickness of layers

For the caramel layer

  • ⅔ cups coconut oil
  • 1 cup dates (175g) – soaked overnight
  • 1 tsp baobab powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup water

OPTIONAL:

  • 2 Tbsp cashew nut cream

For cashew nut cream
1 cup cashew nuts (125g) – soaked overnight
½ cup water
½ vanilla pod – optional but yum
2 Tbsp maple syrup
Pinch of salt

For the mint chocolate crunch
½ bar CocoáFair, mint – chilled
½ pack Caring Candies, toffee mint bonbons
2 drops peppermint essential oil or peppermint extract or a sprig of fresh mint

For the biscuit

½ x box Orgran Amaretti Biscotti
¼ cup desiccated coconut, lightly toasted

METHOD:

PREP THE NIGHT BEFORE:

In separate bowls, measure out one cup of cashews, and one cup of dates.  Cover with water and allow to soak overnight.

TO MAKE THE CARAMEL 

  1. Add caramel ingredients to a blender and blend for about 20 seconds.  Scrape down the sides and blend again until smooth.  If it’s too thick at first, add more water a little at a time.  The baobab powder will thicken it up slightly in the fridge, so no need to burn out your blender motor.
  2. If you’re not using it right away, refrigerate it.  The coconut oil solidifies when cool, so remember to take your caramel out about 30 minutes to an hour before you layer your dessert, to soften it.  If you forget to take it out, pop it in the blender for a bit; about 30 seconds should do it.

TO MAKE THE CASHEW CREAM

  1. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod* and put them in a blender.
  2. Add the rest of the cashew nut cream ingredients and blend for about 30 seconds, scraping down the sides and blending again if necessary.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to use.

*I keep the scraped out vanilla pods to add to oats; either when cooking them or preparing overnight oats.

TO MAKE THE MINT CHOCOLATE CRUNCH

  1. Smash the Caring Candies with a rolling pin or something heavy to break them up into shards. Tip: carefully open the packet, remove about half of them, and store in an airtight container to enjoy later. Close the packet with the remaining sweets by folding it over, and wrap them in a tea towel before smashing them to prevent your kitchen counter being covered in sweet shards.
  2. Smash the chocolate up into small chunks with a rolling pin.
  3. In a glass jar or bowl mix the Caring Candies with the chocolate pieces.  Add 2 drops of peppermint essential oil (make sure you’re using a brand that is safe for ingesting otherwise you can use peppermint extract if you’re not sure). Otherwise – when you are layering your dessert – add a few leaves of freshly chopped mint.

TO MAKE THE BISCUIT LAYER 

  1. In a pan on a medium-low heat, toast the desiccated coconut, stirring often, until lightly browned.
  2. Put the biscuits into a blender and blend on high for a few seconds to make crumbs.
  3. Combine crumbs and toasted coconut in a glass jar or bowl.

LAYERING THE DESSERT 

  1. In your chosen glass, build a layer of each using a spoon or piping bag, filling your glass with caramel, cashew nut cream, mint chocolate crunch, and biscuit. Caramel, cashew nut cream, mint chocolate… until you reach the top.
  2. Top with a sprinkle of chocolate and a fresh mint leaf.
  3. Serve chilled.

Let us know what you think of this dessert, and how your guests received it. We’d love to know!

Recipe and article created and written by Candice Douglas