Suitable for Vegetarians
(Also suitable for Vegans if you can find a vegan approved biscuit)
Preparation time 15 mins.
Chilling time 1 hour 30 mins
Makes approx. 45 Squares
Keep fresh in the refrigerator for a few days
These lovely little squares are a great way to end a special meal with coffee and are quite filling so you don’t need to eat too many. Children love to make and eat them too. If you ignore the added sugar and fat they might be considered a good way to squeeze in extra nutrients from the dates, oats and cocoa!
I am sharing with you my mothers recipe, adapted by me to be dairy free.
Sunflower spread (‘Pure’) 120g
Dates (approximately 20) 110g
Golden caster sugar 60g
Cocoa powder (1/3 of a cup) 40g
golden syrup 2 tbsp
Orange marmalade (my secret ingredient) 2 tbsp
Mc Vities Light digestive biscuits 250g
Plain chocolate (Check there is no butter oil /whey/lactose) I use 1 bar of ‘Green and Blacks’ organic dark chocolate 70% Cocoa 150g
You will need a shallow rectangular baking dish/tray (approximately 20cm X 30cm X 2cm depth) to put the prepared mixture in to chill in the refrigerator (you don’t need to serve in this dish).
1) Chop the dates into small pieces*.
2) Put the sunflower spread, dates, caster sugar, marmalade, cocoa powder and golden syrup** into a medium sized saucepan and stand over the lowest heat that you have on your hob. Melt very slowly stirring occasionally with a metal spoon to prevent the mixture burning.
Continue to heat gently until the mixture is loose and blended together nicely and all the traces of spread and sugar have melted. This should take approximately 5 minutes.
3) While the mixture is melting put the biscuits into a medium sized freezer bag and smash them with a rolling pin.
4) Take the pan off the heat and tip the broken biscuits into the pan. Mix really well
5) Lightly oil your dish and wipe away all the excess with some kitchen roll. Tip the prepared mixture into the dish and press the mixture firmly down with the back of a metal spoon so you have a nice firm compact layer. (This is easier to do with a cold, lightly oiled dessert spoon).
6) Melt the chocolate: Break it into a heat proof bowl and sit this bowl on the top of a small saucepan of gently simmering water. Stir occasionally as the chocolate gently melts. This process takes about 10 minutes.
7) Tip the melted chocolate over the prepared mixture and make a pattern through the chocolate with a clean fork.
8) Leave to set for about 1.5 hours in the fridge.
9) Using a sharp kitchen knife cut the praline into small squares (about 2cm square).
10) Share with your nearest and dearest.
*Dates are very sticky and it is easier to chop them with the skin-side of the fruit down on to the chopping board.
**To accurately measure golden syrup – first rub your measuring spoon with a small amount of cooking oil and wipe away the excess with kitchen paper, the syrup then slides off the spoon easily.
As this is a dairy free dish it is important to check the digestive biscuits and plain chocolate for butter/buttermilk/milk/whey/lactose etc. The McVities light digestives are dairy free at the time of writing.