Salted Date Caramel Cashew Tart with Mocha Graham Crust

Salted Date Caramel Cashew Tart with Mocha Graham Crust is a healthier version of an indulgent dessert made out of cashews, dates, and chocolate chips.

Salted Date Caramel Cashew Tart with Mocha Graham Crust

 

I’m pretty sure I need to bookmark this post as a reminder to the annoyed and freezing January version of myself. This post needs to be a reminder that no matter how hard it is cut an onion while you can’t feel your fingers, its even harder to bake in a 90 degree kitchen without passing out of heat exhaustion. It is one thing to use your oven as a heater in the winter but how do you cool the kitchen down in the summer? The secret is most certainly in avoiding turning that oven back on.

Salted Date Caramel Cashew Tart with Mocha Graham CrustSalted Date Caramel Cashew Tart with Mocha Graham CrustSalted Date Caramel Cashew Tart with Mocha Graham Crust

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before but our kitchen was a add-on from the original 1920’s ranch we live in so it’s a little bit of a awkward shack addition in the back of the home. All weird bugs and lack of natural light aside, the workspace wouldn’t be so bad if the builders had managed to hook it up to the central air system. Nope – they did not. This means that its absolutely frigid in the winter and beyond humid / muggy in the summer. Hell, the kitchen might as well be outside so I could at least get some nice natural light out of the thing.

Salted Date Caramel Cashew Tart with Mocha Graham Crust

This tart was a result of needing a dessert without turning the oven on. The only part that required any sort of heating energy at all was the melting of the dark chocolate at the very end of the recipe. The rest of the recipe is done with the magic of your wonderful food processor. With a little planning ahead (just to start soaking the dates the night before), you’ll have a delicious, sugar-free, somewhat nutritious (have you heard about all the health benefits of dates, cashews, and dark chocolate? But not so much butter – disappointing. I know) dessert.

Salted Date Caramel Cashew Tart with Mocha Graham Crust

I originally got a craving for a nut pie when I saw this recipe but wanted something a little less labor intensive and not drenched in sugar. Alas, the salted date caramel seemed to only make sense – its nutritious and easy and does a great job impersonating real caramel since it has a similar texture / color of its sugary friend.

Salted Date Caramel Cashew Tart with Mocha Graham CrustSalted Date Caramel Cashew Tart with Mocha Graham Crust

Salted Date Caramel Cashew Tart with Mocha Graham Crust
 
Salted Date Caramel Cashew Tart with Mocha Graham Crust is a healthier version of an indulgent dessert made out of cashews, dates, and chocolate chips.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Serves: Makes 2 mini tarts in 4½" tart pans
Ingredients
  • 15 dates, pits removed
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 8 graham crackers
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons strong coffee or espresso (substitute coffee extract for a more intense coffee flavor)
  • ⅓ cup whole cashews
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips
  • Coarse salt
Instructions
  1. Place the dates in enough water to completely cover them, stick in fridge, and let sit overnight (or at least 2 hours).
  2. In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers and butter until a coarse meal has formed. Slowly add in the coffee while the food processor is running until the dough comes together into one big ball.
  3. Line the bottom of 2 mini tart pans with parchment paper (I went ahead and cut them into circular pieces that fit the bottom of the pans perfectly) and divide the dough between the two pans.
  4. Use your clean fingers or the back of a spoon to evenly press the dough across both pans. Transfer to the fridge until ready to use.
  5. Next, drain the dates and transfer to the food processor. Add the beans from 1 vanilla pod and pulse a few times until a thick paste has formed.
  6. Slowly start adding in (1 tablespoon at a time) water while the food processor is running until your "caramel" has reached your desired consistency (I ended up using about ⅓ cup water but it will all depend on your preference).
  7. Use a double boiler to melt the chocolate chips.
  8. Place the double boiler over a saucepan with 1 inch of water and let simmer over medium heat. Add your chocolate chips to the double boiler and stir frequently until completely melted.
  9. Evenly place the cashews in one layer over the graham crust and pour the caramel over the cashews until the whole tart pan is filled.
  10. Drizzle the chocolate over the tarts and sprinkle with a tiny bit of coarse salt.
  11. Serve immediately or let set in the fridge for 1 hour for a firmer texture.

 

Salted Date Caramel Cashew Tart with Mocha Graham Crust

Shellywest

Shelly is the creator of Vegetarian Ventures. She is also the Creative Director of Driftless Magazine and likes to wear wolf shirts, drink peppermint tea, and dance to Stevie Nicks.

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21 Comments

  1. Reply

    cheri

    June 16, 2014

    Your dishes are always so beautiful, even though your kitchen is too hot or too cold. These tarts are gorgeous, great ingredient list.

  2. Reply

    Sarah | The Sugar Hit

    June 16, 2014

    Gawjus! As always, you have smashed it out of the park. A totally doable, delicious looking recipe fo sho!

  3. Reply

    Koko

    June 17, 2014

    This looks absolutely insanely delicious…I can’t even handle it. Ya killed it!

  4. Reply

    Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate

    June 17, 2014

    I wish there was some heat here! I have to resort to turning the oven on to stay warm. I may have to make an exception for these though!

  5. Reply

    heather

    June 17, 2014

    Oh WOW these look so amazing!!!!

  6. Reply

    phi

    June 17, 2014

    i want to “yes” all over this post.

  7. Reply

    Grace

    June 17, 2014

    Dang, I’m seriously drooling on my keyboard right now. My kitchen is an add on to the 1920’s shack I live in so I can totally relate. So. Hot. One bite of this tho and I’m gonna forget all my sweaty pain. So good.

  8. Reply

    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    June 17, 2014

    This is such a stunning tart! Love it!

  9. Reply

    Kris

    June 18, 2014

    Why does this post not have hundreds of comments?! This is one of the best things I’ve seen in my life!!

  10. Reply

    kristie @ birchandwild.com

    June 18, 2014

    This looks so delicious! I need more date caramel in my life. And your photos are stunning, by the way.

  11. Reply

    Katie @ 24 Carrot Life

    June 18, 2014

    Oh my god I would love to face plant into these. They look SO good and I love that they don’t require the oven. Nothing like adding some more heat to these already hot and humid days.

  12. Reply

    Renee Shuman

    June 22, 2014

    STOP IT YOU ARE A GENIUS. Date caramel?! Ugggggghhhhh soooo goooooood. Also so good: I have all of these ingredients in my cupboard!!! HOW?! Luck of timing. I empathize with you 100% on the heat of summer plus drive to make sweets w/out an oven. Which is why I bought dates and cashews and all that in the first place. I just didn’t have a plan for what to do with them. But NOW I do! You rule. That is all.

  13. Reply

    Joanne

    June 22, 2014

    I’m so amazed that my salted caramel peanut pie could have inspired these cuties! This date caramel sounds like something I need in my life. ASAP.

    Also, i feel you on the heat. One day I will learn NOT to turn my oven on in the summer…

  14. Reply

    Lynn @ The Actor’s Diet

    June 22, 2014

    Cashews Dates (and chocolate) are my favorite snacks. Must eat them together…

  15. Reply

    Erika

    June 26, 2014

    OMG YES THE HEAT!! It is the worst. Houston humidity = suck. But these look so so perfect–I’m always looking to add another raw (ish) dessert to my repertoire! You’re amazing!

  16. Reply

    Thalia @ butter and brioche

    July 19, 2014

    yum! these tarts look so good.. love the cashews, i can imagine how good these would have tasted. love it!

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