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Date night... with myself, my decaf coffee and homemade salted dark chocolate ‘turtles.’ The main ingredient? Dates. I love dates for the mere fact that they are high in fibre. 1 Medjool date can provide up to 6% daily value for dietary fibre! Dates are also known for their magnesium and potassium content. Despite containing sugar, some studies suggest dates have antioxidant properties.

End result: using dates to provide sweetness is a healthier holiday option.

Homemade turtles contain less calories, less fat, and less sugar. Case in point:

2 pieces of Turtles chocolate contains: 170kcal, 10g Fat (3.5g saturated, 0.1g trans fat), 20g carbohydrates (1g fibre, 16g sugar), 2g protein.

2 pieces of homemade turtles contains: 100calories, 2g Fat (0.75g saturated, 0g trans fat), 8g carbohydrate (1g fibre, 6g sugar) and 1g protein.

I first made these goodies using the brilliant recipe provided by Nutrition in the Kitchen. I decided to make it my own by adding vanilla to enhance that ‘caramel’ taste. Since I love salted caramel and Turtles, I decided to merge the two flavours together. Give them a try and let me know what you think!

Salted Dark Chocolate Turtles

Makes 15 servings

Ingredients

Dates, pitted 1cup (approximately 8 dates)

Pure vanilla or vanilla extract 2 tsp

Walnut halves 30 each

Sea salt ¼ tsp

Dark chocolate, baking 42grams (approximately 6 squares)

Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.

If the pitted dates are too hard, soak in hot water for 8-10 minutes or until softens.

Add the dates and vanilla to a food processor and blend until a jam like consistency forms.

Using your hands form a marble sized ball and place on the tray. Continue to do the same until 15 balls form. Gently flatten the tops of the balls with your fingers.

Press 2 pecan halves into each ball. Place in the freezer for 20 minutes.

Heat a small sauce pan over low heat. Add the dark chocolate and salt. Stir the melted chocolate until a smooth sauce forms. Remove from heat.

Remove turtles from freezer and use a small spoon to pour a small amount of dark chocolate over each turtle.

Place the tray back into the freezer for approximately 15 minutes. Move into fridge until ready to serve.