Caramel Buckeye Bars

Buckeyes were one of my favorite Christmas candies when I was a kid. Our babysitter used to make a big batch for us every year, and instead of just handing them to us in person, she would leave the container in the mailbox along with a card for us to find later. It was WAY more fun and exciting when we finally pulled them out!

Not only is this buckeye recipe paleo-friendly, it is also designed for the lazy cook in mind. Not a big fan of rolling several dozen small buckeye balls, then stabbing them justtttt right with a toothpick, then attempting to dip them in chocolate while keeping them on the toothpick, which never seems to be an economical use of the melted chocolate?!? Y’all know what I’m talking about… I hate dipping things in chocolate. To keep the chocolate deep enough to fully submerge the object requires a TON of chocolate. The alternative is you use just the right amount of chocolate, but then you are sloppily scraping against the side of the bowl the majority of the time and not getting a nice chocolate-y coating. Does anyone else have this problem?!

Well it’s not a problem anymore. NO DIPPING. Just layering, slicing, and eating. Oh and I made one more improvement… the addition of date caramel!

Caramel Buckeye Bars

Subtract the effort and add caramel. That is the essence of Caramel Buckeye Bars. They are also grain-free, paleo-friendly, and extremely delicious. But you already knew that.

Ingredients

For the date caramel:

20 dates

1 tablespoon sunflower seed butter

1 tablespoon coconut oil

For the filling:

½ cup sunflower seed butter

½ cup coconut flour

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 tablespoon honey

For the chocolate coating:

4 ounces dark chocolate

2 teaspoons coconut oil

Chia seeds and coconut flakes for topping if desired

Directions

Place dates in a small saucepan and add enough water just to cover. Bring dates and water to a boil over medium heat on the stove. Once the water is boiling, remove pan from heat. Do not strain the water just yet -- just allow the dates to continue softening in the hot water while you prepare the filling.

In a large mixing bowl, combine sunflower seed butter, coconut flour, melted butter, and honey. I used a rubber spatula to really fold, press, scrape, fold, press, scrape, etc. until thoroughly mixed. The filling should be extremely thick! Spread filling in a thin layer on the bottom of a greased 8x8 pan. Chill in the refrigerator.

Scoop the dates out of the hot water with a slotted spoon and place them in a small high speed blender (I love my Magic Bullet). Add 1 tablespoon date cooking water, 1 tablespoon sunflower seed butter, and 1 tablespoon coconut oil. Blend until the mixture forms a thick, but consistent paste. If it is too thick to blend, add reserved cooking water a tiny bit at a time, until mixture comes together. Spread date caramel in a thin layer on top of peanut butter filling, and return to refrigerator.

Place dark chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler. Once chocolate is 75% melted, remove from heat and stir until completely melted (this prevents the chocolate from burning around the edges!). Pour over top of date caramel and help spread into a thin layer. Sprinkle with chia seeds and coconut flakes, if using. Refrigerate until solid and ready to slice, at least 30 minutes, ideally an hour or more.