Paleo Pecan Candy Clusters

Bet you didn’t think you could have a vegan chocolate treat that's free of refined sugars--but here we are with one based on chocolate turtles. Sweet and rich with vegan caramel, a bit of sharp depth from dark chocolate, and crunch from pecans, these little paleo candy clusters immediately put a smile on your face. Pecans are the classic, but feel free to try these with any of your favorite nuts.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 50 min (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 candies
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Ingredients

6 ounces unsweetened cacao bar, chopped

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup pecan halves, toasted and cooled

1/2 cup Vegan Caramel, recipe follows

Vegan Caramel:

1/2 cup packed pitted dates

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

2 tablespoons almond butter

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Large pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Add 2 inches of water to a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Place the cacao in a medium heatproof bowl and set it over the saucepan (do not let the bowl touch the water). Stir occasionally until the cacao is melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the saucepan. Stir in the maple syrup and vanilla. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, on a silicone baking mat or parchment, create little mounds of pecans (3 or 4 per candy is perfect). Top each mound with a tablespoon or so of the vegan caramel. Pour the melted cacao over each mound, letting the pecans stick out a bit. Let the candies set at room temperature until the chocolate is fully hardened, at least 30 minutes. Serve or refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Vegan Caramel:

Yield: Makes about 2/3 cup.
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
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