Looking for a healthier dessert? There's only thing that could make the chocolate and nut butter combo taste even better—caramel. This recipe combines coconut oil with energy-boosting dates to create a decadent filling that is free of refined sugar. And when you wrap it all up with antioxidant-rich dark chocolate, you’re in for a gloriously guilt-free treat. Watch the video to learn how to make the better-for-you candy cups today. 

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Ingredients

2 lightly packed cups pitted dates (about 20, 11 oz. total)
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Generous pinch of salt
8 oz. dark chocolate (at least 70%), chopped
1/3 cup almond butter
Coarse sea salt flakes, such as Maldon, optional

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Preparation

1. Place dates, 1 Tbsp. coconut oil, vanilla and pinch of salt in a food processor and pulse until blended and just some small pieces remain. With machine running, drizzle in 1 Tbsp. hot water. Continue to mix, adding more hot water if needed, until a smooth paste forms. Be careful not to add too much water; you want the caramel to be soft and supple but not too runny.

2. In a double boiler over simmering water, melt chocolate with remaining 1 Tbsp. coconut oil until smooth.

3. Fill 14 cups of a mini muffin tin with paper or foil liners. Spoon 1 tsp. melted chocolate into a muffin cup, spread with a small brush or the back of a spoon so chocolate covers bottom and most of the sides. Repeat with remaining muffin liners. Refrigerate or freeze until chocolate is firm. Spoon 1 to 2 tsp. almond butter into each cup, followed by 1 tsp. date caramel. Use moistened finger to press caramel down to a flat layer. Freeze for 10 minutes.

4. Top cups with remaining chocolate (start with 1 heaping tsp. per cup). Sprinkle each with a little bit of coarse sea salt flakes, if desired. Refrigerate or freeze until firm. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container until ready to serve.

NOTE: These are homemade treats, so they tend not to behave like the store-bought kind. When you bite down on these cups, they smoosh a bit. If anyone complains, no more candy for them!