A few weeks ago I set out to make Turtle squares. Something with the pecans and the caramel and the chocolate, reminiscent of those Turtle chocolates that you always see come out at every holiday or occasion where you can justify extra chocolate. I don’t even like Turtles chocolates in the normal packaged version you buy in the store, but I like the idea of them. I like the idea of the combination of caramel, pecans and chocolate. Only dark chocolate though I think.
It would be fair to say that I wanted a healthier version of Turtles. One that I could eat with a little less restraint and enjoy a little more. Plus, I had also recently purchased tapioca flour and was really excited to try it out and experiment with it a bit in baking. And if I’m being honest, the outcome of all these quests was better than I expected, and was a batch of squares that the boy have talked about ever since. I contemplate how much I want to make them again every week.
Between the ooey gooey caramel topping, the chocolate cake like bottom, and the pecans piled on in between, there’s really nothing bad about these bars. In fact, the good part is, that you get all of that, plus they’re vegan, gluten free and with no refined sugar. The caramel is this creamy, smooth date caramel, made thick and delicious by the addition of coconut milk, and now that I’ve seen the results of baking with tapioca flour, I won’t be forgetting about that any time soon. In fact, I’ve used it several times since, with equally as pleasing results. The truth is, I could gush on about how good these are for a long time, and then make them again and devour them all just to remember how good they are. Really though, you should just make your healthy Turtle Squares and get an idea for yourself. I know you won’t be disappointed.
Just like Turtle chocolates, but healthy, vegan and with no refined sugar.
For the Squares
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup tapioca flour
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 cup cacao powder
- 1 cup cooked red lentils
- 1 banana
- 5 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 1 1/2 cups almond milk
- 1/2 cup pecan halves, roughly chopped
For the Caramel
- 10 dates, soaked in 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1/4 cup coconut cream
- 3 tbsp oat milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
For the Squares
- In a large bowl, stir together the brown rice flour, tapioca flour, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda and cacao powder.
- In a blender, add the lentils, banana, maple syrup, coconut oil and almond milk. Blend until smooth and creamy.
- Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and stir until the batter comes together.
- Pour into a 9×9 inch square pan and bake at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 30-40 minutes, or until the edges start to pull away from the side of the pan.
- Cool on a rack.
For the Caramel
- Combine the dates with soaking water, coconut cream, oat milk and vanilla in a blender and puree until smooth.
- Once finished, pour into a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring often until thickened. I only left mine on for 10-15 minutes, but if yours seems more watery, leave it on for longer.
- Once the sauce has thickened, spread the pecan halves out over top of the cooled squares. Pour the caramel sauce over top, spreading evenly, and place the pan in the fridge for 2-3 hours for the caramel to set.
- After the caramel has set, slice into squares and enjoy. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Don’t miss these other delicious squares:
- Raw Chocolate Squares
- Caramel Mesquite Squares
- Tiramisu Blondies
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Squares