The caramel flavour comes mostly from the dates, but is aided by a small amount of lucuma powder too. I know not all of you have lucuma to hand, so you could omit it or replace with extra coconut sugar if you prefer. Whilst I used coconut sugar for these, the amount used is so small (2 tablespoons) that you could also substitute brown sugar or regular white sugar if you need to.
I used store bought dark chocolate chips (Sainsbury's), but if you don't have dairy free chips available then roughly chopped dark chocolate would give the same effect. Alternatively, you could use Emma's lovely tutorial for homemade chocolate chips on Coconut and Berries. Just don't leave the chocolate out. It is a core part of the delight in these!
Chocolate chip caramel muffins
A vegan, mostly whole foods muffin that has mellow hints of caramel and a generous supply of dark chocolate chips
Makes 12 muffins
Food processor or high-speed blender required for blitzing the cashews and dates
15 - 30 minute soaking time required for the cashews and dates
Author: Bite-sized thoughts
65g (1/2 metric cup) raw cashews
65g (1/2 metric cup) medjool or deglet noor dates
15 ml (1 tbsp) apple cider vinegar
235ml (1 metric cup minus 1 tbsp) non-dairy milk of choice (I used unsweetened almond)
195g (1-1/2 metric cups) plain flour or spelt flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tbsp lucuma powder (omit or use extra coconut sugar if you don't have lucuma)
5ml (1 tsp) vanilla essence
65g (1/2 metric cup) dark dairy-free chocolate chips
Chocolate chips, extra, for sprinkling, if desired
Combine the cashews and dates in a large heat-proof bowl or saucepan and cover with boiling water. Set aside to soak for 15 to 30 minutes.
Heat your oven to 175'C (350'F) and prepare a 12-pan muffin tray.
Combine the apple cider vinegar and non-dairy milk and set aside. (I usually do this by adding 1 tbsp of vinegar to the bottom of a 1 cup measure and then filling it with milk.)
Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, coconut sugar and lucuma powder in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Drain the soaked cashews and dates and add to a food processor or high-speed blender along with the vanilla. Process until fairly smooth, 1 to 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Add about 1/4 of the vinegar-milk mix and process just to loosen the date mixture.
Add the cashew-date mixture and remaining milk to the flour mix. Stir well to combine. Add the chocolate chips and stir through.
Use a dessertspoon to divide the batter across 12 muffin pans. Sprinkle with extra chocolate chips if desired.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Allow to cool before serving and beware of hot chocolate chips if you're impatient!