Raw Maple Walnut Caramel Cups

My Grandmother passed away earlier this week.  She will be dearly missed, because she brought smiles wherever she went.  When I was little, I gave her the name "Kitty" Grandma, because she loved cats, and she had a couple of them at that point, so I loved to visit her house.  She was always the fun Grandma, the one who knew what kids liked.  When she would babysit me, she would have tons of dress up clothes for me to try on, crafts to make, and games to play.  

She made the best grilled cheese sandwiches I ever tasted in my life, and I would always ask her to make them for me, cut into 4 triangles with a side of ketchup.  She was always the cool Grandma, keeping up with the latest trends in clothing, and even educating me at times on what was "in" at the time.  Although she would correct me when I did wrong, she had a way of doing it so it didn't seem like scolding.  She was the kindest person to everyone.  
In the past few years, she had not been herself due to dementia.  But even when her memory started to fade, and she did not know the things and people around her, she still loved to dance.  She was always moving, and I think that is maybe where I inherited it from not being able to sit still myself.  She loved my desserts, and when I visited her in the nursing home, she could not remember me by sight, but she still talked about her granddaughter Amy's desserts.  I think I inherited my love of sweet things from her as well.  Although I miss her now, I know that she is happy to be able to dance again in heaven without pain and suffering and I will see her again someday.  

 I thought that today I would make a recipe my Grandma would have loved, Raw Maple Walnut Caramel Cups.  She loved all things nut and caramel as well as chocolate.  One of the last times I brought her a dessert in the nursing home, it was a raw chocolate with caramel.  She didn't eat much at the time, but she ate that chocolate right up!  So it seemed appropriate that I combine the three together in one recipe.

These are simple to make, just a raw date caramel (the best kind of caramel in my mind), raw walnuts and raw chocolate made with coconut oil.  These are perfect any time of the year, but they would make a lovely hostess gift for a Holiday party in a nice box.  

They are simply heavenly!  Nuts and caramel together with chocolate happens to be a favorite combination of mine too.  I wish my Grandma was here to try some, she would have loved everything about them!

Raw Maple Walnut Caramel Cups
Makes 12 large cups

1 cup raw coconut oil, warmed to liquid
1 cup raw cacao powder
1/2 cup maple syrup, or raw coconut nectar or your choice liquid raw sweetener
a pinch sea salt

1 cup soft medjool dates, pitted (if not soft, soak them in filtered water first, then drain)
2 Tbsp raw pecan butter or walnut butter (raw almond butter will also work)
3 Tbsp raw coconut nectar or agave nectar
1 tsp maple extract
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

1 Tbsp raw coconut oil
1/4 tsp fleur de sel

1/4 cup filtered water (or more if too thick, add an additional Tbsp at a time)
1/2 cup raw walnut pieces

To make the chocolate, whisk all ingredients together until smooth, and set aside. 
To make the caramel, combine all ingredients but the walnuts together in the food processor and process until smooth.  You may need to add a little more water if too thick (you do not want it runny though, or it will be oozing out the sides of the candy).  Mix in the walnuts. Set aside.
Lay out 12 large PB cup tins or molds on a flat cutting board or tray, and fill them about 1/3 full with the chocolate.  Place them in the freezer to set about 5 minutes.  Once set, spoon about 2 tsp of the caramel onto each, smoothing it down slightly, but not so much that it oozes to the sides (you want to be able to cover it with more chocolate and not have it stick out the top).  Spoon chocolate over each mound of caramel enough to cover and fill to the top of the tins.  Place in the freezer to set for about 15-20 min.  Enjoy!

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