I think adults should get to join in on the fun on holidays, too. I love to do special things for my friends and loved ones on the holidays. Otherwise, as an adult, they just go by. And besides, why let kids have all the fun? I plan on bringing out the hard boiled eggs on Saturday night and getting Alex to join me decorating them. Mostly because on Sunday, I want to make these.
And of course, someone is going to need a basket to pick up all of those eggs after the Easter Bunny hides them, right? So, Alex is getting a “Manly Easter Basket,” complete with a homemade chocolate bunny. And it’s not just any chocolate bunny- it’s filled with a smooth date-caramel and crunchy toasted almonds.
(Healthier) Ideas for Manly Easter Baskets:
- Beer (yep, got that one in there)
- Hot sauce (I included Alex’s South African Peri-Peri sauce. We love hot sauce.)
- Olives, pickled asparagus, or artichoke hearts
- Towels for the gym (the blue ones in the back!)
- Trail mix
- Mini-Mag lights (flashlights)
- Suitcase locks
- Bread mix for a bread maker (I’ve done this in the past)
- BBQ sauce or BBQ utensils
- Protein or meal replacement bars
- Squirt guns or balls
- Stress balls
Now, back to this chocolate bunny. I bought a bunny cake mold a few years back, and its small enough to not require a ton of chocolate. I can fill it with 1 large chocolate bar if I am using a filling. A while back, I noticed when making date bars that when chilled, date paste tastes a lot like caramel. I have been using it as a caramel replacer in homemade treats ever since. It’s gooey and sweet, and doesn’t cause the horrible stomach ache I get from the sugar-butter overload of real caramel.
If you process it long enough, the skins will break down and it will be very smooth.
I’ve found that if you’re using a non-stick pan, there is no reason to oil the pan. In fact, the time I did oil the pan, it didn’t turn out as smooth and nice.
Start by adding a layer of chocolate to the bottom and sides of the pan, then let it chill while making the filling. When the chocolate has hardened, you can add the date caramel to the center, and smooth into a layer, leaving a gap at the edge of the pan for chocolate.
Next, add the toasted almonds . . .
And cover with another layer of chocolate.
Oops. Overfilled that tiny bunny! I am sure my man won’t mind.
- 1 cup dark chocolate (more or less- depending on size of mold. I used an 85% bar)
- 1 cup dates, pitted
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ cup almonds
- Put the almonds on a cookie sheet in a preheated oven on 325º for 12 minutes.
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave, being careful not to burn.
- Once the chocolate is smooth, put a layer of chocolate on the bottom of the mold, and then up the sides as far as you can. Place the mold in the freezer until your date caramel is ready.
- Put pitted dates in a strainer, and run hot water over them for 10-15 seconds to soften them. Add them to a food processor with lemon juice and salt. Process until very smooth, stopping to scrape the dates back down once in a while. It will take 5-10 minutes, depending on your food processor. You want them very smooth, with almost no skin fragments remaining.
- Take the bunny mold out of the freezer, and scoop the date "caramel" into the center of the mold. Spread into a layer, leaving a small gap all around the edges so the sides can be filled with a layer of chocolate. Press the almonds in to the top of the caramel. Leave room for another layer of chocolate to be added over the top.
- Once your caramel and almonds are in place, pour the remaining chocolate over the top to fill the mold.
- Refrigerate or freeze until ready to add to an Easter basket.