Homemade “Rolo” Knock-Offs – Vegan, Gluten-Free, & 5 Ingredients

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During my late teens and early twenties, my top 5 favourite chocolate bars were the following (in no particular order):

Chunky Kit Kat, Wunderbar, Coffee Crisp, Rolo/Caramilk, and Twix.

What about you?

For the next Halloween recipe in my Treat-a-thon series, I made a healthier version of Rolo caramels. Instead of making a traditional caramel, I processed Medjool dates into a caramel with a touch of nut butter. I really had no idea how close I could get the flavour, but I figured it was worth a shot.

Well let me tell you, we couldn’t believe how much these taste like Rolo caramels (only better of course because they are homemade). They don’t call dates “nature’s candy” for no reason!

Homemade “Rolo” Knock-offs

To email, text, or print this recipe, click here.

Yield: 18 bites

Ingredients:

  • 200 grams pitted soft Medjool dates (about 11 large)
  • 1/2 tbsp peanut butter (or other nut or seed butter)
  • pinch of fine grain sea salt
  • scant 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • chia seeds (optional)

 

The chia seeds were added for a spooky bug-like appearance and for some sneaky nutrition!

homemade Rolo chocolate 7129   Homemade “Rolo” Knock Offs – Vegan, Gluten Free, & 5 Ingredients

You’ll need soft Medjool dates for this recipe. My favourite brand is by Bard Valley. If you are starting with firm/hard dates, you’ll need to soak them in water until soft. Make sure to drain the water off before proceeding.

How to make:

1. Process dates with nut/seed butter until a sticky paste forms.

2. Chill date mixture in freezer for 10 minutes, then shape into about 18 small balls.

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3. Freeze balls again for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, melt chocolate with coconut oil.

4. Dunk each chilled ball into chocolate. Tap off excess. Sprinkle with chia and stick with toothpick.

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5. Place bites back into the freezer for at least 20 minutes to set. Bites taste best when they are firm and cold, straight from the freezer. They soften at room temp, but do not melt.

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6. Enjoy!

homemade Rolo chocolate 7157   Homemade “Rolo” Knock Offs – Vegan, Gluten Free, & 5 Ingredients

Try them for yourself – I think you’ll be surprised by how much they taste like the real thing.

Next on my Halloween recipe list might have to be the Kit Kat bar…

In other Halloween news, I’m thinking about going as an 80’s girl this year. My inspiration came from these hot pink mesh gloves I found at Dollarama yesterday. Hot!

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My mom was visiting on Monday and we were talking about my love for 80’s fashion as a child. Neon colours, side pony, teased curled bangs, spandex (neon of course), high top sneaks, leg warmers, stone-washed tapered jeans, slap bracelets, sweater clips, scrunchies….I rocked it all. There was no mistake that I was an 80’s child.

Anyone else have their costume idea decided yet?

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{ 224 comments… read them below or add one }

jessica October 17, 2012

Oh my gosh I love rolos!!! If you can make caramel perhaps you’d be able to make a vegan version of Mars bars??? I was obsessed with those as a kid! Have no idea how to recreate the nougat.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 17, 2012

I’ve been thinking about that one too….I will have to look up some non-vegan recipes to see what they use to make it.

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Sondi October 17, 2012

These look spectacular. I used to love Rolos! I am so making these. Until I cut out processed foods, my all-time favourite treat was Smarties. I think they’d be really hard to re-create, though, because of the candy shell.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 17, 2012

maybe some kind of coconut oil + food colouring shell would work? They’d have to be kept chilled though :)

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Wendy October 17, 2012

Can’t wait to try these, my favorite candy then and now is still Reese’s Peanut butter cups

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Averie @ Averie Cooks October 17, 2012

Best idea EVER for that sort of gloppy stage of processed dates + nut butter. Just soft enough to be exactly like caramel yet still hold together! At that stage, I usually add oats or some sort of dry ingredient to make bars with, etc. What was I thinking?! I need to keep that state and keep the caramely love alive and make these! LOVE Rolo’s & this idea!

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Amanda L October 17, 2012

OMG I’m not Canadian but I LOVE coffee crisp!!! I live inmichigan and get at least 10 bars every time I go over the bridge!!!

These rolos sound great :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 17, 2012

hah I wonder why they aren’t sold in the US? I need to find a way to make them at home.

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Catalina @ Cake with Love October 17, 2012

This look cute, healthy, fun and delicious! Can’t wait to make the asap!

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Beth October 17, 2012

Can’t wait to try! I loved Rolos and am always looking for a vegan substitute.

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Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar October 17, 2012

Love this idea! That caramel looks awesome.

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Brittany@www.secretinthesauce.blogspot.com October 17, 2012

Because my son has behavioral issues when eating artificially colored treats, I’ve been trying to entice him to eat other goodies instead. The hard part is that to him, nothing tastes as good as the real thing. I’m excited about this recipe and will give it a whirl. Last year I made him his own pumpkin chocolate chip cake in exchange for his trick-or-treat bag (I know that sounds so mean) and it worked to a point. I think I needed a few other treats to make it more of a fair trade. Thanks Angela!!

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Catherine October 19, 2012

I just felt the need to reply to your comment. As a young child (I’m now 28, though no kids of my own yet), I also suffered from behavioral issues from artificial food dyes/preservatives. This was in the ’80s, when there wasn’t a whole lot of research (particularly in the Deep South of the US, where I’ve always lived). I have much empathy for you and your son! It was tough not understanding why I couldn’t have the same treats (M&Ms, Skittles, cheese-flavored snacks, etc.) as my friends, but I’m so glad my mother did her own research and stood up for me and herself when doctors basically said she was crazy. Luckily I grew out of it, but I still try to avoid artificial dyes as much as possible because of what’s in them. Luckily for you and your son, there are so many more options today–and awesome blogs like this one that have creative AND healthy ways to recreate some of those unhealthy (but enticing) treats.

I can’t wait to try to make these myself. Seems so simple. Rolos weren’t one of my favorites–I was more of a Reese’s PB cup or peppermint patty/Junior Mints girl (love those 2 flavor combinations in ANYTHING!)–but these look too delicious to pass up.

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Brittany October 19, 2012

I’m glad you commented! I’m really impressed that your Mom linked artificial colors up to some struggles you had and that she stuck to her guns! I know my son struggles with not being able to eat the candy that the other kids can so I do try to make and get stuff that will help him to not feel ‘left out.’ I just went and got some dates so I can get going on these. I laughed because Rolo’s were never my thing either – Reese’s Peanut Butter cups are STILL my favorite. The cake I made last year though (in trade for his candy) was using Angela’s Spiced Buttercream frosting on her pumkin cake – it was to DIE for. Thanks for your comment – it’s always nice to know someone out there knows what I’m talking about! Love the pic of your doggy by the way. :)

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Nicole Marie Story October 17, 2012

Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins!!!
My substitute is Alicia Silverstone’s vegan peanut butter cups.
Delicious!!!

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Becky October 17, 2012

It sounds like you could easily take this recipe and make Twix – just spread the date/PB mixture on a Club cracker, then dip in chocolate. Club crackers aren’t exactly healthy, but it would work!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 17, 2012

lovely idea! I was thinking I need to revamp my Twix recipe too.

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Jody October 17, 2012

Those look sooo good, can’t wait to give the recipe a try!

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Life's a Bowl October 17, 2012

Rolo’s were my dad’s favorite candy- I’ll always think of him when I eat one [and it gets all stuck in my teeth] :P

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Heidi kokborg October 17, 2012

They look delish! I’ll definitely try them!

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Ashley October 17, 2012

Your Halloween treats are so fun! These look especially delicious!

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Laura October 17, 2012

I think I know what I’m making for my boyfriend’s welcome home treat tomorrow! nummy! And my favourite “Cheap” chocolate bar is a kitkat. Nothing else tempts me, but a kit kat…now that’s another story. I like the little boxes of smarties too, just enough for me.

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Dutchgirl Sam October 17, 2012

Hi Angela,

Wow, thanks for the great recipe. I’ve already tried to make them, but I can’t seem to form balls. It’s too mushy and sticky. I’ve made the ‘caramel’ with soaked dates, so I think that’s the problem. Do you have any idea how I can solve it and make the date paste more solid (freezing it for 3 hours didn’t help)? Maybe I’ll add some whole grain rice crisps and call them Lion bars (Dutch name for the crispy, caramel, chocolate bar).
Thanks again for your creative idea, I love, love, love most of your recipes :).

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Aimee October 17, 2012

Wow! These look incredible! I haven’t thought about rolos in years, much less eaten one. I used to love them while growing up (eaten while wearing my neon colors, of course). Thanks for providing me with the grown-up healthy version. :-)

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Lia October 17, 2012

Great treat idea! And cute decorations. I’d wonder how they would look fully covered with chia. I might have to try that. It’d look like fly eyes or something weird….Hahahaha! I am still trying to decide what to be for Halloween.

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Victoria October 17, 2012

Yes, I’m going to be a mermaid! I found a green sparkly and scaly skirt from H&M, and I’m going to put tinsel in my hair and wear a shell bikini— probably over a flannel since I am in Maine!

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Kari@Loaves and Dishes October 17, 2012

I just made little energy snack from dates yesterday! I wish I’d seen this recipe first, it look delish!

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Kristen October 17, 2012

Does the pinch of salt go into the date mixture?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 18, 2012

Yes it does! It’s written in the recipe I linked to. Enjoy!

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin October 17, 2012

Ahh I love this! I actually could never have Rolos as a kid because they say “may contain traces of nuts” on the label. So now I can make up for all those years without them by making these! ;)

My favourite candy bars were/are Hershey’s cookies ‘n cream, Caramilk, Kit Kat, Coffee Crisp, and mint Aero!

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat October 17, 2012

Wow, I would have never guessed that the date mixture would turn out like caramel. Super creative Ange! My favourite chocolate bars were Crispy Crunch and Twix, and although I’m not really a big chocolate person, those would still be my top 2 today! As for costumes, I’m not sure what’s happening in my house as far as dressing up goes, but I think those gloves were made for you! ;)

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Terri October 17, 2012

When do you put in the pinch of sea salt?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 18, 2012

the salt is added With the date mixture – please see the recipe link. Enjoy! :)

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Terri October 18, 2012

Thanks for the reply. I still don’t see where it mentions adding the salt in the recipe…LOL.

I made them last night without the salt and they turned out great. My daughter, a chocoholic, LOVED them. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

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Terri October 18, 2012

D’oh…now I see it on the link. I just made them from the blog post…LOL. Thanks again.

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Kimmy October 17, 2012

oh holy crap! Sooooo excited to make these =)
I have to bring in some treats for a Halloween thing at my volunteer gig and I was racking my brain trying to think of something not completely evil (like the candy currently flying off of the shelves), somewhat healthy but fun. Score!

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Stephanie October 17, 2012

Ole YUMMYYYYY!! I need to try this recipe.

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Kaitlin @ A Taste of Bulmer October 17, 2012

I recently became vegan, and I used to LOVEEE rolos as a kid. I was so thrilled to see this recipe, but I have a nut allergy :( Any suggestions for a nut/seed butter substitution??

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Natalie @ FreshLifeFindings October 17, 2012

You are SO creative! Love this recipe! Such a great healthy halloween treat.

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luv what you do October 17, 2012

OMG! These look so good!
I love this recipe…can’t wait to try it!

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Martha October 17, 2012

I just finished making these, and they are awesome!!!! I am having to use all of my self-control to not go finish off the rest of them! Thanks for the great recipe!!!!

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Kayla Moothart October 17, 2012

I have no idea what to be! But I do know that I want to try making these!

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Carie October 18, 2012

Nice recipe! If I have some kind of holiday event I might make these :)

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Brandi October 18, 2012

Oh my goodness! I just posted a recipe so similar to this a few days ago on my blog, “ShotglassTruffles” except with peanut butter whipped cream as the center! So decadent! Will have to try your version! They look delicious. Those toothpicks are adorable and so are the pics!! Can’t wait to try them.

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Brandi October 18, 2012

Oh and of course they’re vegan…I use coconut cream as the peanut butter whipped cream :)

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Sonal October 18, 2012

My favourite chocolate has to be Snickers! I love it because it has a bit of everything :) These rolos look awesome! I’m not a big fan of dates but might just have to try this!

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Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers October 18, 2012

Oh my gosh I haven’t had Rolo’s since I was a kid! I have to make your healthy version!!! What a great treat!!

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Anne Weber-Falk October 18, 2012

“o” rings worn in bunches on your wrist like Madonna, oxford shoes, white Keds, wayfarer sunglasses in bright colors

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Anya October 18, 2012

Looks verrrrryy yummy!

If you use white chocolate and stick some green/blue/brown M&M candy on top, they would look like eyeballs :D

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nicole October 18, 2012

This is AMAZING! Can’t wait to try them out : )

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http://practicinggrace.wordpress.com/ October 18, 2012

I think I’m a little tooooo excited to try these. When I was younger, I was obsessed with rolos and once gave my dad one to throw away because I dropped in on the street. Let’s just say he didn’t realize any of this…ha he still makes fun of me today

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