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!

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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!

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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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{ 230 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie B. October 24, 2012

Hello Angela! I want to say thanks for that yummy and sooo easy recipe. My friend at work just fall in love with those rolo bites, as I do, and I’m sending the recipe to my best friends too throught email… translated in French ;) Thanks from Sherbooke, QC. :)

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Lacia October 24, 2012

Made these today and they are really good. I gave one to my 6 year old and said nothing about what they were. He took a bite and first thing out of his mouth? “mmmm, tastes like a rolo!”. Consider it a major hit if you can fool a candy obsessed 6 year old.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 25, 2012

haha that’s awesome to hear!!

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Crystal H October 25, 2012

I just made these and as usual they are amazing!!! Every recipe I have tried from this site is delicious.

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Christy October 25, 2012

Hi-I see that salt is in the list of ingredients.. when do you add the pinch?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 26, 2012

You can add it to the date caramel :)

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Christy October 26, 2012

figured but had to ask, thanks!!

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heidi kokborg October 25, 2012

Hi Ange, I just made these babies and oh my god!! They are soooo good – I literally ate 6 of these in one day! Just couldn’t resist them. It is the best treat I have had in forever. Thank you so much for this recipe :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 26, 2012

Glad to hear that Heidi! Enjoy :)

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Katy October 27, 2012

Wow those look delicious!! I need to try it. My favorite chocolates are Areo, Kit Kats, Coffee Crisps, Caramilks and Crispy Crunch.

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Kimberly October 27, 2012

I just made these Angela, they are SO good, my husband (who claims he hates dates) ate half the batch already, these are my new favorite candy! Thank you for your amazing ideas. :) Happy Halloween!!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 27, 2012

I’m happy to hear that! Happy Halloween to you too :)

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Susanj October 27, 2012

I just made these and gave one to my niece and told her it was chocolate & caramel. She thinks she doesn’t like any of my “healthy” food (dates). She said it was a piece of heaven! I haven’t told her yet that it is really dates.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 27, 2012

hah that’s great! Enjoy :)

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Amanda B. October 28, 2012

Oooh, we are having a Halloween party at the library I work at and I wanted to make sure the treats I brought in were inclusive of all dietary needs. However, because of allergies, I don’t want to bring anything with nuts in it. Is there a possible alternative to the nut butter? Thanks!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 29, 2012

I would suggest using sunflower seed butter. Enjoy!

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Amanda B. October 29, 2012

Oh, now I see that you can use seed butter. I’ve never had that before. What would be the effect on the taste to use that instead of peanut butter?

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Keppy October 28, 2012

Yum! Made these today and they’re super easy and fantastic. I found the 1/2 cup chocolate chips was enough to make two batches. I used “milk” chocolate chips (couldn’t find dark chocolate) and it was still yum. I have never had dates before this and I’ve got several ideas for their use now :) Thank you!

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Dora October 29, 2012

what do you do with the salt? does it go in the date mixture, the chocolate mixture, or do you sprinkle it on top?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 29, 2012

I added it to the date mixture :) enjoy!

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Megan October 29, 2012

I made these yesterday in preparation for Hurricane Sandy…because yes, we’re directly in her path, and yes, I DO need chocolate to survive, That said, they’re wonderful and my kids are obsessed. You’re a genius.

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Sherisse October 29, 2012

I made these on the wknd, so easy and delicious! Plus they looked super pretty. I topped some with coconut, pecans, rice crispies and chia seeds before the chocolate hardened.

Thanks Angela!

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Briana October 29, 2012

Oooooo…I like your topping idea! Guess I’ll have to make them again.

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Briana October 29, 2012

Making your recipes has become a bit of an obsession and, thanks to you, I have more unique ingredients in my pantry than the local co-op. These little balls of heaven were so addictive. I fully intended to share them with my house guests. And I did mention it but maybe it was a noisy room and maybe I whispered and just maybe I didn’t mention it again. I’d like to add you to the very exclusive list of ladies I have proposed to.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 30, 2012

bahahaha….oh man your comment just made my day. I am so honoured – and yes, I accept obviously. I will have to tell Eric in a noisy room while feeding him Rolos…

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Carol October 30, 2012

I just have to say I LOVE these. I stumbled upon your website and I have to say you have inspired me. I was looking for vegan recipes because my husband was diagnosed with cancer and I truly believe “vegan” is the way to go!! Long story short his prognosses is good and we are continuing to slowly transfer over to vegan. Let me also say I am from the midwest where meat and potatoes were always on the menu at almost every meal. This is quite a change but we are determined. If you have any suggestions please send them my way :) You are an inspiration and thanks for making our journey to “vegan” much easier than I expected. PS We also love your Veggie Burgers and Green Monsters (which my husband and parents have every morning)!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 31, 2012

Hi Carol, Thank you for your kind words! I wish you and your husband all my best. xo

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Fi October 31, 2012

Oh my goodness, I just made these and tried one and they are ridiculously good! Over the past week, I’ve come to the conclusion that you, my dear girl, are a geee-nius! :-) I found your blog the other day and keep sneaking back, when I really should be busy with other things, to see what else I can try out! Thank you so much for all that you do and Happy Halloween and 4th {Blog} Birthday! I am so grateful to have found you. Now… the rest of those rolos (I only made half measures, so there are already only 7 left) are sitting in the freezer and the question is, do I wait for my husband to get home and share them with him, or eat them all now and pretend they never happened?! ;-)

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Debi Pasricha October 31, 2012

I’ve made these twice now to rave reviews! Love them. Now going to try your Kit Kat Bars!
Thank you. :)

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Chloe November 1, 2012

They are so yummyyyy!!! Thank you so much for this recipe,it’s amazing,so easy to make and delicious! My husband and friends loved them too ;)

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Sarah November 2, 2012

I’m pretty new to your blog, but loving it! Just a little tip I picked up from my mom when melting chocolate: put some water in a pan over medium-high heat and put a glass bowl over the pan (it must NOT be immersed in the water but should be a bowl big enough to perch on the pan edges). Put the choc chips in the glass bowl. The steam from the bubbling water will cause the choc chips to melt slowly. I use this every time and it’s flawless. Hope it made sense :-)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 2, 2012

great tip!

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ashleigh November 3, 2012

OMG!!! The date carmel is amazing I wish I would have discovered that along time ago. My carmel has not made it to the rolo stage because I can’t stop eating the carmel by the spoonful.

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Celia November 4, 2012

I’ve already made these twice! All of my friends love them. I love this blog it makes being vegan so easy and fun!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 4, 2012

awesome, thanks for letting me know!

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Joanne November 5, 2012

Hi Angela , I love your website have told so many people about it and the awesome recipes. Made these today and instead of putting melted chocolate I mixed in cacao nibs. Really great also. I have a friend who doesn’t eat sugar so they were perfect. Love them with the chocolate also. This one is another keeper. Thanks!

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JennC November 9, 2012

Made these tonight for my sons Halloween Themed birthday party tomorrow. YOU are the best!!!! these taste just like a store bought candy bar. I’m making the Apple Bites tomorrow. Thank You Thank You Thank You :-)

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kristi November 10, 2012

These are awesome and SO easy!!! Thanks for all the great recipes!

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AEIM November 27, 2012

Oof. My food processor burned out while trying to make this date caramel.

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Stephanie January 5, 2013

This is a dumb question…but I am out of chia seeds. Should I wait until I have them or can these be made without? (I have NO IDEA how I missed these the first time aroound!!)

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Kylie January 8, 2013

These were pretty awesome. The first time I made them, though, I soaked my dates way too long so they wouldn’t freeze. It was just like a frosting texture that was smooth but refused to set up enough to ever make a ball out of it. However, thanks to that mistake, I think I am going to do the same thing over again and use this “caramel” base for my own vegan spin on German Chocolate Frosting! My plan is to use
-200g of soaked dates (I soaked mine overnight)
-1/2 tbsp peanut butter
-2 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
-1 1/2 cup chopped pecans
-1 tsp of vanilla
The best part is that there will be no added sugar or any of the other awful things you find in German Chocolate frosting. I can’t wait to see how it turns out. :)

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Kylie January 12, 2013

Just made my frosting. I ended up using:
• 400 grams dates (about 30 medium dates)
• 1 cup water, divided
• 1 tbsp cashew butter (or any other nut butter, but cashew has the most mild taste that doesn’t interfere with the frosting)
• 2 ½ cups unsweetened coconut flakes
• 1 ½ cups pecan pieces
• 2 tsp gluten free vanilla

The date mixture with cashew butter and vanilla tasted even more like caramel than the date/peanut butter mixture for the rolos.This made enough to frost an entire 2 layer 8 inch round cake, and I’m betting any leftover would make great little truffles.

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IslandChica January 9, 2013

This looks delish and I plan on making them this week! I assume the pinch of salt goes in with the date mixture? Thank you! :)

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Shasta January 23, 2013

OMG. Rolos are my fav! I love anything that combines chocolate and caramel. It’s midnight now, and I’m going to fall asleep dreaming about these. I will absolutely be making these in the morning.

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hemhaw January 26, 2013

These were great! I used almond butter and did not use toothpicks, but they are so delicious! I will definitely keep this “caramel” recipe in mind for slathering in the middle of a chocolate layer cake!

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Sandy-Lee February 5, 2013

Cant believe it has taken me this long to comment on these little beauties! I made them when you first posted this, and have pretty much been making them fortnightly since. Being pregnant I feel Im getting such a treat, yet still relatively healthy. Today I made them using Macadamia nut butter, which is great for something different. But the original is still my favorite, thanks Angela!

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Cal February 17, 2013

Hi! I’ve made these once already and they were great. This time around I noticed that you list salt in the ingredients but not in the instructions. Is it supposed to go in there somewhere?

Thanks! :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) February 19, 2013

Yes, I put it into the date caramel mixture when processing. Hope this helps!

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Tanya February 25, 2013

I just made these this evening, and they were absolutely delicious. I made two mods: I added chis seeds to the processor with the coconut oil (inadvertently) and it actually worked great. Also I heated the chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave for a minute. The results were very well-received by the whole family. Also, since my dates were dry, I “steamed” them in a little bit of water in the microwave first, and they were good to go.

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Sarah February 28, 2013

Sorry to bring a post back from the dead like this (thought it IS a Halloween-related post, so why not??), but I have a funny story: I made these a few times since you’ve posted the recipe because my husband and I both LOVE them when we’re craving sweets but not the inevitable guilt of junky food.

Usually I make a small batch like your recipe, but I figured this time I’d make a QUADRUPLE batch since they keep so well in the freezer, and since they’re kind of a pain to make/clean up (though very worth the mess!). I used the same kind of dates as you did, Ange, and did soak them first even though they’re pretty soft. Wellllll, this idea ended up being a bit of a disaster. It takes a lot of scraping and blending regardless, but I guess the massive amount of date-goo was too much for my food processor to handle. I was at the sink washing a few dishes as it was blending, and it started to make struggling sounds… which turned into death throes. Smoky, smelly, death throes. My poor food processor bit the dust and the “caramel” wasn’t even pulverized yet :( Panicked that I might have wasted 45 precious dates (they’re NOT cheap), I hesitantly used my hand blender to VERY CAREFULLY and slowly puree it as best I could. It was touch-and-go, but I’m happy to report that I only killed the one small appliance in the process and now have a “Rolo” stash to get me through ’til the next apocalypse! Ah, who am I kidding… they’ll probably still be gone in a month. My food processor was only 3 years old, and though it wasn’t all that bad, I can’t say I’m sorry that I’ll have to upgrade to a better model ASAP :) Yay for happy endings!

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Liz March 30, 2013

Thank you for this recipe they look amazing!!! I just made them and put them in the freezer for their final go.. and realized I should’ve asked this question a lot sooner… Is it okay to freeze them for hours?! I was planning on not eating them until 5 or 6 hours from now

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Angela (Oh She Glows) March 30, 2013

Yes that’ll be just fine!

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Tawni April 1, 2013

First I must say that I LOVE your blog and recipes!!! I just made these “rolos” but I think I must have soaked my dates too long because the date mixture was super hard to work with. I did drain off the extra water but the mixture was so sticky I ended up freezing it overnight and it was still a bit challenging! Thinking they must have absorbed too much water?

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Stephani April 14, 2013

WOW! These “rolo” candies are fantastic!!! I loved Rolos as a kid and just took my first bite (okay, my first bite was when the mixture was in the VitaMix) with the chocolate covering and I can’t believe how great they are! Some vegan and gluten free snacks are good because you just don’t have a choice, but these are great for everyone! I used Naturally Nutty Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower butter in place of peanut butter. Their stuff is amazing!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 14, 2013

Hey Stephani, I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed them so much!

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Liza April 23, 2013

Hello!
First of all, me and my sister have been trying all of your recipes one by one and we love them! thank you! Also, I tried these and they actually really do taste like caramel once they set. I used sea salt instead of chia seeds to make it a sea salt caramel. Thinking of making it with lavendar or earl gray infused into the caramel? Any thoughts?

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Jessica April 24, 2013

I made this recipe and the little “rolo” balls were AMAZING! Based on what I remember rolos tasting like, I’d give these an 8.5 for closeness. But for overall tastiness value, they get a 10. Thank you for the awesome recipe! They are easy to make and require simple ingredients AND take care of my now vegan sweet tooth! Plus I like that I don’t feel nearly as guilty if I eat these–heck, I know what’s in ‘em! Can’t say that about rolos, the regular type!

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Jessica April 25, 2013

I made these again (2nd time this week since finding this recipe; who’s counting? not me!) and they are just a scrumptious. I think you have created a monster. A vegan, fat & happy monster. ;)

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