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
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Yield: 18 bites
- 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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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?
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!
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?
Yes, I put it into the date caramel mixture when processing. Hope this helps!
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.
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!
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
Yes that’ll be just fine!
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?
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!
Hey Stephani, I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed them so much!
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?
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!
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. ;)
im making this yummy recipe but at what point do i add the salt?
I made these for my mom for Mother’s Day. Since I have become vegan, my mom has been really supportive and now she’s pretty much vegan. She used to LOVE rollos, so these were the PERFECT mother’s day treat! Thanks for the wonderful recipe!!!! :)
Hey there, just wanted to say that I absolutely love you stuff and will def be re-posting it and linking to your site!! Such great ideas and awesome recipes :) Thanks again!
Hi! I loved your recipe! Thank you for sharing it. I wanted to make this but I just have one question. In the first step, you have mentioned to process dates with butter. I just wanted to know how you do it. Do you do it just with the spoon or you put them in a processor? And do I need to remove date’s skin..?
I need to make this tomorrow so can you please answer it a bit early!? Thanks in advance!
Yes you process them in the food processor. No need to remove the skin! Enjoy
Thanks Angela for a quick reply! And do I must use coconut oil OR I can substitute it with just regular canola oil?
Thanks in advance!
I just made them. Easy and fantastic!
oh… i made this caramel… and then randomly decided to make it into german chocolate cake icing (typically made with evaporated milk, egg yolks and a whopping whole cup of brown sugar) … added water a tablespoon at a time until it was frosting consistency, then added pecans and shredded coconut… dee-vine! xo
Hi Angela! I am in the middle of making these and I can’t figure out which step I am supposed to add the sea salt listed in the ingredients? Did I miss something?
These are delish! I think my dates were smaller, so I added more but I don’t think it made enough (hehehe). I had leftover chocolate so after they set in the freezer I did a second coating!
So good and super easy, thank you!
Now I’m looking for a vegan wunderbar recipe….any ideas?
I’ve been pretty hesitant to try medjool dates.
I’m going paleo & trying to add more natural sweeteners into my diet.
Do medjool dates really taste like caramel?
I LOVE caramel btw, so this would be awesome for a natural ‘caramel’! ^_^
Yes they do in this recipe! Try it :)
I just made these. My children are very picky about my plant-based desserts- they adore these. These aren’t going to last long! SO DELICIOUS!!!! Thank you!
Hi, I really want to make “Rolo Pretzel Delights” (made with rolos, pretzels and pecans, but I am hoping to use the vegan rolos. Have you tried this/do you think it would work? Thanks.
These are amazing!
Love these! Can they be made with deglet dates instead? My store seems to be out of medjool.
Ok – I’m totally not a vegan, not even a vego, not organic just a regular omnivore – and I was intrigued by this recipe. I have just made these balls (well I made a half recipe as I was doubtful :-) They are actually really, really good. They DO taste like caramel and are so surprisingly rich and luxurious. I used bog standard peanut butter, didn’t add salt (there was salt in the peanut butter), did add about 1/2 teasp vanilla extract and used Belgian dark chocolate for coating. Now I have to go to the store to buy more dates! Thank you for this insight into ‘slightly’ more healthy sweet treats.
Just made and ate my first of your rolos. Yummmmaaaaaay as Jim Carrey would say! So easy to make and fun. I love simple recipes, just a few ingredients and things I usually have on hand for when the idea strikes to make something. This will definitely be a favorite for me for forever! Thanks you!
I made these (from the amazing cookbook!) today, and they are fantastic. They really, really do taste like Rolos. Yum!
To be honest, this was not one of my favourite OSG recipes. Followed directions exactly, but it really tasted nothing like caramel, or the original version, to me.
I made these for me and my partners anniversary and they were amazing.
Only my chocolate didn’t stick as well maybe i needed to let it cool a bit more? And funny story I bought my dates from a new place and didn’t realize they weren’t pitted so I nearly broke my mum’s food processor…..ooop…
These are seriously delicious. My mum made them for us last night and they were so good I have already made a double batch for myself. Thank you for this recipe!
Tried these… They are not Rolos… Rolos have no peanut butter in them.
My husband love them and said they reminded him of Wunderbars without the rice crisps. Maybe that would be something to add to them :)
I’m new to your page and just tried this recipe, substituting almond butter for peanut butter. They are DELICIOUS, but mine had to stay overnight in the freezer in order to come to a consistency in which they could be rolled, and even then they are still very very squishy and soft. Any idea what I’m doing wrong?
Added too much peanut butter first time but far from being a disaster it tasted like a snicker bar. Have only just realized it was meant to taste like a rolo. Trying again as hopefully I will have two versions. Thank you for a great recipe.
Holy moly these are good!! I’ll definitely be making these again and again! Wetting fingers and using a small batter scoop helped with making balls from the caramel after the freezer time. So so so good!!!! Thank you!!
Wanted to make these for Christmas. Finally made yesterday for Valentine’s Day. Delicious!!! And so easy. Wasn’t sure what to do with the salt so just omitted it. Great recipe.
I made these for my toddlers birthday… He ate 6 at once!! I didn’t even know that was possible. I was full after having a couple. Guess I’ll have to make more for the party. Great recipe! He also loved helping me roll the balls.
I’ve made these twice now. I have to avoid almonds, so I use cashew butter– they taste so good! The most recent attempt was almost thwarted by dates that had unexpectedly gone bad. What a disappointment considering how $ they are! I tried the recipe with prunes instead. It’s fruitier as opposed to caramel-like; but one of my fave chocolate bars is Fruit & Nut–so I added walnuts to some of the balls and I am loving them! I topped others with sesame seeds and the remainder with sea salt. Delicious!
I accidentally misread the recipe and added a 1/2 cup of peanut butter, and they came out like peanut butter cups! SO good! I don’t know if I’ll ever try the original recipe now!
Haha, that sounds like a happy (and delicious!!!) accident, Lindsey! So glad it all worked out in the end.
Haha! Thanks! P.S. I’m also expecting a baby (Aug 24th!). Have you heard that dates are supposed to help shorten labor? There’s been a few studies done…I figure it can’t hurt to stock up on these yummy treats and hope for the best!
I just heard this on Detoxinista’s blog actually! It was the first I had ever heard that before! So crazy if it helps. I have been eating a couple dates each day just in case a bit helps (and they are the perfect sweet snack!)
Just made these today! Wonderful recipe! I’m too young to remember the 80s, but rolos were definitely one of my very favorites growing up! I left out the coconut oil and melted my chocolate in a metal bowl above boiling water. I also boiled water and poured it into a bowl with my dates and let them soak in the hot water for a few minutes to soften them before I dared tried to blend them I to a paste. This made the chilling time a little longer, but I feel like it helped. They turned out amazing. I’m going to bring them to a Halloween party at work on Monday, so it s nice that they keep well in the freezer! The hardest part about this recipe was keeping my boyfriend from eating them all right off the tray! I’m so glad I found this recipe, ill be making it for relatives this thanksgiving and Christmas :)
I hope they were a hit at your work party, Clare!! Keeping ourselves from gobbling them all up is always a challenge around here, too. :)
AMAZING!!! SO GOOD!!!!! I teach a vegan cooking class and students tried these tonight- everyone was blown away by how delicious and simple these were. Thank you so much!
It’s so great to hear they were a hit, Sherry!!
These look so fun! Thank you for the creative ideas. I’m horrible at coming up with recipes on my own.
Problem, these are not Rolos knockoffs. These are just a random batch of treats. Rolos are milk chocolate covered caramel bites. Not even remotely close to what we have here. These are more peanut butter chocolate dates.
Hi there, where do you add the salt? Thanks