chocolate caramel tart with orange & sea salt

This turned out exactly as I had hoped. Score! The other day I got the image of this dark chocolate, decadent, sinful-looking tart with a hidden layer of caramel in my head and couldn't get rid of it. So I made it for you. I decided to add some orange juice and zest for the holiday season (oranges are christmas-y, right?) and also sprinkled on some sea salt because frankly it makes everything better. Then I realized it looked like it was snowing on my tart! Totally intentional. 

I cannot BELIEVE it is Christmas Eve today. I don't usually pay a lot of attention to reality but this year I've been away in my mind more than normal because I hardly even realized it was December. Woah, when did that happen? This evening we are going to a have nice dinner with family and other loved ones, as is the conventional custom I suppose. Tomorrow we're getting up early to systematically (yes, the von Euws have a system) unwrap our gifts to and from one another.

I am excited of course, but mostly just looking forward to spending the holiday with my boyfriend. My gift for him is below - a mug I drew all over, which I will fill with my poems. I don't really want any other presents except him! Having said that, I AM running low on virgin coconut oil... and I'm always down for some books on philosophy.

This tart is going to be dessert tonight and I can tell you right now - it's a keeper. Who doesn't like chocolate and caramel, especially when you don't have to feel guilty about eating it? Only crazy people. But don't judge them - they have lost their sanity. You can't trust anyone who doesn't like caramel.

I wish you the merriest holiday with whoever you spend it with. I hope you are able to surround yourself with positive energy, good will, love and raw vegan tarts. That is what I will be doing. Merry Christmas, my beloved and cherished readers! You are precious to me. (But don't worry, I won't go Golem on you). 

chocolate caramel tart with orange & sea salt:

2 cups almonds
1 1/2 cups dates

1 cup dates
1 cup water, use as much or little as needed to get a thin caramel consistency
2 tablespoons chia seeds 
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

3/4 cup cacao
2/3 cup maple syrup
2/3 cup melted coconut oil
juice and zest from 2 oranges
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional) 

To make the crust: pulse the nuts in your food processor until crumb-sized, then add the dates and pulse until everything sticks together. Press into the bottom of a tart tin and put in the freezer. 

To make the caramel: blend all ingredients (you can do this in the food processor) until smooth, adjusting to your desires. Spoon into the bottom on the crust and put back in the freezer. 

To make the chocolate: blend all ingredients in your food processor until smooth. When the caramel in your crust is solid, spread the chocolate on top and put back in the freezer. Let it stay in there overnight, then garnish with sea salt and orange zest and serve.