This is one of Donna Hay's better-for-you recipes from One Pan Perfect (Fourth Estate, 2022). She swaps out refined sugars and grains for unrefined sweeteners and nut flours. Coconut caramel is easy to make and versatile to use in slices or tarts or a sauce over ice cream.

Coconut caramel:

1 400 g coconut cream

1 1/2 c coconut sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and stir over high heat until sugar is dissolved and sauce is bubbling. Turn down to medium heat and continue stirring for 8-10 minutes until thickened. Take off heat and allow to cool in the saucepan. If you want to use the caramel for something else, store in an airtight jar or container in the fridge.


2 c / 240 g ground almonds

1/2 c / 75 g coconut sugar

2/3 c / 180 g tahini (or a nut butter)

1/3 c / 80 ml maple syrup

2 tsp vanilla extract


2 12 Tbsp cornflour

1 quantity coconut caramel (about 1 3/4 c)


125 g melted dark chocolate mixed with 3 tsp vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 160C. Line a 20 cm square tin with baking paper.

In a bowl or food processor, mix the almonds, sugar, tahini, maple syrup and vanilla until fully combined and sticks together when pressed.

Press evenly into the tin, using the back of a spoon to smooth out.

Bake for 25 minutes.

In a small bowl mix together the cornflour with 1/3 of the caramel, then scrape back into the saucepan with the caramel and whisk to combine. Heat on medium-high for about 5 minutes, stirring continuously until the caramel is very thick.

Spread over the base and return to the oven for 20 minutes.

Set the tin on a wire rack and allow to cool for 30 minutes before pouring over the chocolate topping.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before using a warmed knife to cut into pieces. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.