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How To Make 5-Ingredient Mood-Boosting Caramel With A Hidden Superfood

Caramel cheesecake on a plate in a minimal setting
Image by Tatjana Zlatkovic / Stocksy
November 28, 2020

The great thing about a simple caramel sauce is that you can add it to anything to instantly upgrade any dessert—or to make a tasty treat out of some fresh fruit (apple slices, in particular). The downside, however, is that many caramels are simply packed with processed sugar, and they're finicky to make, at best. This quick no-cook recipe makes DIY caramel an easy addition to your holiday menus.

Not only that, but this particular salted caramel has a superfood addition that will help make the holidays even sweeter: maca powder. This adaptogen is native to Peru, where it has a long history of use in both cooking and medicine1—and it's actually technically a cruciferous vegetable, related to popular veggies like cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.

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Though it doesn't have caffeine, it does provide a serious dose of nutrients like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C, and many people find it energizing. According to Frank Lipman, M.D., "Adaptogens are a unique group of herbal ingredients used to support the health of your adrenal system—the system in charge of managing the body's hormonal response to stress." While we adapt to this unique holiday season, a little bit of mood-stabilizing help is certainly worth considering.

"This super-easy caramel is made with just a handful of ingredients in less than a few minutes," writes Christina Leopold in No-Bake Vegan Desserts. "It doesn't require any special kitchen equipment and can be stored in the fridge and added to desserts, ice cream, porridge, nice cream, smoothies, and more."

Salted Maca Caramel
Image by Christina Leopold   / Contributor

Salted Maca Caramel

Makes one 10.2-ounce jar

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Ingredients

  • ½ cup cashew butter
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp. maca powder
  • ½ tsp. Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Method

  1. Put all of the ingredients in a medium bowl.
  2. Whisk vigorously until you have a smooth paste without any lumps.
  3. Transfer the caramel to an airtight jar and store in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Reprinted with permission from No-Bake Vegan Desserts by Christina Leopold, Page Street Publishing Co. 2020. Photo credit: Christina Leopold.
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