If you gave me a bowl of caramel and a spoon, I’d be totally content.
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There is just something about caramel that I love. Maybe it’s that the flavor is so unique and delicious or that it’s so creamy and smooth, but I could literally eat it all by itself. Good news is, dates make a great healthy substitute for caramel and, when blended, have a similar flavor and texture as caramel. Which is why I sandwiched them in between a sweet and chewy layer of oats for these caramel oatmeal bars.
If you haven’t tried date “caramel”, you don’t know what you’re missing! Dates are naturally sweet and make a great, thick, creamy paste when blended with just a few other ingredients. So, in no time flat you get a refined sugar-free caramel (that is totally eat-by-the-spoonful approved).
And if you thought healthy caramel was good, wait until you see the ingredients for the oatmeal bars! They are basically like a superfood that is made up of chia seeds, almonds, and obviously, oats. All combined, they provide you with omega-3’s, healthy fats, fiber, and protein. These bars are just begging to be eaten.
You could even slice them up and grab them for a sweet, quick, on-the-go breakfast. The fiber and good-for-you fats will keep you full and energized in the morning. But, if you feel the need to grab another bar for a mid-morning snack, I totally approve.
Besides, if these bars don’t last in your house for very long (like they sure didn’t in mine), the good news is they take barely any time to whip up. For the oatmeal bars, all you need is a large bowl and a spoon. You literally throw all the ingredients into one bowl and stir them together. And the date “caramel” comes together in a matter of minutes by blending everything in a food processor or blender.
Pop these bars in the oven for a few minutes and you’ve got yourself a sweet and chewy treat full of nutritious ingredients that is sure to make your tummy happy.
Made these bars? Share them with me on social media @HealthyHacks. I love to see what you’ve been baking!
Yields 9 bars
Gluten Free; Vegan; High Fiber; Egg Free; Soy Free
20 minPrep Time
15 minCook Time
35 minTotal Time
- 1 1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
- 1/4 cup oat flour
- 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut , shredded or flakes
- 1/3 cup almonds, chopped
- 1/4 cup honey or agave
- 1/8 cup coconut oil
- 1/8 cup light brown sugar
- 1/8 cup chia seeds
- 1 1/2 Tbsp almond butter
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- pinch of cinnamon
- 14 dates
- 1/4 cup + 1/8 cup milk of choice
- 1 tsp vanilla paste (or extract)
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease or line with parchment paper an 8 X 8 square pan .
- For the oatmeal bars, in a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together until everything is well combined and a semi-sticky dough is formed.
- Press 2/3rds of the dough into the prepared pan, pressing very hard to make sure everything sticks together. Set aside.
- For the date caramel, place all the ingredients into a food processor or blender. Blend until completely smooth.
- Spread the caramel evenly over the oatmeal bar.
- Sprinkle the remaining oatmeal bar dough over the caramel layer and press down lightly.
- Bake for 14-15 min. or until the edges are a dark golden brown.
- Allow the bars to cool in the pan completely. If they are still crumbly when cut, chill them in the fridge for 30 min.
- Slice these sweet bars up and enjoy!
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