Healthy Sweet Treat

While eating healthy and enjoying sweets seldom go hand-in-hand, choosing the right combination of nutritious ingredients can allow for guilt-free indulgences that shirks conventional dieting wisdom.

This recipe from Joel Marion’s book, “Always Eat After 7 PM” can satisfy that sweet tooth and is fun to make. Learn more about the diet and book at joelmarion.com.

No Bake Salted Caramel Bars   

Servings: 30

Cookie Layer:

            2 1/2    cups raw pecans

            8          pitted dates, soaked in hot water 10 minutes then drained

            2          tablespoons blanched almond flour

            1          teaspoon coconut flour

            1/4      teaspoon sea salt

            1/4      cup granular zero-calorie, natural sweetener

            3         tablespoons coconut oil, melted

Caramel Layer:

            1/2      cup coconut palm sugar

            1/2      cup granular zero-calorie, natural sweetener

            2          tablespoons full-fat coconut milk

            2          tablespoons coconut oil

            1          pinch sea salt

            1          tablespoon vanilla extract

            1/2      teaspoon baking soda

Chocolate Layer:

            2          cups stevia-sweetened chocolate chips

            2          tablespoons coconut oil

                        coconut oil

            1/3      cup dry roasted macadamia nuts, chopped

                        coarse sea salt

Cookie Layer: Toast pecans in large skillet--medium high heat; stirring often, 8-10 minutes until golden. Remove from heat. Chop until fine in food processor. Add dates, almond flour, coconut flour, sea salt, sweetener and coconut oil; pulse until dough forms.

Caramel Layer: In skillet--medium heat, combine coconut palm sugar, sweetener, coconut milk, coconut oil, sea salt and vanilla extract; bring to boil, then decrease to low and cook 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat; whisk in baking soda. Return pan to low heat and cook 2 minutes, stirring often. Remove caramel from heat and let cool 5 minutes.

Chocolate Layer: In double boiler, melt chocolate chips and coconut oil. Stir until mixture is smooth; remove from heat.

To assemble: Line bottom & sides of 9x9 baking pan with parchment paper, leaving some hanging over sides. Lightly rub parchment paper with coconut oil. Press cookie dough into bottom of pan to create even layer. Place in freezer 5 minutes to harden.

Pour caramel over cookie layer; spread to coat evenly. Place in freezer 5 minutes. Pour chocolate over caramel and spread to cover evenly. Sprinkle with macadamia nuts and coarse salt. Place in freezer 10 minutes until chocolate sets.

Use overhanging parchment paper to ease set mixture out of pan. Transfer to cutting board and slice into bite-size bars.

Nutritional information per serving: 180 calories; 15 g fat; 15 g carbohydrates; 56 mg sodium; 4 g fiber; 2 g protein; 4 g sugar.

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