You Only Live Once

YOLOs Are a Tasty Treat

Article by Kyle Keene, Project Play Therapy LLC

Photography by Sarah Keene, Project Play Therapy LLC

Originally published in Franklin Lifestyle

As a parent, it is always a struggle to find “healthy” alternatives to satisfy a child’s sweet tooth. Temptation is everywhere. This recipe for YOLOs curbs that sweet craving, sneaks in some fruit and exercises portion control. 

The original recipe is from The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon and can be adapted based on your taste. You can add a little sea salt for a salty caramel taste and texture. These little guys are good straight from the freezer or at room temperature. 

Remember that the more kids are exposed to fruits and vegetables, the more likely they are to eat them. Use fruit and vegetables in play, involve kids in meal prep, and serve meals family-style while parents model healthy habits.


Prep time: 25 minutes  Chill time: 40 minutes  Servings: 20 


For the caramel:

  • 1 cup pitted soft Medjool dates
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons peanut butter (or other nut or seed butter) 
  • Pinch of fine-grain sea salt

For the chocolate coating:

  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
  • Flaked sea salt or chia seeds (optional) 


For the caramel:

Process the pitted dates in a food processor until a sticky paste forms. Add in the peanut butter and salt. The mixture will be very sticky, but that's what we want! Scoop the sticky mixture into a bowl and freeze, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Line a plate with parchment paper. Lightly wet your fingers and shape the chilled caramel into small balls. Set the balls on the parchment paper. Place the finished balls in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up. 

For the chocolate coating:

In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate chips and oil over very low heat. When two-thirds of the chips have melted, remove the pan from the heat and stir until smooth. Remove the caramel balls from the freezer and dunk each ball into the melted chocolate, one at a time. Roll them around with a fork to coat. Set the balls back on the lined plate. If desired, stick a toothpick in the top of each ball and sprinkle the balls with a tiny amount of flaked sea salt or chia seeds. Freeze the balls for at least 20 minutes, or until the chocolate is set. YOLOs taste best straight from the freezer and will soften at room temperature. 

For a nut-free option, use sunflower seed butter instead of nut butter. For a soy-free option, use soy-free non-dairy chocolate. 

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