Healthier Sweet Treats: Chocolate-Covered Oatmeal, Date, and Almond Butter Squares
As someone who loves to cook, I enjoy experimenting in the kitchen. Whether I’m creating something entirely new or giving a healthy twist to existing recipes, it’s all about making delicious and nutritious meals. My goal is to keep things simple, focusing on quality ingredients like organic and locally sourced produce whenever possible.
Today, I want to share a recipe for Chocolate-Covered Oatmeal, Date, and Almond Butter Squares. It’s a tasty snack or dessert that’s a healthier alternative to many store-bought treats.
Here are some creative options for this recipe:
- You can still roll the mixture into balls and dip them in chocolate.
- Use a smaller pan for thicker layers.
- If you’re a chocolate lover, double up on the chocolate layer ingredients for extra indulgence.
- Once you’ve blended the base ingredients, feel free to add your favorite extras like raspberries, chia seeds, or chopped nuts.
- Don’t forget to add a finishing touch, whether it’s a pinch of sea salt or some delicate rose petals – let your creativity shine.
Now, let’s talk about preparation. I’ve learned the importance of having all your ingredients ready before you start cooking. It makes the process smoother and less chaotic. For this recipe, begin by checking and halving the dates to ensure there are no hidden pits. Even if the package claims ‘pitted dates,’ it’s a good practice. Afterward, let them soak while you gather the rest of your ingredients. When everything’s ready, you’ll be set for the next step.
In the image above, you’ll notice the topping ingredients on the right and the base ingredients on the left. I went with almond butter in this recipe, but you can choose any nut or seed butter with a similar consistency – whether it’s creamy cashew, rich peanut, or sunflower seed butter.
Now, let’s talk about salt. I happen to enjoy a touch of saltiness in my dishes, but if you prefer a milder flavor, feel free to skip the additional pinch of salt, especially if your chosen butter is already salted.
Next, gather all those base ingredients and toss them into your food processor. Give them a good whirl until the mixture reaches a consistency ready to be shaped into treats.
Next, prepare your pan by lining it with parchment paper, ensuring the paper hangs over the sides for easy handling. I used a 7×9-inch pan for this, but don’t fret if you have a different size on hand. With the excess parchment paper, simply fold it over the mixture, then use your fingers, the base of a measuring cup, or even a jar to press and smooth it out. Anything that gets the job done!
Once the base layer is smooth, it’s time to melt the coconut oil (or cacao butter if you prefer). You don’t need a fancy setup; a makeshift double boiler works just fine. I prefer using a Pyrex glass bowl or measuring cup suspended over a pot of boiling water.
Once the coconut oil or cacao butter has melted, take it off the heat and stir in the cacao powder and pure maple syrup. If you desire a thicker topping, feel free to double the topping ingredients.
I like to let the topping cool for a bit before pouring it over the base. Start by pouring it slowly from the center and then lift the sides of the baking dish to evenly spread the chocolate. Make sure it covers the base.
Now comes the fun part – adding your choice of toppings! In this recipe, I used cacao nibs, but when I make my homemade chocolate, I get creative with all sorts of toppings.
Feel free to unleash your imagination and get creative! And don’t forget to jot down your modifications in case someone wants you to recreate your delicious creation.
Now, let’s dive into why this recipe qualifies as a kind of healthy treat. There are several reasons:
- Dates provide natural sweetness without causing blood sugar spikes.
- Oats are rich in fiber and promote gut health.
- Almond butter offers protein and healthy fats.
- Coconut oil (or cacao butter) contains beneficial medium-chain fatty acids and antioxidants.
- Pure maple syrup provides essential nutrients.
- Cacao is a potent antioxidant with numerous health benefits.
This recipe strikes a balance between indulgence and nutrition, making it a guilt-free treat for anyone with a sweet tooth. Enjoy!
Chocolate-Covered Oatmeal Date Almond Butter Squares
- Food Processor
- 8x8 or 7x9 inch Baking Dish
- Double Boiler Pan optional
- 10 Medjool Dates, pitted
- 1 cup Old-Fashioned Oats gluten-free if needed
- 1 cup Creamy Almond Butter
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 pinch Sea Salt
- 1/4 cup Melted Coconut Oil Or Cacao Butter
- 2 Tbsp Real Maple Syrup
- 1/4 cup Raw Cacao Powder
- 1 Tbsp Cacao Nibs
- Cut the dates in half to make sure there are no pits.
- Soak the dates in warm water for 5-10 minutes while you collect all the other ingredients.
- Add the drained dates, oats, almond butter, vanilla, and salt to a food processor and mix until the batter is well-combined.
- Transfer the batter to a lined baking dish and spread out in an even layer. If you leave the parchment paper a little longer on the sides, you can fold it over and smooth the batter with your hands or a flat object sliding over the folded parchment paper.
Top Chocolate Layer
- In a double boiler pan, melt the coconut butter (or cacao butter). If you don't have a double boiler, you can use a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water or a glass measuring cup (use caution when removing it, as it will be hot).
- Once melted, remove from the heat and mix in the cacao powder and maple syrup until smooth
- Pour the chocolate topping over the base layer, lifting the pan's sides and gently moving the chocolate to make an even layer.
- Sprinkle the cacao nibs over the top for an added crunch (or experiment and add whatever your heart desires).
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