Raw Cinnamon Roll Bars with Tahini Date ‘Caramel’ Drizzle (Vegan, Paleo)

So, I suppose we all have a story or two about indulging in the health blasphemy that is the Cinnabon.


I was an avid mall-goer as a teen and with that came the frequent stops at fine eateries like Sbarro’s, Orange Julius, Chick-fil-A, and, yes, Cinnabon.

Even at a young age, I realized Cinnabon’s degeneracy and ate it sparingly compared to Sbarro’s.


Now older and wiser, I’ve created healthy alternatives for just about every adolescent craving, with the exception of Chick-fil-A, and am today bringing you another variation of the indulgent cinnamon pastry.


I think the idea for these treats started with my No-Bake Cinnamon Oatmeal Truffles and just progressed from there. I love layered raw desserts and am always thinking of new flavors and ways to pair things. Add in my eternal love for cinnamon and cinnamon rolls and these creamy, delicious bars were born!

Raw Cinnamon Roll Bars with 'Caramel' Drizzle (Vegan, Paleo)
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 9 bars
  • ½ c. walnuts (you could really use any nut or seed that agrees with you)
  • ½ c. oats (use another ½ cup of nuts or seeds if grain-free or paleo)
  • 8 large, soft dates (I use Medjool)
  • ¼ t. sea salt
  • ¼ t. cinnamon
  • 1-2 T. water
  • 6 T. coconut butter
  • 4 T. coconut oil, melted
  • 2 T. maple syrup
  • pinch sea salt
  • ¼ t. cinnamon
  • 8 large, soft dates (I used Medjool)
  • 8-10 T. water
  • 1 t. tahini
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • pinch sea salt
  1. For the base (bottom layer), process the nuts/seeds and oats (if using) together until they form a meal.
  2. Remove the mix and add in the dates.
  3. Process the dates until they break down and form a ball of paste.
  4. Add back the nut mix, salt, and cinnamon and process until well combined.
  5. Add water as needed just to bring everything together (you don't want to add so much that the mix is sticky).
  6. Press the mixture into a small, glass baking dish (I used a 7 x 5 inch Pyrex dish).
  7. Set in the refrigerator to set while you make the other layers.
  8. For the 'icing' layer, heat the coconut butter and oil over low heat just until melted.
  9. Add in the maple syrup, salt, and cinnamon, stirring until smooth and well combined.
  10. Pour the mixture over the base and place back into the refrigerator to firm.
  11. For the 'caramel', add the dates to your clean food processor.
  12. Process the dates until they form a ball of paste.
  13. Add in the water just until the mix is smooth, but still thick enough to pipe onto the bars.
  14. Add in the tahini, vanilla, and a pinch or two of sea salt or fleur de sel (a fine sea salt that pairs well with desserts).
  15. Process until smooth.
  16. Using a knife (or see tip below), pipe or spread the caramel onto the top of the firm icing layer (be sure it's firm!). You can also cut the bars first and then top them with the caramel.
  17. Enjoy!
Nutrition facts are based on using walnuts, oats, and one half of the 'caramel' ingredients. Weight Watchers points (new system): 4
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/9 of recipe Calories: 158 Fat: 10.6 g Saturated fat: 5.5 g Unsaturated fat: 5.1 g Trans fat: 0 g Carbohydrates: 15.3 Sugar: 9.8 g Sodium: 107 mg Fiber: 1.9 g Protein: 2.6 g Cholesterol: 0 mg

Though the ‘caramel’ part of this recipe makes about 1-1 1/2 cups, the nutrition facts are only based on using half of that, as you will not need it all.

For the remaining caramel, I was dipping apple slices and even a spoon into the mix (it’s so good!). That little bit of tahini really wakes up the dates, giving it a truly decadent taste.


I also have to let you in on a cool little trick I discovered while making these. Have you ever seen one of these?


This is the syringe that comes with a drug store infant aspirin, and it made the perfect tool for piping the caramel onto the bars…in case any of you want to get fancier than a knife. :-)


This recipe turned out so much better than I had hoped for, and I hope you all get a chance to try it!

What do you remember eating as a teenager?


FYI: I’m instilling a new comment policy here. Previously, as long as it wasn’t spam, I let every comment through no matter how rude or irrelevant. After receiving some rather cruel and unnecessary comments on last Monday’s post (which I’ve since removed), I will now be deleting anyone who finds it necessary to be uncivil or overly critical for no reason.

I genuinely appreciate and love reading your comments, even if it happens to be that a recipe didn’t work out for you, but I’m not interested in indignant arrogance, being some unhappy human’s punching bag, personal opinions on how I’m raising my kids or the like.

Thank you all for your understanding.

Shared with: Raw Foods Thursday




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Comments: 26

  1. Gabby @ the veggie nook February 24, 2014 at 6:01 am Reply

    It never fails to amaze me how on the same wavelength we can be sometimes. I JUST posted my recipe for a raw vegan caramel this morning. We are clearly way too awesome ;)

    These look delicious! I cannot wait to make them!
    Gabby @ the veggie nook recently posted..building up to the big one: raw vegan caramelMy Profile

    • Lauren February 24, 2014 at 7:43 am Reply

      Haha! Yes, lets blame it on our awesomeness. :-D

  2. Heather February 24, 2014 at 6:35 am Reply

    I always look forward to your posts. Thank you. I cannot wait to try this one!! And again thank you for being so inspiring :-)

    • Lauren February 24, 2014 at 7:42 am Reply

      Aw, thank you so much Heather. It’s encouraging to read that. :) I hope you enjoy the bars if you try them!

  3. Mike @TheIronYou February 24, 2014 at 8:19 am Reply

    I so want to try the Tahini Date ‘Caramel’ Drizzle, sounds really amazing. Using the syringe as a piping tool is a pretty smart move Lauren.
    Kudos for coming up with such a brilliant idea!
    Mike @TheIronYou recently posted..Orange Thyme Pork KebabsMy Profile

    • Lauren February 24, 2014 at 12:00 pm Reply

      Haha, why thank you sir! :-)

  4. Marianne February 24, 2014 at 9:33 am Reply

    Beautiful! Ingenious as always ♥

  5. Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl February 24, 2014 at 10:48 am Reply

    You do not even want to know all of the junk I ate as a teenager!! Yikes! These look like they could be pretty addicting and I love your syringe trick…. thanks for sharing!
    Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl recently posted..Santa Fe Zucchini BoatsMy Profile

  6. Tammy February 24, 2014 at 10:48 am Reply

    Oh my goodness, these look yum-azing! What is tahini and would it be at Trader Joe’s/Whole Foods? Though I didn’t see the comments for your last recipe post, sorry to hear about that. I also look forward to your posts throughout the week and I can’t believe ppl would make comments on your parenting and your kids. From the few pics you’ve posted, your whole family looks very happy and close, and that’s all that matters.

    • Lauren February 24, 2014 at 11:59 am Reply

      Thanks so much Tammy! I think some people just think it’s their job to tell everyone else how to live their life. Not my kind of person. :-/

  7. Mary Frances February 24, 2014 at 4:27 pm Reply

    Now, I’m not strict with any diet (except dairy free) but I really can’t stand Cinnabun. I don’t know, I just never have, even though I did (and still do) love Sbarro :) These bars look amazing! I can never get enough cinnamon – or dates!
    Mary Frances recently posted..How to Make the Best Homemade Fudge Energy Bars (gluten, dairy, and cocount free)My Profile

  8. Dana @ Spark Wellness Solutions February 24, 2014 at 6:05 pm Reply

    Hi Lauren! You are awesome, and your recipes are amazing! Many of them have become staples in my house, and I recommend my clients and friends to your site all the time…actually you are listed as a favorite blog on my site :) I just made the “Crazy Good Chocolate Chip Cookies” today–amazing!

    I didn’t see the mean comments either, but there just people who like to put their unsolicited two cents from behind the anonymity of a keyboard. I guess they never learned that if you can’t say anything nice, or at least constructive, don’t say anything at all.

    I worked at the mall in high school which gave me some discounts, namely to my favorite place, Cinnabon. Nobody would believe me but I now used to get TWO of them every time, shaking my head right now. Sbarro was my other favorite :) Can’t wait to try these bars!
    Dana @ Spark Wellness Solutions recently posted..Guilt Free Amazingly Easy Alfredo SauceMy Profile

    • Lauren February 24, 2014 at 6:10 pm Reply

      Hi Dana!

      Thanks so much for your sweet comment! I’m flattered to be listed among your favorites. :-D

      Yes, I think it’s very easy for people to hide behind their computers. It’s really sad that some people can be so mean and judgmental.

      I hope you enjoy the bars if you try them, and thanks again for your nice message! :-)

  9. Dana @ Spark Wellness Solutions February 24, 2014 at 6:09 pm Reply

    Oops, also forgot to add that there is a name for these types of people, but it probably wouldn’t be nice to say online ;)

    I like the syringe trick. I usually use a sandwich bag with the corner snipped to drizzle icing, but the syringe is a bit more eco friendly!
    Dana @ Spark Wellness Solutions recently posted..Guilt Free Amazingly Easy Alfredo SauceMy Profile

  10. janet @ the taste space February 25, 2014 at 4:05 pm Reply

    Oh yum, these look so decadent. I really like cinnamon too and I am intrigued by your tahini caramel. Also, great tip on the syringe for piping. :)
    janet @ the taste space recently posted..Käsekrainer (Cheese-Stuffed Sausage) & High Protein Vegan Cookbook GiveawayMy Profile

    • Lauren February 25, 2014 at 4:29 pm Reply

      Thanks Janet! That caramel is really delicious. I’m imagining other ways of using it just so I can make it again. :-D

  11. Heather @Gluten-Free Cat February 27, 2014 at 8:38 am Reply

    Deeeeelicious! I’m sure they taste way better than Cinnabon too! My unhealthy pleasure as a teen was Cool Ranch Dorito Chips. That just sounds so disgusting right now!
    Heather @Gluten-Free Cat recently posted..Raw Foods Thursdays: 2/27/14My Profile

  12. Allison @ Clean Wellness March 1, 2014 at 4:59 am Reply

    Okay, I’ve actually never had a cinnabon… but I always smell them in the mall! My sister has had Celiac disease for a longgg time, so when I was a teen and we were at the mall together, I never got anything she couldn’t have lol.

    I LOVE cinnamon treats though. I always prefer spicy sweets over chocolate. I need to make these! Your dessert recipes are always great for a little healthy sweet hit after a meal. Yum!
    Allison @ Clean Wellness recently posted..Classic Baked Falafel (Gluten-Free, Vegan)My Profile

    • Lauren March 1, 2014 at 8:49 am Reply

      Thanks so much Allison!…and what a great sister you are! Having someone like that in my life would have been so helpful when my allergies were at their worst. I bet she really appreciates you. :)

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  15. Julie bauer May 15, 2014 at 2:56 pm Reply

    I made these today and they are awesome.

    • Lauren May 15, 2014 at 3:31 pm Reply

      That’s great Julie, thanks for letting me know! :)

  16. Julie July 27, 2014 at 8:38 am Reply

    Last night, I had a dinner party with 4 of my girlfriends. Collectively, we are a food sensitivity nightmare….garlic, gluten, sugar, 90% paleo, so I was looking for a delicious dessert to make, and realized that I had pinned this on my paleo pinterest board some time ago. I make a lot of PaleOMG desserts and they are always a hit, so I was excited to try something new (even though Julie’s recipes always thrill!!!). I can’t tell you how well these went over! Lots of oohs and aahs and finger licking and “oh my gosh”‘s. I can’t wait to have another occasion to make these. Truly one of the best recipes I have found!

    • Lauren July 27, 2014 at 8:55 am Reply

      Thanks so much, Julie! This is pretty much the best comment I’ve ever woken up to. :-) I’m so happy you and your friends all enjoyed them!

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