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)
- BOTTOM LAYER:
- 1/2 c. walnuts you could really use any nut or seed that agrees with you
- 1/2 c. oats use another 1/2 cup of nuts or seeds if grain-free or paleo
- 8 large soft dates (I use Medjool)
- 1/4 t. sea salt
- 1/4 t. cinnamon
- 1-2 T. water
- ICING LAYER:
- 6 T. coconut butter
- 4 T. coconut oil melted
- 2 T. maple syrup
- pinch sea salt
- 1/4 t. cinnamon
- 'CARAMEL' DRIZZLE:
- 8 large soft dates (I used Medjool)
- 8-10 T. water
- 1 t. tahini
- 1 t. vanilla
- pinch sea salt
- For the base (bottom layer), process the nuts/seeds and oats (if using) together until they form a meal.
- Remove the mix and add in the dates.
- Process the dates until they break down and form a ball of paste.
- Add back the nut mix, salt, and cinnamon and process until well combined.
- Add water as needed just to bring everything together (you don't want to add so much that the mix is sticky).
- Press the mixture into a small, glass baking dish (I used a 7 x 5 inch Pyrex dish).
- Set in the refrigerator to set while you make the other layers.
- For the 'icing' layer, heat the coconut butter and oil over low heat just until melted.
- Add in the maple syrup, salt, and cinnamon, stirring until smooth and well combined.
- Pour the mixture over the base and place back into the refrigerator to firm.
- For the 'caramel', add the dates to your clean food processor.
- Process the dates until they form a ball of paste.
- Add in the water just until the mix is smooth, but still thick enough to pipe onto the bars.
- 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).
- Process until smooth.
- 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.
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?