Thank you to Nestle Toll House DelightFulls for sponsoring this post and contributing to many decades of "sweet" memories for me and my family. All opinions are always my own.
Growing up, my mom was never much of a baker and we never ate many sweets, but cookies always fell into their own category. She'd dabble with snowball cookies and an occasional mincemeat for my dad, but the crowd pleaser was always the chocolate chip cookie. There weren't nuts, berries or different spices involved. It was just Nestle Toll House straight up, and there was nothing like it. It was the best sweet treat after muscling through the green beans and fish for dinner.
Times have changed, and I think for the better. There's so many more options for cookies and desserts. There's also no longer just one Nestle chocolate chip. There's a whole line of DelightFulls flavored chips now, which is great for indecisive people like me.
I have to say, after living in Paris, I grew to love caramel. The French put salted caramel in just about everything, and I was game, but I still long for the original chocolate chip flavor. Nestle went and read my mind and created Milk Chocolate Morsels with Caramel Filling. My two favorite flavors are in one chip. There's also a peanut butter filling and the dark chocolate morsels have a choice between cherry and mint filling. Yeah, so you still have to decide which chip you want.
I've also been trying to eat healthier and dang, it's so hard at the holidays. I feel like you have to pick and choose your battles. To rid yourself of sweets is just downright cruel, but you can minimize and cut down on refined sugar and flour by using whole foods like dates and coconut like I did in this recipe. The oats and almonds are good binders and the whole mix comes together super easily and gets thrown in the freezer where the deal is sealed.
Don't worry. They won't freeze into a block. They still retain a nice consistency with a little chew when you take them out. Throw them back in the freezer after snacking, assuming you have any left that is. They may be healthier, but they're still really tasty!
Coconut Oat Bars with Chocolate Caramel Chips
Makes 30 small squares
- 2 cups raw almonds
- 3/4 cups rolled oats
- 10 raw dates
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1/3 cup Nestle Milk Chocolate Morsels with caramel or vegan chocolate chips
- Salt to taste
- Place the almonds and rolled oats in a food processor fitted with the "S" blade. Pulse into combined. Add the dates, coconut oil, vanilla and coconut and blend. When the mixture is of even consistency, add the morsels and pulse, or you can fold them in and keep them whole for nice chunks in each bite.
- Line an 8" pyrex dish with parchment paper crisscrossing on both sides. Allow enough paper to hang over so you'll be able to pull the mixture out and cover. Place the mix on the paper and press down with your hand and then cover with the parchment and use a plate to press for an even surface. Cover with foil and allow to freeze for about an hour, or overnight, before serving.
- Cut into squares when frozen and serve immediately. Return any leftovers to the freezer.