So, back in October, I attended a Halloween party at a friend’s house. Loads of fun with lots of treats. A particularly unhealthy treat was served that contained caramel, chocolate, oatmeal crust, loads of butter…you get the idea. Ever since then I have been on a quest to make my own healthy version of this decadent treat. Well, shout it from the rooftops I HAVE DONE IT! These cookie bars are THE BOMB! They have the perfect oat crust, soft chocolatey/caramel center, and topped with more perfect oat crust. The best part about these cookie bars is that they are completely allergen free! They contain fiber, potassium, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients…and this is all in a delicious treat! These are not too sweet, but have a perfect balance of an oatmeal cookie flavor with caramel and chocolate. You will want to make these, guaranteed. Enjoy!
1 cup date caramel
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
3/4 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup gluten-free flour
1 1/4 cups gluten-free oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup chocolate chips (I like Enjoy Life brand)
Line a 9×9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine applesauce and coconut oil. Mix well. Add in the sugar and vanilla and mix well. Add in the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt. Mix until well combined. Pat 2/3 of oatmeal mixture into bottom of pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over crust. Pour date caramel over chocolate chips and smooth out with a spatula. The chocolate chips and date caramel will melt together like a “fudge”. Crumble the remaining oatmeal mixture over the chocolate chip/caramel layer. Return to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool completely in the pan before placing the pan in the refrigerator to get it nice and cold (about 1 hour). Remove the bars from the pan by lifting out the parchment and cutting into squares. Devour!