Vanilla Bean Carmelitas
 
Ingredients
For the crust
  • 1 cup almond butter
  • ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
For the topping
  • 12 dates, soaked in water for 30 minutes, pits removed
  • 5 tablespoons canned coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 vanilla bean pod, cut in half lengthwise, seeds scraped out with a knife
  • 1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
  • ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place dates in a bowl of water to soak and soften. Just enough water so it covers the dates.
  3. While your dates soak, mix together your crust ingredients in a large bowl. Then place your crust ingredients in a glass 8x8 baking dish and press down until you get an even surface throughout.
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until your crust has a crust to it and is cooked through inside.
  5. While the crust is baking, add your caramel ingredients to a food processor to become, well, caramel. Add your soaked and pitted dates (without the water) in a food processor and pulse until dates have broken down (less than a minute).
  6. Then add your coconut milk tablespoon by tablespoon to the dates while the food processor is still running. Then add your water as well.
  7. Now add your vanilla extract, cinnamon, vanilla beans, and pinch of salt and mix together. The longer you let the food processor do it's magic, the more creamy the caramel will become.
  8. Once the caramel is done in the food processor, use a spoon to scoop it out and place in a bowl.
  9. Now add your cashews to the food processor and pulse down until you have smaller chunks. Then add your shredded coconut, honey, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt and pulse down once more.
  10. Once everything has begun to combine, use a spoon to scoop out of the food processor, place in the bowl with your caramel and mix together.
  11. When your crust is done cooking, remove from oven and place your dark chocolate chips on top.
  12. Then use a spoon to scoop out your caramel mixture and place on top of your chocolate covered crust.
  13. Place back in the oven and bake for 4-6 minutes until everything is warm. Be sure not to burn the topping. It could happen, I just know it.
  14. Cut and serve!
Notes
My bars look extra tall because I made this batch in a bread loaf pan. If you want extra tall guys, you could do that too. It just became too intense to consume.
Recipe by PaleOMG - Paleo Recipes at http://paleomg.com/vanilla-bean-carmelitas/