What’s a carmelita? Did I just make that word up? Spell check seems to think that it should capitalized, and well, spell check is probably right. But I refuse to obey the rules. That’s why all you paleo purists hate me. I color outside the lines. I make recipes that are naughty and you hate me for it. Love me, but hate me.

Anywho. I’m not gonna lie. These taste effing delicious. And this was my first experience with vanilla beans. It’s much more exciting than just looking at them in vanilla bean ice cream. These little beans are in a pods and you push them out with a knife. It kinda looks like black sand. Not that I’ve ever seen black sand, but I imagine it to look like vanilla beans. But these little black specs smell like heaven. I am refusing to wash my hands now because they smell like vanilla bean ice cream and I have a firm belief that men will ask me on a date if I smell like this daily. Who cares if I look like sh*t, I smell like a birthday cake for god sakes! Who the eff doesn’t want birthday cake?! Weirdos, that’s who.

Speaking of weirdos, I partook in a CrossFit competition over the weekend. I actually paid money to put myself through pain for an entire day, competing against others who were putting themselves through just as much pain. Now that’s weird. Suffering in numbers seems to bring happiness I guess, because I sure did have a balls ton of fun. I freaking love CrossFit events. There are so many cool people, terrible CrossFit outfits, and good food. I packed a baked sweet potato with sunbutter and it was probably the best thing I’ve ever tasted after doing a workout that made me taste blood. Gotta love those.

This event was awesome though. It’s special to me because my good friend Robby from Alpine CrossFit puts together the event, so I couldn’t say no to him, especially after doing it last year. You can read all about my experience last year right here. I talk sh*t about people a lot in that post. I apologize for my childish behavior. I was 23 back then, still had so much to learn.

Anyways, the competition was awesome. I almost reached my 1 rep max on snatch of 145lbs, but only got 140lbs. Someday I’ll break that mind barrier and get underneath the damn bar. I even screamed at the bar like an effing psycho and still didn’t get it. Self humiliation for nothing. Shame. Then, to top the day off, I did one of the hardest workouts I’ve probably ever done. It’s way up there with things that make me want to cry. Along with cellulite, acne, and the occasional idiot I date. After I finished the workout, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I couldn’t cheer the other competitors on because I couldn’t speak, or stand, or sit, or open my eyes, or breathe. Really, I couldn’t do anything but let out a childish whimper while my friend Jaelyn poured water on my head. She’s wonderful.

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Vanilla Bean Carmelitas



For the crust

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
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips


  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 8×8 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!


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.

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  1. Shiloh says:

    I seem to get hung up on Step 12. Instead of spooning the caramel mixture on to the crust, I spoon it into my mouth. That shiz is GOOD!

  2. Saundra says:

    So many of the recipes use dates. Is there an alternative? Or am I going to have to learn to like them? I can’t stand the taste of them! I really want to try some of these recipes.

    1. juli says:

      Dates are a must for this specific recipe

  3. Rachel says:

    Making this tonight for my anniversary! Question- is there a speficic reason you use canned coconut milk as opposed to a refrigerated carton? Can it be interchangeable in this recipe?

    1. juli says:

      some recipes it can be but most of the time, if i say canned coconut milk, that’s what’s needed. for this recipe, carton would be just fine

  4. Evette says:

    These turned out awesome!!! I love this recipe and I’m sure my kids will love it!!!