Tahini-Date Caramels with Chocolate-Almond Crumble

When you think of treating yourself, what comes to mind? 

Perhaps something sweet and delicious, followed by a cringe of guilt? Why are "treats" so often synonymous with "bad" or "cheat" foods?

At Zest, we talk a lot about treating ourselves. Celebrating the small victories in life is an essential part of healthy, full-hearted living. As one of my favorite happiness heroes, Gretchen Rubin, author of Better Than Before said,

When we give more to ourselves, we can ask more from ourselves.


From the Zest perspective, "treat" is not another way of saying "cheat-day" or "it's a holiday, so today doesn't count." They absolutely have to taste good but, just as importantly, treats should make you feel good! 

For me, no matter how delectable the taste, eating something that I know will make me feel ashamed, gross or like I do not have permission to adequately nourish myself the next day, is not a treat! It's just not actually fun if it's laden with next-day regret. 

When you know something is good for your body, then your mind says "woo hoo!" The weight lifts and you feel energized by eating. Zest treats are specially designed to satisfy that sweet tooth while simultaneously inspiring nurture and care for your body. 

Such as these Tahini-Date Caramel Bars, topped with a dark chocolate-almond crumble pictured below, along with another Zest Recipe, Coconut Coffee Cake. With 5 ingredients, they only take ~5 minutes to make and are a hit among tahini-lovers, as well as among the more tahini-wary crowd.

Ingredients & Preparation:

  • 2 cups dates, pitted
  • 1 cup tahini
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dark-chocolate covered almonds (I used these from Trader Joe's), coarsely chopped

Mix everything except the chocolate almonds in a food processor until mostly uniform and sticky. Pack the dough into a rectangle or square dish and smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle the top with the chocolate almond crumble and press lightly into the dough. Freeze for 30 minutes, then cut into squares and serve. They keep well in the fridge or freezer and definitely taste best when cold.   


Why does "treat" even have to mean eating?! If in need of comfort or a gesture of celebration, why not draw a hot bath, take a nap or treat yourself to some new glam?! 

Last week, Zest hosted a Stella & Dot Trunk Show. It was such a blast! HUGE thank you to the lovely Felicia Rosenthal for bringing together such a fun group, for the excuse to make scrumptious holiday treats and for accenting my wardrobe with those I-probably-could-have-lived-without-but-thank-god-I-don't-have-to sparkles.

Here are a few of my top picks:


Share your favorite way to treat yourself by leaving a comment. We love hearing from  you!

Wishing you all a happy, healthy and glittery holidays!