this post was sponsored by sprouts. thank you for supporting the partnerships that allow brewing happiness to grow and exist. xoxo.
Almost all of my recipe ideas start with a random note in my phone. I remember scrolling through my instagram feed one day and stopping on a slice of pie. I think it was a chocolate pie of some sort, but what I remember most was the SALTED OATMEAL CRUST. I quickly scribed that phrase into my phone and kept going.
Then Sprouts Farmer’s Market asked me to join in their Incredible Bulk Bin Treat Exchange – which is basically just a bunch of bloggers taking advantage of the incredible bulk bin sale at Sprouts and creating treats for each other. I was paired with Sara of The Organic Dietitian who made some delicious vegan and gluten free fruitcake bars, as well as with Sashi of Savory Spin who made some killer vegan snowball cookies. And I, of course, made these.
Decadent. Rich. Salty. Minty. Chocolate. Almond butter. Everything you want in a dessert and more. It eats like a peanut butter cup, except the bottom layer is a crispy, salty sweet oatmeal bite. The middle is filled with almond butter (feel free to sub for peanut butter if you want). The top layer is melted Sprouts Brand semi-sweet chocolate chips (which are VEGAN!) mixed with a touch of peppermint extract. The final result is a bite unlike anything else.
Prepare your mouth.
Mint Chocolate Almond Butter Cups with Salted Oatmeal Crust
These (vegan) Mint Chocolate Almond Butter Cups with Salted Oatmeal Crusts are a totally decadent - yet healthy - holiday dessert option everyone will love!
- 10 medjool dates, pitted
- 1 cup Sprouts Brand quick cook oats
- 1 cup puffed rice cereal
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan pink sea salt
- 6 tablespoons Sprouts Brand almond butter
- 2 cups Sprouts Brand semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
- flaky sea salt, for garnish
In the bowl of a blender or food processor, add your pitted dates and pulse until they are a sticky paste and there are hardly any clumps left.
Add in your salt and quick cook oats to the blender or food processor and pulse a few more times, just until the oats are incorporated with the dates.
Spoon this mixture into a large bowl along with the puffed rice cereal. Use your hands to mix the salty oat-date paste in with the puffed rice. Massage until combined.
Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Evenly divide your salted oatmeal mixture into each cupcake liner and use the back of a spoon (coated with flour) or your hands to push the mixture down evenly. You want to create a firm crust for the bottom. Do this until all are evenly set.
Add ½ tbsp almond butter to the center of each “crust.”
Melt your semi-sweet chocolate chips until smooth, and mix in your peppermint extract.
Evenly pour a heaping spoonful of chocolate over each crust, making sure it covers the almond butter completely.
Tap your muffin tin on the counter to make sure the tops are flat. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt.
Allow to chill in the refrigerator or freezer for 30 minutes before serving. Serve at room temperature.
There’s a million and one things to do this holiday season. Buy that. Bake that. Email that person. Email that other person. Finish that deadline. Write that card. Host that dinner. Etc.
I for one am feeling a bit stretched thin. Asking much of myself and, honestly, feeling like I’m falling short much of the time. There is a magic to this time of the year and there is an exhaustion. My bones feel both.
So in the midst of the celebrations during this time of year, know that there will inevitably be failures. You might burn the casserole. You might forget a deadline. You might send an email to a wrong person. You might feel so overwhelmed you could cry.
I am here to remind you (and me) to give yourself a break. Everyone is working very hard to make it through this season with grace. Everyone is looking forward to their days off of work. Nearly everyone will slip and fall a little.
So you must be kind.
You must be kind.
I’m convinced that this is why we pack this season full of treat exchanges and Mint Chocolate Almond Butter Cups with Salted Oatmeal Crust. We all need some extra kindness (and probably chocolate) around this season.
So if you’ve been feeling that tinge of crazy or if you’ve been behind on projects or if you forgot to bring cookies to the bake sale – you are not alone. We are all in this season together. We’re all on the same roads – so be nice. We’re all on the buses and trains and planes together – so be extra nice.
Take some deep breaths and remember that this season means something different to each and every one of us. Some may have lost a loved one and they’re allowed to hate the holidays. Some may live for this time of year – soaking in all the friends and family and lights they can. Some might hate Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You.” AND THAT’S OKAY. We need all of those kinds of people in this world.
We need you in this world. Especially now.
So heap on some extra forgiveness for yourself – accept that you will probably fall short – and then make yourself some chocolate almond butter cups. (They make everything better.)