Grain-free and “dairy-optional”
Remember Magic Cookie Bars? Those gooey clusters of graham cracker crumbs covered with milk chocolate chips, nuts, sweet coconut flakes and drenched with sweetened condensed milk. Neither do I….ha! I’ve been in major denial of this particular obsession, but no longer. Today we have Paleo-friendly, Magic Cookie Bars with no grains, no processed sugar, and no dairy (if you use coconut butter instead of pastured butter). I’m not saying these bars are “lite” by any means – plenty of richness here with dark chocolate, nuts, and coconut oils – but they are far better for you than the original cookie bar recipe.
These are a great “treat” for Halloween!
- 1/2 cup (heaping) ground almonds or almond meal
- 1/2 cup (heaping) ground walnuts
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons pastured butter or coconut butter, melted
- 6 ounces dark chocolate chips
- 3 ounces unsweetened coconut flakes, lightly pulsed in food processor
- 4 ounces coarsely chopped pecans or almonds
- 1 15.5 ounce can coconut milk (full-fat)
- 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
- 2 tablespoons coconut butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. In a heavy saucepan, heat the coconut milk and sugar over medium heat, stirring often, until coconut milk begins to boil. Lower heat to simmer and reduce by 1/3 to 1/2, stirring often to prevent the sugar from scorching. (If thicker, caramelized sugar begins to form on sides or bottom, use a whisk to reincorporate it.) When it reaches the desired consistency, in around 30 minutes, add 2 tablespoons coconut butter and vanilla. Stir well and remove from heat. You should end up with a little over a cup of caramel-colored, sweetened coconut milk.
To make the crust, melt the butter/coconut butter in an 8×8 baking dish. In a small bowl, mix together the ground almonds, ground walnuts, and cinnamon. Sprinkle nut mixture over the melted butter and stir until the butter is evenly mixed with the nuts. Using your fingers, press the mixture down in an even layer, covering the bottom of the baking dish.
Sprinkle the chocolate chips, chopped nuts, and coconut flakes evenly over the crust. Pour the sweetened coconut milk over everything. Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned.
Here’s the hard part: Do not eat it now! Allow to cool, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours so the cookie bars will set. Otherwise they will be a mess coming out of the pan – cookie crumbles are much less festive.
Cut into bars and serve! Feel decadent!
Celebration day here at SCHC, for a new Tom Waits record has arrived! His first studio record in seven years, Bad As Me is great, and full of the musical stew that only Tom can make. Featuring an all star group of musicians including Keith Richards, Flea and Marc Ribot, this is primo Waits.