This is the ramblings of a self-described “gourmet girl” that loves to cook and eat good food. I love creating and sharing recipes, sharing new food finds, talking about and photographing “beautiful food”. In July 2012, I eliminated wheat, grains and added sugar from my diet and have rediscovered real, whole fresh foods again. Join me in my journey. Enjoy and welcome to my blog!
Saturday, March 9, 2013
Absolutely Magical Cookie Bars
Today it was bright, sunny and beautiful out -- it actually made it to 61 degrees late this afternoon. Tomorrow is supposed to be 67 degrees....yay! I am so looking forward to a little warmer weather after this last brutal cold snap we had. After I ran some errands today, I came home and decided to make a grain free/no sugar added version of the Magic Cookie Bars I used to enjoy eating when I was young...and have made almost every Easter and Christmas (substituting the red & green or pastel colored M&Ms for the chocolate chips to make them festive). Today, to substitute for the chocolate chips or M&Ms of "yesteryear", I chopped up a bar of Green & Black's 70% cacao chocolate bar to use instead. Besides being good, they are so easy to make, too. Obviously, since I can't just buy a can of sweetened condensed milk any more to make them, they aren't quite as convenient to make...but it is possible to recreate a sugar and grain free version with a little time and patience. For anyone that doesn't know what Magic Bars are...they are simply a "graham cracker and melted butter crust" cookie bar layered with nuts, coconut, chocolate chips and drizzled with sweetened condensed milk and then baked and cut (after cooling) into nice oooey....goooey....chewy cookie bars. Since I don't use sugar or eat grains any more...I made my own version...I made "Absolutely Magical Cookie Bars" instead! Even though they are a little time consuming compared to the original version, I think they are worth it for a special treat. I snapped a few photos below as well as the recipe. Note that the recipe yields twice the amount of "sweetened condensed milk" needed for this recipe, but since it takes about 45 minutes to make it, I doubled the condensed milk part and made extra to use for another recipe. If you want, you can instead cut that part of the recipe in half (using only 1 can of coconut milk) or increase the crust, nuts and coconut part of the recipe and make a larger 9x13" pan of cookie bars instead of the 9x9" size pan I made. You are supposed to let them cool completely before cutting...forgive me for being a little bit impatient! :-) Enjoy!
Fresh out of the oven!
Take a closer look...
Absolutely Magical Cookie Bars
1 cup Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk (recipe below)
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut (the longer shreds)
1 (3.5 ounce) bar of 70% cacao chocolate, chopped (I used Green & Black's)
1-1/2 cups blanched almond flour
1/4 cup ground golden flax meal
1/4 cup Swerve granular sweetener (or equivalent sweetener to 1/4 cup sugar)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter, diced
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine almond flour, flax, Swerve, cinnamon, diced butter and 1 egg. Using a pastry or dough blender/cutter, cut butter and egg into flour mixture until a thick, dense dough forms. Using your hands or a rubber spatula, press dough evenly into an 8x8" or 9x9" nonstick baking pan. Bake crust at 325 degrees for 12 minutes or until very lightly browned. Remove crust and let cool about 15 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees. Layer chocolate, walnuts and coconut on top of crust and drizzle evenly with 1 cup of sweetened condensed coconut milk. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes or until lightly golden on top. Let cool completely and cut into bars.
Add coconut milk to a small heavy saucepan and stir in Swerve or sweetener of choice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. After milk comes to a boil, reduce heat to low-medium and simmer, stirring and whisking frequently for about 45 minutes until reduced almost by half. Taste for sweetness. If additional sweetness is desired, add liquid stevia drops until desired sweetness is achieved (I added about 10 drops). Makes approximately 2-1/2 cups of sweetened condensed coconut milk. Cool before using to make cookie bars. Refrigerate any unused portion.
*Note: Absolutely Magical Cookie Bars use 1 cup of Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk
Extra 1-1/2 cups of "Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk" leftover for another treat!