Monday, November 24, 2014

Magical Cookie Bars - The REAL Deal

I made a batch of my Magical Cookie Bars to have on hand for dessert this week. These are the "real deal" beginning with a buttery crust and topped with ooey gooey Sweetened Condensed Milk, coconut, chopped walnuts and dark chocolate chips. What they don't have is the boatload of sugar, carbs and wheat found in the traditional recipe for these delicious classic bar cookies. 

I went ahead and cut them up this morning and had one as my "lunch" this afternoon. I baked them in a 9" x 9" pan and cut them into small squares. I actually made about 25 small bars. Believe it or not, without the massive sugar surge that accompanies consuming the regular version, a small bar is plenty enough for me to enjoy. If you absolutely must, 2 small bars are more than enough to satisfy. I snapped a few photos below as well as included my easy peasy recipe. These bars feature my Sweetened Condensed Milk (recipe below) made with full fat canned coconut milk and confectioners style Swerve. I always make a double batch using 2 cans of coconut milk because it doesn't take you any longer to make, and trust me, you are going to WANT to have extra leftover to make another treat or two with. Check out the photos to see all the yumminess below. Enjoy!

Absolutely Magical Cookie Bars


For the Crust:
1/4 cup ground golden flax meal
1/4 cup Swerve Sweetener (or equivalent sweetener to 1/4 cup sugar)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter, diced
1 egg

For the Topping:
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 or 1/2 cup 70% chocolate chips (or Lily's sugar free chocolate chips)


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. 

In a medium bowl, combine almond flour, flax, Swerve, cinnamon, diced butter and 1 egg. Using a pastry/dough 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 for 10-15 minutes.  

Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Layer walnuts, coconut, and chocolate chips on top of crust. Drizzle evenly with 1 cup of sweetened condensed coconut milk. Bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 22 minutes or until lightly golden on top.  Let cool completely and cut into bars.  

Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk (makes 2-1/2 cups):

2 (14-ounce) cans unsweetened coconut milk
3/4 cup Swerve granular or confectioners sweetener (or equivalent sweetener to 3/4 cup)
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Liquid stevia to taste, optional

To make the Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk, add coconut milk to a small heavy saucepan and stir in Swerve or sweetener of choice, butter and vanilla. 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 by almost half. 

If a thicker condensed milk is desired, whisk in 3 to 4 pinches of xanthum gum (1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon), at the end of reduction; heating and whisking in a little at a time until thickened (I add 3 pinches to mine). Taste for sweetness. If additional sweetness is desired, add liquid stevia until desired sweetness is achieved (I add 1 to 2 teaspoons liquid NOW Better Stevia after reduction). 

Makes approximately 2-1/2 cups of sweetened condensed coconut milk. Cool before using in recipes. Refrigerate any unused portion. 

*Note: The Magical Cookie Bar recipe only uses 1 cup of the sweetened condensed milk; refrigerate any leftover condensed milk).



Unknown said...

These look wonderful!! I am doing them for Thanksgiving. Have a question, did you add more chocolate chips on top after baking? The chips on the picture do not look melted...

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Susana,

No, I did not add any additional chips after baking the bars. They did not melt and change shape during baking and I cooled the bars completely and actually refrigerated them before cutting so the bars would cut in nice clean squares. Not sure if it is the 70% chips that didn't melt or what. I did press on a chip when taking it out of the oven to see if it was still hard and it wasn' was actually soft and melty but held its shape. I'm interested to know if yours did that too if you used the same chips. :-)

Unknown said...

These were amazing! I made them in 9*9 pan and cut up into larger squares making 9 bigger pieces. Any idea how many carbs/calories/fat this is per piece? thank you

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Nilequeen,

So happy you enjoyed them! The approximate net carbs (carbs minus fiber) is approximately 70 for the ENTIRE recipe. So, if you cut it into 9 larger pieces, each had approximately 6.5 net carbs. :-)

Alice B. said...

Hi GG, I'm going to try this recipe of yours next. Can you tell me what brand of shredded coconut you are using? I can't seem to find any that are the longer shreds.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Alice,

I have used a few different brands of unsweetened coconut. Recently I have been using Kroger brand. They make the longer shredded unsweetened coconut and I can pick it up locally. I have used Bob's Red Mill, Tropical Traditions and Sprouts Brand. If you can find it locally, that would be best and cheapest. If not, you can buy it on Amazon or other places online. I also tried a brand and can't remember the name (it was in a green bag) but it was super tiny finely shredded (more like bits). Do you have a Kroger, Sprouts or Whole Foods nearby? You can probably find it at one of those places locally. Let me know if you need me to send you a link to find it online. Hopefully you can get it at a store nearby. :-)

GIgi said...


Thanks for all the wonderful recipes! Would almond milk work to make the condensed milk?


Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Hi Gigi,

You are welcome! It might is thinner than canned coconut milk though. If you are not a fan of coconut milk, I'm wondering if unsweetened cashew milk might work better since it is thicker and has more body than almond milk does? If you decide to test either one, maybe start with a 1/2 batch so if it isn't something you like the results haven't wasted a lot of ingredients. :-)