Merry Christmas! This is going to be a very short post because I’m actually taking a yoga class in about an hour. Yes, I’m working out on Christmas. First time ever! I wanted to share a recipe that I made for dessert last night. You may (or may not) remember the classic magic bar recipe that has been around for years. It’s made with a graham crust, then layered with shredded coconut, nuts, chocolate chips then drizzled with sweetened condensed milk. It’s one of the best things on the planet but it also has gluten which I try to avoid as much as possible. I wanted to find a gluten-free, “healthier” version and did a quick search and found this recipe courtesy of Brittany Mullins from Eating Bird Food. Thank you Brittany! I actually think it’s better than the original version. (Shhhh I hope my mom doesn’t hear me in heaven. She loved the original recipe and swore by it, but I think she would be very happy with this version too.)
The recipe includes sweetened condensed coconut milk that you make yourself. It’s incredibly easy to do! The crust is gluten-free and made with almonds, coconut, coconut oil, and maple syrup. The combination of everything is sweet and gooey and chocolatey all at the same time. I was so happy with the result! And it’s slightly healthier! Yay!
- ¾ cup almond flour
- ¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut (I used finely shredded)
- ⅛ cup coconut oil, liquid
- ½ tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 can (13.5 oz) full-fat coconut milk
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
- ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts or both!
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a square (8×8) glass baking dish with parchment paper. Combine all ingredients for the crust in a large bowl and press firmly into the prepared pan. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until your crust is golden brown in color. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
- While crust is baking, in a saucepan over medium heat bring coconut milk and sugar to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer for approximately 45 minutes, stirring frequently until the mixture has reduced by half. The coconut milk mixture should be thick reduced to about ¾ cup. Remove from heat and cool slightly. After the crust has cooled, pour the sweetened condensed coconut milk over the crust and spread to the edges.
- Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the condensed milk, then the flaked coconut, and then the pecans. Using your hands, press the mixture down a tiny bit until the milk soaks upward into the layers.
- Place in oven at 350 and bake for about 30 minutes, until edges are browning a bit. Remove from oven and cool for 30 to 60 minutes on a cooling rack. Once the bars have cooled a bit, place the pan in the refrigerator to allow the bars to set-up for at least two hours (or overnight). If you’re in a rush you could put the bars in the freezer for an hour instead.
After cooling, lift the parchment out of the pan and place bars on a cutting board or other flat surface. If the bars are coming from the freezer, you may need to let them thaw for a few minutes before cutting as they will be pretty firm. Cut bars into bars and enjoy!
I hope you have a very Merry Christmas filled with peace, love and happiness.