One of my all time favorite desserts from childhood is a good old fashioned Magic Cookie Bar. You know, the kind made with lots of butter, condensed milk, chocolate chips, butterscotch, and coconut. The kind that is so amazing to eat, but then leaves you feeling like you just swallowed a brick – ha!!
Not anymore, my friends. I have a lightened up version for you, that also happens to be paleo-friendly and gluten-free. It’s also super easy to make, and even easier to eat the entire tray in a single serving. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
What you need to make these Paleo Magic Cookie Bars
To make these bars, you need the following ingredients. I have listed out the possible substitutions, but please note that if you deviate from the original recipe too much, then they might not turn out perfectly. And when in doubt, just send me a message on Instagram, it’s the quickest way to get in touch with me!
Almond flour: I have only tested this recipe with almond flour, and don’t think any other flour would work in it’s place.
Almond butter: When I initially created this recipe, I used coconut butter. It turns out that many of you don’t have coconut butter on hand all the time; so I retested the recipe and discovered that almond butter makes the perfect substitute. You can feel free to use any nut butter or even sunflower seed butter.
Coconut oil: Coconut oil is the best oil for this recipe.
Cinnamon: Cinnamon is essential for the best flavor!
Chocolate chips: I use dairy-free chocolate chips in this recipe.
Shredded coconut: When purchasing shredded coconut, buy unsweetened; there is enough sweetness happening in this recipe, the extra sugar would be overkill.
Sliced almonds: Part of what makes perfect magic bars is all the crunch! Sliced almonds are absolutely perfect for that!
Pecans: Pecans are optional, but I highly recommend using them!
Coconut cream: Be sure to buy a can of coconut cream. Coconut cream is the thick part at the top of a can of coconut milk. If you can’t find it, you can use full-fat coconut milk instead, just be sure to use mostly the thick, coconut cream part from the top. What ever you do, do not use light coconut milk, as it’s simply too watery.
Honey: My favorite sweetener in this recipe is honey, but you can substitute for maple syrup, if desired.
How to ensure that your bars turn out perfect
My number one tip for this recipe, is simply to follow the instructions.
Prepare the base layer, by mixing together the almond flour, almond butter, coconut oil, cinnamon, and salt. The dough might be crumbly, but that’s ok. Then, transfer the mixture to a parchment-lined baking dish, pressing the dough down as evenly as possible.
The next step is to make the caramel sauce, by whisking together the coconut cream, honey, and vanilla extract, over allowing it to simmer on the stove for 20 minutes to thicken. Then allow it to completely cool.
While the sauce is simmering, turn on the oven to 350 F. Then, layer the chocolate chips, pecans and almonds over the shortbread layer.
Once the sauce has cooled, pour it over the shortbread layer, and use a spatula to press down the toppings into the dough.
Sprinkle some extra chocolate chips and shredded coconut on top, then bake for 25 minutes.
This next step is important: if you want the bars to hold together well, they must go in the refrigerator for a few hours, to completely cool down and harden up. I know that waiting is hard (I am the most impatient person ever), but I do believe it’s worth it.
Once the bars have set, slice into 12 squares. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
If you make this recipe, be sure to leave a comment below and let me know what you think. And of course, tag me in your creations on Instagram, so that I can repost! Enjoy! xx