I’m back from traveling and I brought dessert!
In the past few weeks my fiancé and I have been to New York City for a mini-vacation, the suburbs of Illinois and my hometown of Omaha, Nebraska to spend Thanksgiving with friends and family. Each trip was filled with people we love and of course, delicious food. Before we left on our adventures I spent some time in the kitchen with the goal of creating something seasonal, delicious and simple to put together. My friends, these bars are easier than pie and even more delicious! Really.
In between our trips we hosted our friends from Chicago who happen to be gluten and dairy-free. I couldn’t resist making these bars again so they could have a taste, and of course I would have to try them one more time myself just to make sure they were really good. Shortly after taking their first bites, our friends asked if they could bring some of these treats on the plane with them at the end of their trip (a high compliment) so you know they’re that good! Crunchy, chewy, sweet and a little tart they are the perfect holiday bite and you would never know they’re grain and dairy-free.
Even though there’s plenty of unpacking and laundry to be done after our trips I would much rather be baking. Wouldn’t you? I’m sharing this recipe with the hope that you will postpone your chores with me and choose cranberries, chocolate and coconut instead. Consider this your invitation!
Cranberry Coconut Layer Bars with Dark Chocolate: Makes 16 Bars
- 1 C. almond flour
- 1/2 C. coconut flour
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 T. maple syrup
- 3 T. coconut oil, melted
- 1 C. dried cranberries (sweetened or unsweetened, I prefer unsweetened)
- 1 can (7.4oz) sweetened condensed coconut milk*
- 1 C. dairy-free dark chocolate chunks or chips (you could also use a dark chocolate bar chopped into small chunks)
- 3/4 C. shredded unsweetened coconut
Chocolate Drizzle (Optional):
- 1/4 C. dairy-free dark chocolate chunks or chips
- 1 tsp. coconut oil
*Note: Sweetened condensed coconut milk is coconut milk that has been heated until it is reduced to a thicker, creamier consistency with added sugar (cane sugar, honey or maple syrup) to sweeten it. While you can certainly make this at home on your own, I prefer to buy mine from my local Whole Foods. You can also order it online at Amazon or Thrive Market in larger quantities.
Please also note that I have not made this recipe with condensed dairy milk and cannot guarantee the results.
For the Layer Bars:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine both flours with the salt and stir to combine.
- Next, stir together the vanilla, melted coconut oil and maple syrup with a whisk or fork in a small bowl and then pour into the flour mixture. Stir until a dough forms and no lumps of flour remain.
- Pour the dough into an 8×8 square baking dish or pan that has been lightly sprayed with your cooking spray of choice ( I use coconut oil) and press it down evenly into the bottom of the pan until you’ve created an even layer of crust.
- Place the chocolate chunks on top of the dough in an even layer, pressing the chunks into the dough slightly. Repeat this process with the dried cranberries on-top of the chocolate chunks.
- Pour the can of sweetened condensed coconut milk over the crust, chocolate and cranberries and be sure to evenly distribute the liquid over the whole pan of goodness. (You want everything to be sticky and sweet, not just one side or the other.)
- Cover everything in coconut (like snow!) and place the pan into the oven on the center rack to bake for 25 minutes*.
- Remove the bars from the oven and let them cool at room temperature for 45 minutes before pouring the chocolate glaze overtop. Cut into 16 bars and serve at room temperature, or freeze for a cooler take on this delicious treat.
*Note: When the bars are done, the coconut will be slightly toasted on top and the filling in the middle will be firm rather than jiggly. Depending on your oven, this could take a little more or less time so keep an eye on the bars after the 20 minute mark.
For the Dark Chocolate Drizzle:
- In a microwave safe bowl, combine the dark chocolate chunks with the coconut oil and stir to combine.
- Microwave the mixture on high, stopping every 15 seconds to stir and make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn. Continue until the mixture is completely melted and pourable, about 30-45 seconds total depending on your microwave.
- Drizzle generously over the cooled bars, lick your fingers and enjoy!
Make these bars your priority this week and leave the laundry for the weekend. It shouldn’t take a lot of convincing…I mean, look at them!
If you try this recipe or have any comments, questions or notes please leave them below.