It’s been so long since I’ve posted! Sorry don’t be mad at me… I’m not as great at this allergen-free baking thing as my ‘normal’ baking. I have a lot more fails that aren’t worthy to post on here! Luckily we will resume our normal/ traditional recipes shortly. For anyone that was curious, or is going through a similar situation, my son did grow out of all his food allergies by his first birthday! We tested each one slowly and now he can eat everything…. and does. That is one hungry child 😉
Today though, we will explore an old favorite of mine in a (mostly) allergen-free version (it does contain nuts). My mom makes the best magic bars (some call them 7-layer bars) every Christmas. Even though she just follows the standard recipe, I’m sure they’re probably better because she makes them. It starts with a crust (graham cracker crumbs & butter usually), then you top that with chips (chocolate & butterscotch and/or peanut butter), then pecans or walnuts, sprinkled with coconut, and then you pour sweetened condensed milk over the top & bake it. They are one of my favorite bars everrr! So many delicious layers. Since I was on the allergen diet restrictions over the holidays, she did her best to make a few things I could still have, like dairy-free/ soy-free/ gluten-free Buckeyes and Peanut Butter Blossoms. I missed the Magic Bars though. And haven’t stopped thinking about them since! Umm seven months!? So after a few trial & error attempts, I made a version that is completely vegan, gluten-free and soy-free! The main point of difference in taste is definitely the crust. This is more of a shortbread cookie crust. Unfortunately the only gluten-free graham crackers I could find contained soy. Why does everything contain soy? I seriously want to know it’s purpose… Anyone know?
These were best kept chilled in the fridge, but you can leave them at room temperature if you prefer. I just found that not only did they taste better cold, but they also held up better. Since the cookie crust is made up of mostly almond & coconut flour, held together by a flax egg, they can be on the fragile side. A regular egg would probably help with this if you can use them. Then, since I couldn’t find butterscotch or peanut butter chips that were dairy & soy-free, I made a peanut butter ‘crumble’ to sub in for the chips. It’s basically the inside of a buckeye. Then I used both the Enjoy Life dark & mini chips, then topped those with shredded coconut. I made a ‘condensed milk’ from a can of full-fat coconut milk. This is the most time-consuming part for sure, but you can do it the day before if that will help. They finally satisfied my Magic Bar craving!
- CONDENSED COCONUT MILK:
- 1 (15-ounce) Can full-fat Coconut Milk
- ¼ cup Maple Syrup
- PEANUT BUTTER CRUMBLE:
- ½ cup Peanut Butter
- 3 Tablespoons Earth Balance Soy-free Butter (Sticks)
- 1 cup Powdered Sugar
- ½ cup Almond Flour
- ½ cup Coconut Flour
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Baking Soda
- ⅓ cup Melted Coconut Oil
- ¼ cup Brown Sugar, packed
- 1 Flax Egg (or regular Egg)
- 2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
- ½ cup Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips
- ½ cup Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Chips
- ½ cup Chopped Pecans
- ½ cup Shredded Coconut
- CONDENSED COCONUT MILK:
- Add the coconut milk and syrup into a medium-sized saucepan, over medium heat. Continuously whisk the mixture until it comes up to a boil. Once it has a rolling boil, reduce it to a light simmer and cook for about 1 hour and 15 minutes until it reduces and thickens.
- Whisk every 10 to 15 minutes so a film does not develop on top. The milk should reduce by about half and thicken up a bit. (You can make the milk the day before the bars - the milk will thicken up even more in the fridge).
- PEANUT BUTTER CRUMBLE:
- In a medium microwave-safe bowl, add the peanut butter and non-dairy butter. Microwave for about 20 seconds on 50% power. Stir mixture. Add a few more seconds until it's warm and melty. Stir in the powdered sugar gradually until fully combined. Stick this mixture in the fridge to stiffen up while you bake the crust.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9" x 13" baking dish with nonstick spray and/or line with parchment paper & set aside. (You could also use melted coconut oil to keep it soy-free).
- Prepare your flax egg, and let it sit for 5 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- In medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flours, salt and baking soda. Add the melted coconut oil and brown sugar, mix until combined. Then add in flax egg and vanilla extract, mix until combined.
- Transfer the mixture into the prepared dish, pressing into the bottom of the dish to form the crust. Bake for about 10 minutes. You want it to be just barely cooked through, but not crisp since it will bake some more.
- Once it's done, carefully remove the pan and top it with Peanut Butter Crumble in small pieces sprinkled evenly over the crust.
- On top of the Peanut Butter Crumble, sprinkle both chips, nuts and coconut across the top as evenly as you can.
- Pour the condensed coconut milk over the top. Bake the entire thing for another 25 minutes or until lightly browned at the edges. Allow it to cool to room temperature, then cut into bars.
*Peanut Butter or Butterscotch Chips can be used instead of the Peanut Butter Crumble (for those without soy or dairy allergies)
*Store in an airtight container either at room temperature (or in the refrigerator)
*Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk adapted from How Sweet Eats