For this month's Leftovers Club, our theme was chocolate! Now, don't get me wrong, chocolate has to be one of my all-time favorite things in life, but coming up with a dairy-free chocolate recipe for my partner, Ginger from Stark Raving Delicious, was a little challenging. Plus chocolate can be hard to mail in the Summer!
I knew I wanted to make some type of cookie bar, easy to make, easy to ship, easy-peasy, right? And what cookie bar is more classic than the iconic Magic Cookie Bar? The challenge was making a dairy free version. Everyone knows that one of the main ingredients in Magic Cookie Bars is sweetened condensed milk. It's the "magic" that holds all of the ingredients together and creates the cohesive bar.
So how to make dairy-free sweetened condensed milk? Well, it turned out to be easier than I thought. Just use dairy free milk! I cooked almond milk and sugar until it was reduced down to a syrup like consistency. Done deal!
One of the other issues with Magic Cookie Bars that I wanted to address was that they can often be too sweet. To remedy that, I used dark chocolate (dairy free of course), coconut for texture, pecans for crunch, dried cherries for tartness and Maria Cookies, which aren't too sweet, for the crust. Sounded like the perfect balance to me!
I hope Ginger and her family enjoys my custom version of "Magic" Cookie Bars!
Ginger wins hands down for cutest packaging. Check out what she sent to me and get the recipe on her blog.
.....if you're interested in swapping homemade baked goods with a great bunch for fellow bloggers, why not join The Leftover's Club! Sign up on Food Ramblings
Dark Chocolate, Cherry & Pecan Magic Cookie Bars
Makes 12 bars
3 cups Almond Milk
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 package of Maria Cookies (approx. 2 1/2 cups) or sub graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup melted Earth Balance
2 cups Dairy Free Dark Chocolate Chips
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 1/4 cups toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dried cherries coarsely chopped
Create the sweetened condensed milk
Place the almond milk and granulated sugar in a saucepan. Cook or medium heat stirring constantly until the liquid is reduced to 3/4 cup and is a syrup like consistency. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temp.
Line a 9"x9" baking pan with nonstick foil or line with regular foil sprayed with nonstick spray.
When the sweetened condensed almond milk is cool, preheat the oven to 350f
Make the crust
Place the Maria Cookies in a food processer and process until crumbs. Place the cookie crumbs in a bowl, drizzle the melted Earth Balance over the crumbs and combine with a fork. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan.
Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the crust. Then sprinkle the coconut over the chocolate chips.
Pour the sweetened condensed almond milk over the coconut/chocolate.
Sprinkle the pecans and chopped cherries on top.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until mixture is set and crust is golden brown.
Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before removing from the pan and cutting into bars.
Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.