I’m heading to San Francisco this weekend! So all you Bay Area people better hide your tempeh and get to your favorite restaurants early, lest I eat everything. I’m planning on hitting up Millenium, Cafe Gratitude (say what you will, their tiramisu rocks yours), Cha Ya, Udupi Palace and Amici Pizza, which is apparently serving Cheezly pizzas with no extra vegan cheese charge. How swell! (I don’t think I’ve ever used “swell” in a sentence, but it’s the only thing that fit.) I hope to come home with plenty of food porn, but for now feast your eyes on another recipe from the upcoming Vegan Cookies book.
Magical Coconut Cookie Bars
makes 24 very rich little bars
As the song from Xanadu (the movie) goes…you got to believe we are magic, and nothing will stand in our (and your) way once you taste this unapologetically vegany version of the stuff childhood dreams are made of. Here are the nutty, chocolately, ultra-sweet and buttery-tasting graham-crackery coconut bars you loved so much as a kid. If your childhood was lacking in them, well then these are tastier than therapy for sure. The vegan secret weapon of choice here is cooked-down coconut milk, bringing in even bigger coconut flavor than ever imagined. The ever-elusive vegan butterscotch chip, should you ever have some, makes a sublime addition too.
These bars require a good overnight chilling to really firm them up before slicing, so plan accordingly.
Tip: You’ll want to use only sweetened, fluffy white flaked coconut for these. Save the natural shredded stuff for a healthy curry.
Tip: Press the graham cracker crumb crust like crazy into the pan; the more you pat it down the firmer the resulting crust will be.
One 14 oz can (regular or lite) coconut milk (about 1 3/4 cups)
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 cups vegan graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup melted margarine
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips or chocolate chunks
2 cups flaked, sweetened coconut
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
In a large saucepan whisk together coconut milk and brown sugar over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mixture may form a thin skin on the surface; just stir it back into the liquid. Remove from heat and let cool while preparing the crust.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, melted margarine and sugar; mix well to moisten crumbs completely. Firmly press mixture into prepared pan, pressing evenly from center to sides of pan.
Pour warm coconut milk mixture evenly over crumb base. Top with an even layer of chocolate chips, flaked coconut and nuts, in that order. Firmly pat everything down until coconut milk mixture soaks upward into the toppings. Bake for 28-30 minutes or until coconut is deeply golden and filling is bubbling, remove from oven and let entire pan cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Transfer pan to the refrigerator to completely cool and firm up for at least 4 hours, even better overnight or until very firm. Use a sharp, heavy knife to run along the edges of bars, slide bars on parchment paper out of pan onto a cutting board then to slice into 24 squares. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator. These also freeze well, tightly wrapped and allowed to thaw for 20 minutes before serving.
Thanks for this recipe. Love “magic cookie bars” made with sweetened condensed milk and this vegan version did not disappoint. Delish!
I have made these for four different events now (for mostly non-vegans) and people LOVE it! Thanks for the post and for all of your amazing recipes!
Just tried the bars.. I have to say “Wow”, I run a vegetarian Yoga center in Guatemala and will put these on the menu. I made my own coconut milk (land of coconuts), super easy and its even better than canned. Thanks for the great treat.
Do you think I could sub almond meal or other finely chopped nut for the graham cracker? Or anything else? I need to make it GF and I don’t have/want to buy GF cookies.
These bars are amazing. I was looking to find a recipe that would replicate the bars they sell at Alladins (a Middle Eastern chain restaurant) but these are so much better! Best of all, my 3-year-old doesn’t like coconut, so that means more for me! And less sugar for her. Thanks for sharing!
Please I need some of these wonderful vegan dessert recipes. My vegan daughter is coming to visit from the other side of the country. Oh, & I am not opposed to pigging out on vegan desserts. I’ve tried many in Oregon, land of the Vegans. I hope Veganism spreads like wildfire in this country. I have 2 wonderful adult children who cook the best vegan food ever. My son, OMG! Shh! Don’t tell my daughter. My son should be a vegan chef!!!!
I adore these! These bars ( the non-veg version) used to be my thing before I bacame vegan. I would bring them to potlucks or as a hostess gift all the time. My friends called them “Melanie bars” 🙂 So glad I can start making them again now that I’ve found a veganized version!
These are so amazing!! I wowed all my friends with these bars! They really are magical.
My Cookie Jar book got lost in a flood of sorts–so very grateful you’ve got this recipe online. Thank you for these, they are always a massive success, and an additional jar of thanks for all of the food, ever. Your books have been a constant companion in our kitchen for years. x