Saturday, June 16, 2018

5-Layer Cookie Bars

What do you do if you bought sweetened condensed coconut milk at the store because you were just so happy to see it existed, but didn’t have any recipes in mind, and the expiration date is nearing? You look up recipes on the company’s website and make 5-layer cookie bars, that’s what! This recipe is incredibly easy, yet it turned out much better than I thought it would. I don’t usually put chopped nuts in desserts, but I happened to have walnuts to use up and here they work well; I’m sure you could use whatever kind of nut you like, and you could probably omit them too. I loved that this version of the recipe isn’t as sweet as most!

I had to use more coconut oil than called for, because I could tell the consistency of the crust wasn’t quite right. I think I used 4 Tbsp. total, but I couldn’t tell you for a fact. When processed with the oil, the crumbs need to look like wet sand, so that they will form a solid mass when pressed in the bottom of the pan and baked. When in doubt, it’s better to have a bit too much coconut oil here rather than not quite enough (in the latter case, the crust would fall apart).

1 ½ cups crushed graham crackers
2 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted (see note above)
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts (or pecans, almonds or cashews)
½ cup chocolate chips
½ cup coconut flakes, coarsely chopped (I used shredded coconut)
1 can (7.4 oz.) sweetened condensed coconut milk, blended well

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line an 8” square baking pan with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a food processor (or by hand), drizzle coconut oil into the crushed graham crackers until they hold together. Using the bottom of a dry measuring cup or a glass, firmly press the mixture onto the parchment paper until it holds together (this is critical, otherwise the cookies will fall apart after baking).

Scatter the walnuts in one layer on top of the cookie layer, then scatter the chocolate chips on top of the nuts, and the coconut chips (or shredded coconut) on top of the chocolate chips.

Drizzle the sweetened condensed milk over the top of the cookie mixture.

Bake for 30 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges. Remove from oven and let cool for about 2 hours. The cookies can be stored at room temperature, but I found that they were easier to cut and held together better when stored in the refrigerator (that being said, some people prefer them gooey, so they could be briefly heated in the microwave and perhaps served on a plate with a fork, rather than eaten like a cookie).

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