These Paleo Magic Cookie Bars, or Seven Layer Bars as some might call them, are an easy to make, kid-loving dessert. They have a gluten free, shortbread crust and are layered with nuts, coconut, chocolate chips and a dairy-free caramel sauce.
I debated about naming these Magic Cookie Bars or Seven Layer Bars. Growing up, we called them Seven Layer Bars. My mom made them every Christmas. Of course, not my recipe, but a conventional one using completely non-Paleo ingredients.
However, I came to the decision that these need to be Magic Cookie Bars. Why? Well, basically because there's something *magical* about them.
They bring back joyous memories from my childhood (Christmas time). Not to mention, these cookie bars have an amazing taste and are full of various textures.
I could probably eat a whole batch in one sitting. Okay, maybe not the whole thing. But half?
So, Magic Cookie Bars it is! But don't fret, they still have seven layers 😉
My recipe calls for Paleo and Vegan ingredients. Everything is grain free, gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free.
These magic cookie bars are not made with graham crackers. Instead, they have a Vegan shortbread crust made out of almond flour.
The middle layers consist of pecans, walnuts, almonds, coconut and chocolate chips.
And lastly, these bars are soaked with a homemade Paleo and Vegan caramel sauce. Yes, that's right, these seven layer bars are made without condensed milk.
Ingredients in Paleo Magic Cookie Bars
Here's what you need:
- blanched almond flour
- non-hydrogenated shortening
- maple syrup
- vanilla extract
- slivered almonds
- flaked coconut
- chocolate chips
- full fat coconut milk
Even though these cookie bars have seven layers, they are easy to make. The hardest part is the caramel. And, not because it is actually hard to make, but because it takes time (and patience).
But, good news! You may use a store-bought caramel sauce if you want to save time or don't feel up to making your own.
How to Make Healthy Magic Cookie Bars
To start off, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Next, make the shortbread crust. Combine blanched almond flour, non-hydrogenated shortening, maple syrup, vanilla and salt in a large mixing bowl. The dough will seem too dry at first, but keep working it (using your hands works well) until the mixture is homogeneous and can be rolled into a ball.
Firmly press the crust into a lined 8" x 8" baking pan. (I used a glass pan lined with foil.)
Next, add the middle layers. This includes all of the nuts, shredded coconut and chocolate chips. You'll need to chop the pecans and walnuts prior to adding them, unless you're using "pieces" rather than whole nuts.
I added the layers in this order: chopped pecans, chopped walnuts, slivered almonds, flaked coconut and chocolate chips. However, you may choose to add them in any order.
Caramel Sauce Topping
Next, make the caramel sauce. Combine coconut cream, maple syrup and vanilla in a small sauce pan. Put the pan on your stovetop and set heat to medium-high.
Bring the sauce to a boil. Continue cooking on medium-high heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. I recommend using a spatula to stir the caramel because you need to scrape the bottom and sides of the sauce pan so that the caramel doesn't burn.
After 10 minutes, turn the heat to medium. Continue to frequently stir the caramel, keeping a close eye on it. The caramel should be simmering and gradually start to darken and thicken. After another 10-15 minutes, the caramel should be done. Look for a slightly thicker texture. When you dip your spatula into the sauce it should slowly run off.
Pour the caramel over the middle layers. Make sure to coat the entire nut layer (middle and sides) because the caramel is what holds the entire dessert together.
Bake the Cookie Bars
Lastly, bake the Magic Cookie Bars in your oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. The coconut should slightly brown around the edges.
Cool the Cookie Bars
Cool the bars to room temperature in the pan. For best results, store the bars in the fridge overnight prior to cutting. Trust me, they do not cut well until they have completely chilled.
More Paleo Cookie Bar Recipes
Looking for more healthy, Paleo friendly cookie bar recipes? Well, look no further! Here are some reader favorites from my site:
- Paleo Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
- Paleo Millionaire Bars
- No Bake Walnut Crumble Bars
- Coconut Butter Bars
These Magic Cookie Bars are Paleo, Vegan and have 7 layers. With an almond flour shortbread crust, layers of nuts, coconut, chocolate and a dairy free caramel topping, these bars are hard to resist!
- 1 + ½ cup blanched almond flour (170g)
- ¼ cup non-hydrogenated shortening*
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- ½ cup slivered almonds
- ½ cup flaked coconut
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
- 1 cup full fat coconut milk**
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- To make the shortbread crust: combine blanched almond flour, non-hydrogenated shortening, maple syrup, vanilla and salt in a large mixing bowl. The dough will seem too dry at first, but keep working it (using your hands works well) until the mixture is homogeneous and can be rolled into a ball. Firmly press the crust into a lined 8" x 8" baking pan. (I used a glass pan lined with foil.)
- For the Middle Layers: Layer chopped pecans, chopped walnuts, slivered almonds, flaked coconut and chocolate chips on top of the crust.
- For the Caramel Topping: combine coconut milk, maple syrup and vanilla in a small sauce pan. Put the pan on your stove top and set heat to medium-high. Bring the sauce to a boil.
- Continue cooking on medium-high heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently***
- Reduce heat to medium and cook caramel for another 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Once done, the caramel will be a golden brown color and have a slightly thicker texture.
- Pour the caramel over the middle layers, coating the entire dish.
- Bake Cookie Bars: Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. The coconut should slightly brown around the edges.
- Cool Cookie Bars: Cool the bars in the pan to room temperature. For best results, place bars in the fridge overnight prior to cutting.
*Can sub coconut oil
**Be sure to use full fat coconut milk. Shake the can prior to use to mix together the cream and liquid. If it is still separated, mix the cream and liquid together in a large bowl prior to using.
***I recommend using a spatula to stir the mixture. You want to scrape the edges and bottom of the sauce pan so that the caramel doesn't burn.
Keywords: magic cookie bars, Paleo, Vegan, Dessert, Seven Layer Bars, Christmas, Cookies