Vegan Coconut Bars

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8×8-inch baking pan with vegan shortening. Dust with a bit of gluten-free flour.

Whisk together dry ingredients:
1/3 cup coconut flour
2/3 cup brown rice flour or sorghum flour
1/3 cup tapioca flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

In a separate bowl, beat to combine:
2/3 cup coconut sugar or whole cane sugar (panela)
1/4 cup organic unsweetened applesauce (or any other fruit sauce)
2 1/2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup warm vanilla hemp, coconut or rice milk, more as needed

When the wet mixture is smooth, slowly add in the dry ingredient mix and beat just until combined.

Add in by hand:
2/3 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips or unsweetened carob chips

Dump the batter into the prepared baking dish and spread it evenly. Sprinkle on extra chocolate chips if you like (and press them gently into the top). Bake in the center of a pre-heated oven until the batter is set and slightly golden brown, about 30 min. The surface should be slightly firm, like a blond brownie (if a finger touch leaves a dent, bake a tad longer). Cool completely on a wire rack; chill before cutting and wrapping for storage. These bars are moist and chewy, and are best eaten chilled. Hot from the oven they fall apart. Makes 15 cookie bars.

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