Vegan Nutty Chocolate Coconut Bars

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Every time I open the fridge, there is a lonely little can of coconut milk waiting for me to finish it up. I love making Thai coconut curries, but I have a serious problem making enough curry to use up those monstrous 14oz cans of coconut milk before they go bad. All too often I end up sadly throwing one out, with only a quarter of it used. Whose idea was it to make those cans so big, anyway? You’d have to be some kind of superhuman coconut milk drinker—and I’m talking the thick kind, not the deliciously drinkable diluted ones in cartons—or a curry-loving family of 5 to use those things up in time. But I’m getting off topic here.

I decided that the best way to do that coconut milk justice was to turn it into a pastry. I ended up going with my own version of Ohsheglows’ lightened up coconut bars, because, as I’m sure we all know, she is the guru of all things vegan cooking. The condensed coconut milk idea she uses in the recipe is absolute genius–I’m not sure if it was a common thing that I just happened to discover through her, but it’s seriously amazing! I’ll definitely be using that trick more often to use up those pesky coconut milk cans–I bet it would make a fabulous ice cream base too. But that recipe will have to wait til summer.

Never again will I have to forgo recipes calling for condensed milk!

Also, about the bars: warning, they’re extremely addictive. I ate way too many, but my tastebuds are happy campers.

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Makes about 20 small bars.

Ingredients

Shortbread crust:

  • 1 + 1/3 cups flour
  • 6 tbsp earth balance, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp maple syrup

Topping:

  • 1 can light coconut milk (15oz?)
  • 2/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup pecans or almonds, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • Sea salt to sprinkle on top

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and line a 9″ pan with parchment paper.

2. Prepare the crust: mix together the flour and brown sugar. Stir in the earth balance and maple syrup until the mixture clumps up and is evenly combined. Press crust into the bottom of the pan to form a somewhat compact layer.

3. Prepare the condensed coconut milk: combine the coconut milk and coconut sugar in a pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until it’s thickened up significantly.

4. Remove from heat, and pour in the chocolate chips, maple syrup. Stir until the chocolate chips have melted and combined. Pour this mixture on top of the crust. Sprinkle the chopped nuts, shredded coconut, and sea salt on top.

5. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees, until it looks set and the coconut shreds are beginning to brown. Put in the freezer for a few hours, or in the fridge overnight. Once set, cut into bars, and serve!

– Serving size: 1/20 of recipe. Calories per serving: 190

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2 thoughts on “Vegan Nutty Chocolate Coconut Bars

    • Ah I’ve tried that before but I always find myself preferring soymilk! Perhaps I’ll have to start making tropical style smoothies 🙂

      Thanks so much!

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