Triple Coconut Chocolate Caramel Bars

Rich dark chocolate and tropical coconut flakes sitting atop a soft oatmeal crust and covered in homemade dairy- and refined sugar-free condensed milk make these Triple Coconut Chocolate Caramel Bars irresistible. They require only eight simple ingredients, are gluten-free as well as easily turned vegan and can be refined sugar-free.

Bienenstich_Coconut Caramel slice

How about we play a little association game for a moment? I’ll give you – or actually, myself – a keyword, you follow up with the first thing tagt comes to your mind. Ready?

Cooking? Fun. Hard to fail.

Baking? Unpredictable.

With cooking I’ve found that you can hardly mess things up really bad. Sure, you can burn food, accidentally go too heavy-handed on the spices or … But in most cases, some tinkering around will still help you turn a fail into an edible dish.

Baking, however? You’re not the main player anymore. Handing control over to the oven that – if not on good terms with you – can merge ingredients that taste amazing on their own and in unbaked state into … oddly shaped puddles of goo that might still taste good but nobody wants to eat. Can you tell I’m not too fond of baking? What can I say: I like predictability. Prior to recent experimentation I’d have never guessed no-baking could be that much fun and as evidenced in the past weeks have enjoyed sharing some recipes from this category, too.

Coconut Caramel Bars_4

Yet I also remembered how much I’d liked baking from childhood on – following recipes obviously – and didn’t want to let the oven win that easily. And – heureka!  – these bars were born. Let’s talk about them: triple coconut. Meaning three times the creamy/tropical/natural sweetness/give me more factor. Plus – as odd as I find saying it with the nut in there – these are therefore nut-free, too!

While these bars are truly catering to the sweet tooth, most o their sweetness comes from unrefined sugar and only a small amount of refined in the chocolate. Dare I say these little treats are the bee’s knees ;)?

Coconut Caramel Bars_3

Long story short: this recipe sounds more difficult than it is. Yes, we’ll be making our own non-dairy and refined sugar-free condensed milk. No, this is not hard. Can you stir a few ingredients together and keep an eye on them every now and then for half an hour? It’s the perfect thing on a Saturday afternoon while you do a few sudokus, catch up on your Bloglovin’ feed or just have a little kitchen dance party.

Triple Coconut Chocolate Caramel Bars

For the non-dairy condensed milk:

  • 1 can [400 ml] coconut milk [light might work; I used ¾ light, ¼ full-fat]
  • ¼ cup [80 g] honey or maple syrup for a vegan version
  • a pinch of salt

For the crust

  • ¾ cup old-fashioned or quick oats (60 g)*
  • 2 tbsps coconut milk
  • 2 tbsps coconut butter, melted
  • 2 tbsps unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tbsp honey or brown rice syrup [40 g]
  • ½ bar [1.75 oz] dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tbsps dried cranberries**
  • ¼ cup coconut flakes
  1. For the condensed milk, combine coconut milk, honey and saltin a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Lower heat and let simmer for about 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mixture should reduce to ~1 cup of liquid,. To determine this, keep a heat-proof measuring cup by the stove to check.
  3. When the milk has reduced, let it cool down and then transfer it to the fridge. For the best result chill the condensed milk in the fridge overnight or at least six hours.
  4. Grease an 8 x 8-inch pan and set aside.
  5. Prepare your crust by pulsing the oats ina blender to yield a coarse flour. Mix with shredded coconut, honey, coconut butter and honey.
  6. Press crust mixture into the prepared pan. Top with chopped chocolate, cranberries and flaked coconut. Pour the non-dairy condensed milk on top, spreading it to cover the whole crust.
  7. Bake at 320 F/160 Celsius for 20-25 minutes. Check in between to make sure it doesn’t burn [oven temperatures vary!]. The condensed milk should be bubbling and thickening .
    Let cool completely before slicing.

* use certified gluten-free if necessary

** use another kind of dried fruit like mulberries or raisins for a sugar-free version

Coconut Caramel Bars_2

I’m linking up with Allergy Free Wednesdays#RecipeOfTheWeek,#StrangeButGoodGluten-Free Fridays,Tasty Tuesdays,Healthy Vegan Fridays, Meatless Mondays.

 

Happiness-inducing today: It’s Spring! Okay, not meteorologically yet but the temperatures hit 13 °C today! Sunshine = endless smiles, even on a long day of work.

 

Stay in touch!
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living
 

What’s your favourite form of coconut?

Cooking or baking?

 

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Just like your average blogger

Hi there and happy … wait, which day was it again????

Even if you’re a blogger you might occasionally forget which day it is [admit it has happened to you before during long holidays!]. Unless we’re talking about [What I ate] Wednesday. Because as a blogger you’ve already been anticipating the best midweek party ever.

[For all German readers: I’m also participating in Vegan Wednesday for the first time so if you want to see even more deliciousness head over there, too.]

WIAW_halloween button

Thanks to Jenn for letting us foodies wallow in memories of good meals, get excited about new finds and declare our obsession with nut butter once more. in the end we’re all just bloggers, right? Here’s to some observations that make me laugh at how much of your average blogger I’ve become.

Just like your average blogger …

… adding almond butter to everything. Or maybe rather adding everything to almond butter?! Either way I have yet to find anything that doesn’t go well with almond butter. I dare you to prove me wrong ;).

Almond butter

Just like your average blogger …

… having breakfast for dinner. Because who wouldn’t enjoy a huge bowl of comforting warm oats at night?! And when others tell you they liked oatmeal, too, you get excited at the opportunity of exchanging your favourite recipes. Only to be let down a little when they go on about their go-to pre-mixed store-bought brand. So you just keep smiling yet wondering where’s the fun in buying oatmeal mixes when you like to get crazy with your own add-ins and toppings. And be honest: in typical blogger-fashion you naturally swear by including chia seeds which you have yet [if you’re living in Germany at least] to see on the ingredient list of bags in the store.

oat bran

Just like your average blogger …

… excessively pinning new recipes you want to try. But when it gets around to actually preparing them you trip over either of two hurdles: a) there’s simply no way you can decide which recipe to try first. Or – if you actually make a decision: b) starting with the best habits of following the instructions. only to sub one or two ingredients, add a pinch of this, pinch of that – and end up with a completely different [yet delicious nonetheless] recipe. Yes, I’ve said it before and have to repeat it once more: I have the hardest time following recipes. Will you forgive me if I promise to improve share this recipe for vegan Mushroom Stronganoff with you?

Stroganoff

Just like your average blogger …

… considering snack time your favourite time [at least food-wise] of the day. Because what’s not to like about touring your pantry, making good use of sampling tables at the store or breaking into your snack drawyer. And that snack appetite is the perfect reason to break into one the last of your homemade bars … which then again gives you another reason to procrastinate some more in the kitchen. A win-win situation, don’t you think?

Almond Caramel Bar

Just like your average blogger …

… you never just buy apples but know them by name and are picky about which to buy. And you might actually feel a little hurt when people don’t account the amazingness of your favourites. Don’t disappoint me by saying you didn’t recognize this beauty …

Guess

Any guesses?

… and you get just a smidgen giddy over the fact that your food matches manicure [or at least closely], right, Heather?!

Matching

Being just like your average blogger might seem a little quirky to outsiders. But who really wants to be normal when quirkiness relates to good food and lots of fun?

Happy Wednesday!

Happiness inducing today: The warmest [70°F in October!] day in a while making for an instant mood boost.

Your turn: Tell me at least one thing that makes you feel just like your average blogger !

[How] Do you tackle your Pinterest recipe board(s)?

Favourite combination: Almond butter and …?