I love to inspire people in the kitchen and so I don’t often talk about recipe failures. However, I make many with all the experimenting that I do! The first round of making this recipe was a complete failure. The thing about baking is that it takes focus, attention to detail and respect for the right proportion of ingredients. It’s also why baking is so enjoyable too!
This recipe is free of grain, dairy and refined sugars and instead uses almond flour and coconut palm sugar. Well, the second round turned out super yummy! After two tries, I realized the key to this recipe is taking the time to make the coconut-based caramel sauce that holds the bars together. These bars are worth the effort!
To make the coconut caramel sauce, combine the full fat coconut milk and coconut sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir often with a whisk as the milk begins to boil and thicken. Lower the heat once it reaches a boil and slowly reduce the milk mixture by 1/2, which will take about 30 minutes. You will end up with a little more than a cup of the coconut caramel sauce, after it's reduced down. Remove from the heat and add the coconut butter and the vanilla. Stir well. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes to cool the sauce.
While the caramel sauce is simmering you can assemble the bars. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F and line an 8x8 inch square pan with parchment paper greased with coconut oil.
Combine the almond flour, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Add the melted coconut butter and use your hands to mix the ingredients. It should form a crumbley crust. Add more melted coconut butter if needed. Place the crust in the prepared pan, pressing down to coat the bottom of the pan evenly. Combine the coconut flakes, the nuts and the chocolate chunks together using your hands to mix them up. Reserve about a 1/4 cup of this mixture. Cover the crust evenly with the nut/flake mixture and pour the caramel sauce evenly over it. Pressing down with a spatula to make it flat and even. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of the nut/flake mixture over the pan. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned and bubbly.
Remove the bars from the oven and let them cool. Refrigerate the bars for about an hour or so until completely chilled and set. Lift the bars from the pan using the parchment paper when ready to serve. Cut into 16 squares with a sharp knife and enjoy! Bars can be kept refrigerated for a up to 5 days.