These easy, vegan and paleo Magic Cookie Bars are a healthy spin on a classic treat that tastes like an almond joy!
NOTE that total time does not include chilling overnight.
In a large pot, set over high heat, whisk together the can of coconut milk and 1/2 cup of Honey (or agave), reserving the remaining honey for later. Bring the mixture to a boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Then, turn the heat down to medium and and simmer for 16-20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the sauce reduced to 1 Cup. **
While the sauce boils, place the almonds and coconut on separate small pans and bake in a 350 degree oven until toasted. This takes about 4-5 minutes for the coconut and about 10-12 mins for the almonds. Once toasted, finely chop the almonds and set aside.
While the sauce continues to cook, line an 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper, spraying the sides generously with coconut oil spray. Note: It helps to spray the bottom of the pan before putting in the parchment paper, to secure it.
In a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat the remaining 3 Tbsp of honey with the coconut oil until smooth and creamy. Stir in the flour, cocoa powder and pinch of salt until a wet dough forms.
Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan. This will be a little bit tough, just be patient with it. I found it easiest to use the palms of my hands, and rinse them off every so often, until the dough was pressed in. Do not bake the crust until the coconut milk mixture is done reducing.
Once the coconut milk mixture has reduced, transfer to a measuring cup and set aside to cool and thicken a little more while the crust bakes.
Now, bake the crust in the 350 degree oven for 7-8 mins, until the edges are lightly golden brown. Your crust will probably rise in a few areas. Once it's out of the oven, use a small spoon to quickly press it all back down, making sure to not leave any cracks in the crust.
As soon as the crust comes out of the often, sprinkle the chopped nuts on top, and lightly press them into the crust. Then, sprinkle on the chocolate chips evenly, followed by the coconut flakes.
Pour the coconut milk mixture EVENLY over the top of the surface. Then, gently shake the pan around until the coconut milk mixture begins to sink between the layers. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp of the melted almond butter.
Place into the oven and bake until the sides are lightly golden brown, about 27-28 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Then, drizzle with the remaining almond butter, cover and refrigerate overnight. ***
The next day, run a very sharp knife around the edge of the pan, slice into bars and DEVOUR
* The coconut flour I usually use needed 3/4 cup, but I also tried it with a different brand and 66g was only 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp. So, PLEASE weigh your flour first before trying to make the crust.
** It's very important to have the final amount be 1 cup. So I recommend checking it around 16 minutes, if you have more than that, pour it back into the pan and simmer a few minutes longer.
*** You NEED to let these sit overnight to make sure the coconut milk really has a chance to chill and thicken.