Lightened Up Magical Coconut Bars

179 comments

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Magical Coconut Bars were always one of my favourite dessert squares growing up, next to Nanaimo bars. In my younger mind, the sweeter the dessert, the better. The words “too sweet” just weren’t in my vocabulary back then.  

Fortunately, for my body (and cavity-prone teeth) I outgrew this mindset, embracing lighter, slightly earthier versions of my favourite desserts. It’s amazing what the taste buds can adapt to with a little time and patience.

Luckily for these lightened up bars, no patience was required for my taste buds. It was love at first bite!

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Here are some of the swaps I made:

– coconut oil instead of butter, plus a reduced amount

– unsweetened shredded coconut instead of sweetened coconut flakes

– unrefined coconut sugar instead of processed white sugar

– homemade condensed light coconut milk instead of a can of sweetened condensed dairy milk

– reduction in the amount of chocolate and coconut

I really wasn’t sure how they would turn out given all these changes, but the outcome was just right – decadent, but still light tasting, or at least that was the consensus in the group. I really can’t imagine these any sweeter than they already are.

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I took some step-by-step photos to show you how easy (and fun) they are to make!

1. Make graham cracker crust & push down hard.     2. Pour on homemade condensed coconut milk.

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3. Sprinkle on chocolate chips.                                4. Followed by shredded coconut.

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5. Chop pecans and sprinkle on top. Press mixture down with hands and bake for ~30 minutes.

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The hardest part is waiting for the bars to set! Most recipes say to chill the pan overnight before slicing (is this even possible? hahah) or chill in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours. Being the patient person I am, I shoved these bars straight into the freezer. A mere 2 hours later, I was enjoying my first square which sliced perfectly. Freezer for the win!

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Lightened Up Magical Coconut Bars

While these are lighter than some traditional magical coconut bar recipes, they are still quite decadent, so I prefer to serve them in small squares. A little bit goes a long way! We also found that the bars tasted better the next day, possibly because the flavours have time to settle. Make sure you really push the graham crumbs down firmly into the pan. This is key if you want the crust to hold together well. See my substitution notes below and be sure to read the entire recipe before starting.

Text, email, or print this recipe

Adapted from Post Punk Kitchen.

Yield = 20 squares

Ingredients:

  • 1 can light coconut milk*
  • 2/3 cup coconut sugar*
  • 2 cups vegan graham cracker crumbs*
  • 6 tbsp (65g) coconut oil*
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup dairy-free chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life mini)
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • pinch of flaked sea salt, for garnish (optional)

 

1. Prepare condensed coconut milk: Preheat oven to 350F and line a 9-inch square pan with two pieces of parchment paper (one going each way). Add entire can of coconut milk into a medium-sized pot, and whisk in the coconut sugar. Increase heat to medium and bring to a low simmer. Watch closely as it can boil over very quickly! Simmer on low-medium heat for about 12-14 minutes, whisking occasionally, until the mixture thickens slightly. If film develops on the top as it condenses, just whisk it back into the mixture. Remove from heat to cool while you prepare the crust.

2. Prepare graham cracker crust: In a pot, soften coconut oil over low heat until mostly melted. Add to a mixing bowl along with graham cracker crumbs and maple syrup. Stir very well until thoroughly combined. Spoon graham mixture into prepared pan. Starting at the centre of the pan, press the graham cracker crumbs as firmly as you can, moving outward from the centre. The harder you press the crumbs into the pan, the better the bars will hold together. I used a pastry roller at the end to really pack it all in and I had no problems with crumbling when I sliced the bars.

3. Assemble: Pour warm condensed milk over the graham crust. Now, sprinkle on the chocolate chips, followed by the coconut, and finally the pecans, evenly over the condensed milk. Press the mixture down lightly with hands until the coconut milk soaks upward into each layer. Sprinkle with flaked sea salt (optional).

4. Bake in the oven, uncovered, for 27-31 minutes at 350F (I baked for 30 mins), until the edges are golden. Remove pan from oven and place on cooling rack for about 30 minutes. Now, transfer the pan to your freezer for 2 hours (quick-set method). Or chill the bars in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight. When set, cut into squares (thaw at room temp first if removing from freezer). Bars can be wrapped up and left on the counter, or in the fridge or freezer.

Substitution notes: 1) You can use full-fat coconut milk instead of light. 2) Coconut sugar can be subbed for any granulated sugar (Sucanat, natural cane sugar, brown sugar, etc). 3) Two cups of graham cracker crumbs produced a fairly thick crust (see photo). You can probably reduce the amount to 1.5 cups if you want a thinner crust. 4) You can probably sub non-dairy butter for coconut oil. 5) I purchased my graham cracker crumbs from Bulk Barn.

I know some of you are probably wondering about a gluten-free version too. You could try using gluten-free graham crackers and processing those in the processor/blender or you might be able to make an almond flour crust. Thoughts? If anyone tries a GF version please leave a note in the comments!

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{ 179 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Herbivore Triathlete December 18, 2012

Oooh, these look decadent! One of my favorite treats is 7 layer magic bars, these look very similar. I love that you lightened them up but didn’t sacrifice any flavor. Your photos are fabulous as always! (Are you using a black back drop of some kind?)

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2 Angela (Oh She Glows) December 18, 2012

I’ve always wondered what the difference is between the 7 layer bars and these. Do the 7-layers have butterscotch chips or something?
I have a couple backgrounds for my photos – black and white presentation boards from Michaels. :) They stand up on their own (well most of the time!) and don’t need to be clipped in place.

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3 Herbivore Triathlete December 18, 2012

Yes! The 7 layer bars that I make use chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, nuts of some kind, and coconut flakes on top of graham cracker crust and the condensed milk. That’s 6 layers, I’m drawing a blank on what’s missing, ha ha!

Thanks for the tip on using presentation boards. I was thinking flat sheet but boards would be much simpler!

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4 Mischelle December 22, 2012

maybe the seventh layer is love?! (But it could be the butter too)

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5 Mischelle December 22, 2012

Okay, didn’t read far enough… Angela says it’s the magic ;)

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6 Ali @ WHOLEistically Fit December 18, 2012

Yum, these look magical indeed! ;) And, thanks so much for the tip on the backgrounds! I’m new to the blogging thing and photography isn’t my forte. I’m definitely going to look into getting some of these boards at Michaels. :D

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7 Angela (Oh She Glows) December 18, 2012

The 7th layer is magic ;)

About the boards – I used to use regular bristol board, but it was annoying to hold up and it didn’t clip well either, so the presentation boards are a nice option. They’ve only tipped onto my food once or twice so far….hah.

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8 LJ May 15, 2013

Weird I looked up my old recipe for 7 layer bars and it’s not really a 7th layer. It’s a heaping goob of butter mixed into the graham cracker layer.. Hmmm.. I’m suddenly craving a goob of Earth Balance and graham.
It’s already May, I think I should hop on my Christmas baking and try this. :)

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9 Lia @ Sojourning December 18, 2012

This is amazing! My brother’s GF’s mom, who taught at our high school, makes these all the time, but I can no longer enjoy them as a vegan. Now I can! Hehehehe! This dessert is really a part of my childhood and has so many great memories attached. I’m so excited to try these out!

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10 Shundara@ SavyNaturalista December 18, 2012

Oh these look amazing they remind me of a toffee brownie with less fat and I can eat more; I bet the smell was so wonderful…

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11 Karen December 18, 2012

My Mom used to make these bars with the added butterscotch chips. Don’t know if they were called 7 layer bars or not, but they were good! Yours look fantastic! Will have to try, I am just flirting with going Vegan. You have inspired me so much! I have been making changes in my diet and already feel the difference! :)

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12 Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table December 18, 2012

I loved these as a kid! You made some great swaps. I think I’d like this version better as an adult. Especially with the unsweetened coconut – it’s so decadent I or know why anyone needs to use the sweetened variety!

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13 Anele @ Success Along the Weigh December 18, 2012

Love it! I made something similar into truffles and they were a big hit. I’m definitely pinning these babies!

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14 Amanda@ Spiritual Sweat December 18, 2012

Holy Moly these are my ideal dessert!!
I LOVE all things coconut. Coconut sugar is amazing. I put it in a lot of your baking recipes and the substitution works great!

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15 Laura December 18, 2012

I really love coconut oil and so happy to see that his recipe is filled with coconut :)
Just wondering though what makes coconut sugar different then refined white? Is coconut sugar less processed/better for you?

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16 Maria December 18, 2012

Hey Laura,

Coconut sugar has a very low glycemic index, namely 35. Refined white sugar has a glycemic index of 100 (maximum) and you’ll need only a tiny amount of it to influence your blood sugar level. This affects cravings, headaches and sugar rush/low, for instance. Palm sugar has an even lower glycemic index, namely 33. “They” say that sugars or sweeteners or any kind of food actually with a glycemic index of 55 or 60 upwards should be avoided or taken with consideration.

Something like that ;)

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17 Jessica December 24, 2012

What a helpful answer! Can coconut sugar be swapped in for wherever regular white sugar is used? Do they taste the same as each other?

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18 Maria December 24, 2012

Hey Jessica,

Thanks! Here – hopefully – another one:

Coconut sugar can be swapped in for wherever regular white sugar is used, yes! But I find that every sugar (or nectar, syrup, etc) has it’s own flavour and intensity. Presumably you’ll have to adjust the amount according on the one hand to the intensity and on the other hand: it will taste differently. The latter also depends on what sugar you use, because some sweeteners have a strong or particular flavour, like stevia or palm sugar. I made a Pisco Sour cocktail (of course I left out the egg white :) ) with palm sugar instead of white sugar once but it was waaaay to sweet; I think you’ll need 2/3 of palm sugar when replacing refined white – and also take into consideration your own sweet taste.

The more sugar is a part of the dish, the more you’ll ‘taste’ it, of course, so I think it’s trial-and-error there… maybe combining sugars can be a solution when you don’t like the taste.

Mind this: liquids (rice syrup, agave, maple etc.) cannot just be replaced by solid sugars, since it will influence the consistency of the dish you’re preparing, and vice versa. Here you have to work things out, for instance replacing a part of the amount of sugar by a liquid and the other part by another sugar. Also trial and error :)

xoxo!

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19 Leigh April 13, 2015

I made these today and they turned out fantastic! I love the graham crust and the combination of coconut, chocolate, and nuts (I used walnuts). I will definitely make them again. Thanks!

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20 Sally December 18, 2012

“Freezer for the Win” OMG a woman after my own heart! And the recipe looks great. Like everyone I will be baking in the next few days and this will be on the agenda. Thanks!

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21 Christine December 18, 2012

Hi Angela – these look delicious!! I am definitely making these babies tonight. I am a GF vegan so I will report back with how they turned out!

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22 kim@hungryhealthygirl December 18, 2012

I’m so making these!! I’ve been looking for a bar to make for Christmas and I’ve alway loved these. Great substitutions. Can’t wait to taste them!!

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23 Erica @ Coffee & Quinoa December 18, 2012

Yum! We used to call these seven layer bars, and I definitely remember they were my favorite to make in middle school… when I could still feel perfectly fine after eating several large squares! Not so any more, so I’m so happy to see your lightened-up version.

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24 Allison December 18, 2012

WHAT?! These look so good. I was literally drooling over my Ipad this morning when I saw this post…

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25 Allison December 18, 2012

Hi Ange! It’s me Al:) The recipe sounds amazing, can’t wait to try it and I will let you know how the GF version works. I’m sure Matt will love it! ps did you get my emails (re xmas present)??

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26 Angela (Oh She Glows) December 18, 2012

Hiiii. check your email!! :) I hope the bars work out! Let me know what you end up using for the crust. xo

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27 Stefanie @ Thin Vegetarian December 18, 2012

I used to be all about sweet also, but now I find so many things to sweet to even eat!

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28 Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl December 18, 2012

These bars most certainly look magical!! :)

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29 Andrea @ Vegvacious December 18, 2012

Delish! There is definitely something magical about coconut and chocolate in bar form :-) These look wonderful!

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30 Ashley December 18, 2012

They look absolutely incredible! Definitely decadent. I’m sure no one would ever know they have been lightened up a bit. You can just tell the texture is thick, chewy, and crunchy. All of my favorite things!

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31 The Healthy Hipster December 18, 2012

These look just lovely, Angela. I am officially making these this morning, possibly with the addition of some dried cranberries to up the festive factor. Perfect for a holiday get together!

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32 jodye @ chocolate & chou fleur December 18, 2012

These look too good to be true! I’ve been heavily debating what cookies I’m going to make for Christmas, and now I know that I’m going to make these for certain. It doesn’t help me decide between the other recipes, but at least I know I’ll have one killer cookie that everyone will adore. Thanks for the great recipe!

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33 Sarah @ Yogi in Action December 18, 2012

Those look so amazing! Definitely adding it to my list of things to bake in 2013.

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34 Averie @ Averie Cooks December 18, 2012

I love Seven Layer Bars, Magic Bars, whatever name they go by…great change up to keep these a little lighter and vegan. The sounds of homemade condensed light coconut milk is RIGHT up my alley. I love sweetened cond milk, but making it at home and with coconut milk sounds like the best trick ever!

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35 Abby @ The Frosted Vegan December 18, 2012

Oh my, these look too good!! I am the only coconut lover in my house, so I would keep these all to myself : )

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36 Liz December 18, 2012

Although coconut is not my most favorite, I must say those bars look pretty tasty. :)

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37 Paula October 1, 2015

Liz, I made these bars and served them after supper last night, and two of my friends don’t like coconut either and they loved it… in fact they had seconds!!

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38 Anne December 18, 2012

I love your website.. your recipes.. I am only reading you since a week but consider me a HUGE fan.. finally a website where you can find the ingredients at a normal Hyvee Store and you don’t need hours to whip things up and most important.. the final product really tastes good! It’s hard to find vegan recipes that actually taste amazing!
I already tried out 3 of your recipes and I LOVE every one of them. And it’s so great that you always tell in the recipes how long you can store them and how! I love to take stuff with me to school or cook in advance and portion it! THANK YOU for making my life easier!
And if you now figure out a way to make caramels <3 <3 vegan! That would be amazing!

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39 Angela (Oh She Glows) December 19, 2012

Hey Anne, Thank you for your sweet comment! You totally made my day. Love the vegan caramel ideas…I’ve been wanting to make those for a while now.

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40 Sharla December 18, 2012

Ok, in order to have unsweetened coconut flakes do you have to use fresh coconut or is there a bagged/canned variety out there anywhere? I can only find sweetened coconut at the grocery.

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41 Cara December 18, 2012
42 Suzette January 21, 2014

You can also buy unsweetened shaved coconut in the freezer section sometimes. I’ve found it in several grocery stores.

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43 Tiff (@LoveSweatBeers) December 18, 2012

Mmmmm, graham cracker crust is where it’s at! :)

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44 Lori Greenberg December 18, 2012

I can’t wait to try these (with some type of GF crust)!

question: we usually buy coconut milk in the carton.what size is the “1 can” of coconut milk you use?

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45 Angela (Oh She Glows) December 19, 2012

you can find cans of light coconut milk in the baking section of most grocery stores. Enjoy!

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46 Sandy November 26, 2014

Also in the Asian foods aisle if your grocery store hides it there :)

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47 Shel@PeachyPalate December 18, 2012

Fantastic recipe! What sort of size tray did you bake them in?

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48 Cara December 18, 2012

Angela, you are amazing. First the mocha, now this. I read The Kind Diet a while back, and I felt like giving up sugar was MUCH harder and felt more “threatening” as a lifestyle change than giving up dairy–so I love that you try to offer us some healthier alternatives that still let us enjoy things we love!

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49 Heather December 18, 2012

Wow – these look amazing! So happy you did a lightened up version – you must have been listening to me last week! Can’t wait to make these for the boys and not feel so guilty about them eating them :)

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50 Janessa @ Epicurious Vegan December 18, 2012

Yum!!! These look so good! Your photos are so so gorgeous.

I made a gluten-free version of these a few months ago, with a nut, maple syrup and coconut oil crust: http://epicuriousvegan.com/vegan-dance-magic-bars/.

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51 Vegan Radhika Sarohia December 18, 2012

These look soooo delicious!!!!!!!!!!

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52 Lisa @ The Raw Serenity December 18, 2012

These look unreal!
I may use cacao nibs instead of Choco chips for some extra health benefits.
The problem is that I am in Australia and I have never seen graham cracker crumbs before?

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53 Rebecca December 18, 2012

I just made these. So emotional! I’m GF so I used this almond crust recipe: http://www.krissys-creations.com/2012/04/berry-tart-with-almond-crust-gluten.html?m=1

I also used 1/2 c. Brown sugar instead of coconut sugar.

Thanks so much for another fantastic recipe!

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54 Marissa December 18, 2012

This lightened up version was a great idea. I always loved these when I was a kid, too. Anything chocolate and coconut was amazing in my book.

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55 Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat December 18, 2012

Ooh I saw these on Instagram last night and got very excited for today’s post!! They sound delicious, and I’m not even a big coconut fan! I’m a huge sucker for graham crackers so you can bet I wouldn’t leave a crumb behind! :)

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56 jenna December 18, 2012

these bars are one of my favorites! your ‘cleaned’ up version looks just as amazing as the traditional.

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57 Kimmy December 18, 2012

oh man… these look amazing!!!!

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58 Alex December 18, 2012

OH MY GOSH.
I’M GOING TO THE STORE TO BUY COCONUT MILK NOW.
Wait, it’s closed at 9:36 at night. Fudge.
FIRST THING IN THE MORNING.
:)

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59 Alex January 5, 2013

Just made these with brown sugar! Delicious! Thanks so much for the recipe!! :)

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60 Lisa@Pocketfuls December 18, 2012

Oh wow — these look delicious! The Magic

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61 Lisa@Pocketfuls December 18, 2012

Oh wow — these look delicious! The Magic Layer Bars were my absolute favourite when I was a kid… I’m excited to try your healthier version! I make a gluten free crust with almond flour for other bars that I bake, and I think this one would work very well in your recipe for those who are looking for a gf option: http://www.pocketfuls.ca/2012/12/cranberry-almond-crumble-squares-gluten.html .

I thought I was finished my Christmas baking for this year but I’m pretty certain now that I have to make these, too! ;) Thanks for the recipe!

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62 Tanya @ playful and hungry December 19, 2012

I’ve done a similar crust and it works perfectly fine!

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63 Adam December 18, 2012

Those look amazing. I do like coconut oil…what was the original recipe with the butter?

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64 chantal December 19, 2012

They don’t just look amazing, they are amazingly delicious. After seeing your post, I knew I had all the ingredients at home so I made them right away and wow, those are a piece of heaven in your mouth. Thank you for sharing that wonderful recipe. After tasting I knew those bars have become my favorite go to treats. Cheer, Chantal from veghead

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65 Angela (Oh She Glows) December 19, 2012

Hey Chantal, I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed the bars! Happy holidays :)

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66 Irene December 19, 2012

This looks like a recipe my mom’ll adore, thank you for sharing it with us! For the graham cracker crumbs, do you think your own graham crackers recipe would work, after I pulverized the resulting crackers in the food processor?

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67 Angela (Oh She Glows) December 19, 2012

I’ve tried that before and the crumbs came out a bit strange in flavour – not really what I was expecting. In a pinch they could work though!

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68 Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers December 19, 2012

Oh my, how gorgeous! They look so scrumptious!! You made another wonderful creation!!! I have to make these, and soon!

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69 Krista December 19, 2012

Magic Squares have always been my favourite holiday treat – I can’t wait to try this version!

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70 Alexis @ Hummusapien December 19, 2012

I absolutely love the idea of making homemade sweetened condensed milk from coconut. I always loved magic bars growing up–the sweet, salty, chewy and crunchy all in one is heavenly!

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71 Tanya @ playful and hungry December 19, 2012

Those look addictive! And so pretty, too! I have never tried coconut sugar, it’s always so expensive… but maybe it’s time to try it now! ;)

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72 Ana December 19, 2012

Hey, where did you get unrefined coconut sugar and how expensive is it? I live in Toronto, and haven’t seen that in regular supermarkets.

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73 Angela (Oh She Glows) December 19, 2012

Hi Ana,
I buy it in a huge bag from Costco.

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74 medicine December 19, 2012

it looks so delicious and tasty. i love to read the directions here to prepare it. i enjoy to eat coco nut bar with a cup of tea and will now try this one too by following the directions. thanks for sharing.

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75 Ashlee @ Plant Infusions December 19, 2012

Hey, Ange, I have always wondered if nondairy condensed milk could be made. You did it! Amazing!

Now I wonder how well it would stand up in replacing dairy condensed milk in other recipes. Far out there, but maybe even in pumpkin pie? I know I’m past the season, but I just think it is so neat that you figured out how to make nondairy condensed milk!

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76 Mary December 19, 2012

Wow these look amazing! I absolutely love food with different textures and flavors, especially sweets!

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77 Sonia the Mexigarian December 19, 2012

I am completely clearing out my freezer and am shoving these babies in there. Totally making this recipe this weekend.

I am just drooling thinking about it.

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78 a farmer in the dell December 19, 2012

These look fantastic! The snow has just started falling in Oregon and I think a day spent baking is in order. Thanks for a great recipe!

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79 saniel December 19, 2012

i used to eat a version of these as a kid but with caramel chips and stick or more of butter. thanks for the lighter brighter version!!

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80 Stephen@HappyHeart December 20, 2012

These looks AMAZING!!! Definitely need to give them a try…though if you fancy sending some to Ireland they’d be greatly received! :)

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81 Danica December 20, 2012

I made these last night in the gluten free version! I used the Gluten Free Graham Crackers. I Used these

http://www.amazon.com/Kinnikinnick-Smoreables-Graham-Style-Crackers/dp/B004T3AWRA

which you can get at any Whole Foods or Loblaws/Zehrs.

I used a blender to grind down the crackers to a crust and 1 box makes just under 2 cups of Graham cracker crumbs.

I would use a little less coconut oil though next time, maybe 5 tbsp.

They turned out delicious!

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82 Angela (Oh She Glows) December 21, 2012

Thanks for the tips! Im sure people will appreciate it :) I’m glad they worked for you!

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83 Christine (The Brighter Side of Life) December 20, 2012

These look SO good! And believe it or not, I’ve never made bars. These may be the first ones I try my hand at. :)

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84 Amber from Slim Pickin's Kitchen December 20, 2012

I totally just made something similar to this yesterday, but it included toffee bits and and chocolate chips instead of coconut milk. I, too, subbed a lot of the ingredients, and I was thrilled with how well they turned out. These look absolutely delightful! Can’t wait to try them!

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85 Emily @Random Recycling December 20, 2012

These look amazing. Thanks for all the great substitution ideas. In all the many healthy recipes I have read, I’ve never even heard of coconut sugar. I’m going to hope that my local Whole Foods carries it.

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86 Margaret December 20, 2012

yum! I love bars like this, I might have to make these for xmas…
On a side note, I was looking at your list of favorite cookbooks to get some ideas of ones to take a look at. There are a surprising number of vegan cookbooks coming out and its hard sometimes to know which ones are good. Have you seen “Ripe From Around Here” by Jae Steele? The recipes are both vegan and seasonal and its amazing! And I think she’s from Canada. :) I definitely recommend it to everyone.
Very excited for your cookbook too!

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87 Angela (Oh She Glows) December 21, 2012

I haven’t but I will have to look it up! Thanks for the tip.

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88 char eats greens December 20, 2012

These totally look like keepers, Ange!!!

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89 Kathy Steger @FoodWineThyme December 20, 2012

Anytime a shredded coconut is involved I’m there. :) Delicious

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90 Clare December 21, 2012

YUM! I have never come across magical layer bars…. maybe not a thing in Australia but these look so good!

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91 Laura December 21, 2012

Looks amazing– adding this to my pinterest board to try soon!!

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92 Lauren December 21, 2012

Angela, I was so excited about this recipe that I made them right away! But I have a question: I doubled the recipe and made them in a glass 9×13. I put them in the fridge overnight, and when I got them out in the morning, it was still soggy. ??? Does this recipe not double well? I followed the recipe exactly.
I would love some help…I don’t want to waste all these ingredients!
Thanks!

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93 Angela (Oh She Glows) December 21, 2012

Hi Lauren, I’m not sure if it doubles well, sorry that happened to you!

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94 Amelia December 21, 2012

OMG, So delicious!!! I tweeted to you earlier today that I had made these. Words can’t do justice (nor pictures) to how DELICIOUS these things are! So glad i made them. :) Thanks!

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95 Angela (Oh She Glows) December 21, 2012

Aw, im so happy to hear that! Happy holidays :)

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96 Rebecca December 22, 2012

I was so excited to see this recipe as I was seriously bumming about missing this heavy dairy dessert this Christmas! We’ve decided to make a bundle of Oh She Glows Goodies for gifts this year and added these to the mix!

Unfortunately, while cutting these bars, I sliced my poor little thumb to the bone! In spite of the pain, these treats are quite Magical!

Thanks for the amazing recipe!

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97 Angela (Oh She Glows) December 24, 2012

oh my gosh that sounds so painful…I’ve definitely been there before! I guess the excitement gets the best of us eh? Well I am glad they turned out regardless!

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98 Jessica December 23, 2012

I just popped this in the oven…I made them with your pecan crust from the salty pecan pumpkin pie…here is hoping that worked out…haha! I needed a GF version.

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99 Angela (Oh She Glows) December 24, 2012

ohhh let me know how it goes!

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100 Jessica December 24, 2012

Worked out perfectly!! So amazing! Everyone LOVED them and ate the whole pan – fast! Thanks so much for your recipes – my daughter is allergic to dairy and eggs. We eat vegan pretty much all the time now because of it. Everything that I have made from you has been delish! (and even the 2 year old gobbles it up!) Merry Christmas!

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101 Becca December 23, 2012

Wonderful recipe OSG!

I made a gluten-free version by using the same gluten-free graham crackers that someone else mentioned in the comments. However, next time I want to try an oat flour-almond flour crust.

The only things that was unclear for me while making these was how “thick” the coconut milk should have been before taking it off the stove… I was really hesitant to take it off after 15 minutes of boiling because it still seemed really runny …but in the end my squares were awesome so I guess whatever consistency I had was the right one!

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102 McKel December 23, 2012

Excellent recipe! I did try a gluten free version with a twist. I made them with Mi-Del gluten free ginger snaps for an extra holiday spice variation. It turned out great, and I highly recommend this to all the other gluten free lovers out there!

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103 Angela (Oh She Glows) December 24, 2012

Thanks for the tip!

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104 Barb C December 23, 2012

I might try these with gluten free graham crackers tomorrow, so I’ll report back how they turned out!

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105 Laura December 24, 2012

I made these the other day for a holiday party and they were a hit! These are so easy to make and taste amazing! I will be making these again soon!! Thank you for sharing :)

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106 المسالك البولية وسلس البول December 24, 2012

Wowwwwww….I must try this :)

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107 Paula December 24, 2012

These are FABULOUS!!! I’m GF so used GF Graham Crackers for the crust and added some butterscotch chips (as my son loves them). Tried a tiny corner this morning and WOW… will definitely be making these again and probably soon as I doubt they’ll be any left after out X-mas eve gathering tonight :) Thanks!!

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108 Manu December 24, 2012

Thank you so much for all your work in creating recipes.
I’ve never failed with your cookie recipes so far and I’ve tried a few :)

Do you remember how much quantity of coconut milk you used?
I know you say to use an entire can, but I live in a different country where coconut milk
is typically available in small packs of 200 ml (around 6.8 ounces). So it’d help to know the
measure by volume or weight. Thanks so much!

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109 Angela (Oh She Glows) December 24, 2012

for sure – it’s a 400 ml can :) hope this helps!

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110 Melissa December 25, 2012

I made these for Christmas. I used this gluten free crust recipe (I followed the partial pre-bake instructions) http://www.againstallgrain.com/2012/02/10/honey-graham-cracker-pie-crust/
The crust worked great. In general this recipe is pretty good, but I think I would make a couple of changes next time. I think I would try using brown sugar instead of the coconut sugar (I LOVE brown sugar!) in the condensed milk and I’d mix the coconut flakes into the milk after thickening. We found that even with pressing the toppings into the milk, the coconut flakes fell off the finished bars too easily and made a big mess when you try to eat them. I’d pour that mixture on the partially baked crust and then sprinkle the chocolate chips and nuts (I used walnuts) on top of that, and press down. I think this is a great basic recipe that you can easily tweak to your preferences.

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111 Brooke December 27, 2012

I made these bars a few nights ago with the same GF crust from Against All Grains blog. It was really good and I didn’t have any problems with the coconut falling off. My crust was a little thick and I baked it a little too long before I put the layers on top of it, but it turned out just fine. I will definitely be making this again!

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112 Kelsey December 25, 2012

They turned out just great with GF graham crackers! Yummy!

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113 {Moni} @ Moni Meals December 27, 2012

I make these every year and I wish I saw this before I made the traditional 7 Layer Magic Bars! Next year for sure. These look amazzzzzzing. :)

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114 Lesli December 27, 2012

I made these and with so much going on,I was the only one who knew how YUMMY they are..until last night.I had some out on a plate and my husband asked “So,is that all there are left? How did I miss out on them!?!” He looked so forlorn that I fessed up that there were more in the freezer.Now I am going away overnight.I hope there are some left when I get back :). Another super awesome recipe…thanks for making it easy to show my family how un-weird vegan food can be!

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115 Angela (Oh She Glows) December 28, 2012

hah that sounds familiar…I think Eric says that about once a week. ;) Hope you find some when you return! Thanks for trying it out.

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116 Jenn Stevens December 27, 2012

Just wanted to comment and say THANK YOU! I made these for my family as a Christmas dessert & to say it was a hit is a total understatement. They could hardly wait for them to thaw from the freezer before half the pan was gone! Love hearing remarks like, “I can’t believe these are vegan!”. So, so good!

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117 Angela (Oh She Glows) December 28, 2012

Hey Jenn, so glad to hear this! I never tire of hearing that either heh

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118 Juliana December 28, 2012

Magic Cookie Bars are one of my family’s favorite Christmas treats – but this is the first Christmas we are gluten and (mostly) dairy free. I made these with GF graham cracker crumbs and dark chocolate chips. Better than the original and a huge hit. Thank you for the recipe!

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119 Courtney December 28, 2012

Could the coconut oil possibly be substituted with nut butter?

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120 Angela (Oh She Glows) December 28, 2012

Im sorry Im not sure Courtney. Please let me know if you try it out!

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121 Kathleen December 29, 2012

I just made these bars today and they are delicious! My only query is with regard to the chocolate chips; for some reason my vegan chocolate chips from Whole Foods did not melt. Any thoughts?

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122 Angela (Oh She Glows) December 31, 2012

I had issues with my chips not melted fully too. I think you could melt the chocolate before baking and just drizzle it on maybe?

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123 Kathleen December 31, 2012

Will do! Thank you and happy new year!!

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124 Chrissy December 31, 2012

Thank you so much for your website, your pictures, your recipes! I have tried several of your recipes and people can’t believe they’re eating vegan food! I was so excited to see the magic bars, I made them right away..huge hit. I gotta tell ya…I love salty and sweet…so…I made them again but used chopped salted peanuts in place of the pecans…WINNER !! So happy to be able to make these and share and see the looks on my friends and families faces when I tell them their vegan…WHAT??? Keep on doing what you’re doing! :D

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125 Sue B December 31, 2012

Oh boy, these are really, really delicious. Waay better than the original (too sweet) recipe.
Thanks for posting and hope you have a wonderful 2013!

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126 Jasna December 31, 2012

I made these last night and they turned out great! I made my own gf graham crackers and let the coconut milk cook for about 45 minutes instead. Delicious!

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127 Tara Bliven December 31, 2012

Do you have the nutritional info for this? (Am I blind?! I’m not seeing it anywhere!)
Thanks – making these for a new year party tonight. I have also loved these my whole life. Even cheated on some non-vegan ones over Christmas, but THAT’s over ;) Yum, can’t wait!

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128 irush January 1, 2013

I made this bars as a main desert for our New Years celebration. Everyone loved it!!!! Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe!

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129 Natalie January 1, 2013

Yum, these look so incredible!!

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130 Joslin January 5, 2013

I made these bars last night & they are delicious!!!! I actually spoiled my breakfast this morning by eating one; I couldn’t wait:-) Thanks, Angela!

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131 Sonja January 5, 2013

Just made these tonight and couldn’t even wait the 2 hours to try them. After just an hour they sliced perfectly and I cannot express how amazingly decadent these are!! Thank you so much for the recipe; my non-vegan coconut-hating husband actually said they were incredible – how funny is that? :) I check your website daily and am always making something of yours, and I truly have nothing but high praise for everything on here… your talent and creativity is just amazing! Thanks for all you do for all of us!

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132 Brittany January 8, 2013

I have tried the PPK version with GF graham crackers (both hand crushed into crumbs and given a whirl in a food processor) and it comes out great either way! So great that non-GF, non-vegans have told me that it’s the most amazing dessert they’ve ever had. I can’t remember the brand of GF graham crackers that I used, but one box is just scant of two cups crushed so it works out well. I also have concocted a really quick graham cracker crust with oat flour, sugar, cinnamon, and earth balance that turned out alright as well.

Hope that’s helpful for the GF vegans out there :))

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133 Sophie January 8, 2013

Wow! These bars are INCREDIBLE! And I’m not just saying that!
I made them gluten free, using a recipe for graham cracker crumbs (which I thought was a clever idea….why make crackers only to crush them up?!), and they came out amazingly! :D
For the graham cracker crumbs, I used:
1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapoica flour
1/2 cup almond flour (other flour may work for nut-free)
1/2 cup melted Earth Balance soy-free butter substitute
1/2 cup brown sugar

I mixed that in a kitchen aid mixer, then poured it into a 9×13 pan (should be crumb-like…), and baked at 350 for 15-20 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
Watch carefully because they can burn quickly! :)

Then, I just used 2 cups of these crumbs for your crust recipe!
The bars came out great! I was so pleased with them :D Thanks for all your hard work Angela!!

(The only thing I found weird was the sweetened condensed milk part…i used a light can of coconut milk, as the recipe suggests, but used cane sugar instead of coconut sugar. I boiled/simmered it for a while and it never seemed to thicken up enough! It eventually got thick enough to use, but not exactly what I was expecting…also, it was a strange gray-ish color, but maybe because I didn’t use coconut sugar? The color was fine in the finished product though.)
Regardless of this, the bars were incredible, definitely a recipe to make again! :D

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134 Leigh January 9, 2013

I made a version of these and used Gluten Free Graham Crackers that I ground in my vita mix. They worked great!

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135 Bailey M January 15, 2013

These look fantastic! Can’t wait to test them out!!

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136 marla January 24, 2013

Girl, these bars look AWESOME!

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137 Alexandra February 3, 2013

These look absolutely delicious! I find it hard to find a good dessert recipe that doesn’t use butter or eggs. Coconut oil sounds like a great alternative! (Definitely helps that I LOVE coconut). Thanks for sharing!

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138 D February 12, 2013

This was delish!! I have made approx 10 or more recipes in the last month and all of your recipes come out delicious! I don’t have to test run a recipe. I’ve made the twix bars two times now and took them to a party. I took these delish morsels to work and the men loved it! Thank you for providing so many delicious recipes! I have discovered a whole new genre of cooking and I love it! (My daughter I’m nursing is dairy, soy, corn, egg, nut allergic.) Yes, most of the recipes I’ve tried were desserts, but I just made the tomato pesto and it is a hit! I’m going to try the lentil loaf this weekend. Thanks again.

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139 Angela (Oh She Glows) February 13, 2013

Thank you for the feedback, I’m so glad you enjoy the recipes D!

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140 Jan February 15, 2013

Can you tell me how many ounces/ml are in the can of coconut milk?
Thanks

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141 Angela (Oh She Glows) February 15, 2013

398 ml if I recall :) enjoy

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142 Cheryl March 2, 2013

Just made these last night and left ’em in the fridge overnight to set up. The crust held up really well with no crumbling. I tossed on a layer of craisins and it takes the bars to a whole other level – they’re SO delicious! Thanks for another great recipe :)

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143 Lynda March 5, 2013

Hi, Can these remain out of the refrigerator for a day or so once they have cooled? Thank you.

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144 Angela (Oh She Glows) March 5, 2013

I can’t see why not! Just be sure to pop them in the fridge when you can.

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145 Elizabeth March 16, 2013

Made these last weekend, and they were Fantastic delicious!! It’s not my fault they disappeared even though the hubby was sick and not eating much…

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146 Kaitlin March 20, 2013

Made this today with dad. He and my hubby (and I!) loved it.

My substitutions (to save money and use what I already had), and they all turned out fine:
I used some coconut oil and some vegan margarine instead of the full amount of coconut oil.
I used regular sugar.
I used standard coconut milk instead of the light.
I used light maple syrup.
I used a smaller dish, so they came out thicker.

I found unsweetened shredded coconut at Wegman’s.

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147 Michelle March 22, 2013

These look great and I also have been looking for an easy recipe for non-dairy condensed milk so I need to try that as well. Thanks! While this is not GF, to make it healthier try using fiber one cereal (or equlivalent) in your processor to make crumbs. It works great for cheesecake crust.

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148 Amanda March 22, 2013

These look fantastic! Thanks for the recipe. Do you know how many calories per serving??

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149 Anja March 25, 2013

I made a batch of these last night and by today they were half way gone. Will make these over and over and over again!

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150 Joan April 9, 2013

I just wondered where you were from……reading your recipes in Winchester, England, I did a little double take when I saw a contibutor from Nelson BC but had even more of one when you mentioned growing up with Nanaimo bars…..a GREAT favourite when we head out to Canada (west coast) for the summer!

Joan

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151 Angela (Oh She Glows) April 9, 2013

Aren’t they tasty? I have a vegan recipe on my site if you are interested!

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152 Viola April 14, 2013

omg, omG, oMG, OMG! So yummy, so delectable! Love, love, love! My family said they tasted like a cross between super-sugary chocolate coconut bars I used to make for Christmas and pecan pie. I used date sugar instead since that is what I had on hand; otherwise, I made no other changes. Thank you Angela, for this amazing recipe!

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153 Carla May 27, 2013

These are fantastic! I made them with GF graham cracker crumbs and they were just as good. Angela your website is incredibly inspiring! Thank you!

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154 Kaitlin June 25, 2013

Just made these for the third time…can’t go wrong!

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155 Jana Cervinka June 26, 2013

I recently made these – absolutely delicious! I love that they are quick to make, right portion-sized, and a perfect treat.

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156 Claire June 27, 2013

Thanks so much for this recipe, it was the most perfect way for me to play around with my first bag of coconut sugar – I actually think these are the best thing I have ever made! I ended up using oats for the crust, which worked really well – though having said that I have never tried the graham cracker crust version so that might just blow my mind!

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157 Giraffe22 July 9, 2013

Yummy can’t wait to make them :) what’s the nutritional info versus regular bars?

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158 Trista Witherspoon July 17, 2013

I made these with gluten free graham crackers and they turned out amazing! I just put them in a food processor and blended until they were a nice crumbly consistency. This is a great recipe and will be kind in my book for years, thank you for sharing!

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159 Shelly July 17, 2013

Oh WOW! I make theese with the coconut milk condensed, been doing it for years. I loved theese as a child, and when when I became vegan 10 years ago I didn’t want to give them up so I used the coconut milk as a sub. I thought I invented it how funny! Nice to see others inventing just like me…hahaha!

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160 Lisa July 18, 2013

Ooohhh myyyy these were sooo gooooddddddd. I cut down the sugar in the coconut milk and it turned out fine. Condensed coconut milk is out of this world good. Who knew!

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161 Christy W. August 23, 2013

I used gluten free graham crackers for this a while back and forgot to post how awesome they turned out! Everyone loved them! I’m making them again tonight.

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162 Kate September 1, 2013

These were decadent. Going to try a batch using whole graham crackers (without crushing) similar to the “poor man’s bark or christmas bark” where they use some type of whole cracker. May grind a small amount of salt on top. Should be interesting…

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163 Kiran September 4, 2013

WOW THESE ARE GREAT!! They have that buttery richness that is so vital to a satisfying dessert, but without the butter! I am so blown away by your dessert recipes, and so is my non-vegan husband! Can’t wait to try out the next one :)

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164 Cindy November 24, 2013

These are SO good! I substituted vegan cane sugar for the coconut sugar (1/2 cup) and used Earthbalance margarine (vegan) for the coconut oil.
My only problem is I can’t stop eating them. Thank you for the recipe.

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165 Krista Foley December 7, 2013

I am gluten-free and love Kinnikinnick’s brand of gf graham crackers. This is a great recipe, I’ll just use the gf graham crackers and be set!
http://www.amazon.com/Kinnikinnick-Smoreable-Graham-Crackers-8-Ounce/dp/B003TO9RSU
I defintely plan to make these soon! And I love coconut sugar, too. Yum!

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166 Claire December 10, 2013

These were AMAZING. Seriously tasted just like the super unhealthy, processed, non-vegan ones I’ve had but BETTER and with less guilt! Great flavor and I love them just out of the fridge. I did the thick graham cracker crust and it is awesome… next time I’ll try maybe 1.5 cups almond flour, I think it would work really well too! I followed the recipe except I used sweetened coconut and white sugar since that’s all I had on hand. I think they would be best with unsweetened as they are very sweet, but either way – still so, so good. They will definitely be a crowd pleasing, go-to dessert!

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167 Becky December 19, 2013

Just a caution – this did NOT work for me substituting white sugar for the coconut sugar. I could not get the lite coconut milk to thicken – I finally gave up because I’d cooked it far longer than the instructions said to and thought maybe it really had “thickened slightly.” Apparently not – even after baking and cooling overnight, the bars did not solidify.

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168 Amy December 21, 2013

I have probably made these a dozen times now. Some of my favorite adaptations: I use my food processor to add dates to the coconut milk and sugar mixture, makes it more caramel-y; sometimes I add cocoa powder to the graham crackers for more chocolatey crust; I mix the pecans with flaked salt and toast them before adding. Thanks for your wonderful blog!

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169 Leslie January 21, 2014

Not sure if anyone has tried this yet, but I just made your “vegan and gluten-free graham crackers” recipe and used some of that dough as my graham cracker crust to make this recipe gluten-free. Just spread that into the pan, then topped it with the condensed coconut milk, and then the chocolate, coconut, and nuts.

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170 Buffy February 5, 2014

Almond flour mixed with sweetener and coconut oil or vegan butter makes a great graham cracker crust replacement for us gluten free folk…I’ve done it before. There is also the brand Knickiknick that makes GF Graham Crackers, but produces in a facility with milk so could have traces. I like the almond flour best…it works great and healthier.

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171 Bridget February 13, 2014

For a gluten/oat free crust this is what I tried with great results. I always use your almond oat crust, but I had to make it for friend who couldn’t eat oats. So, I changed the oat flour to 2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder and switched out the oats for 1/3 cup almonds and 2/3 cups of walnuts. So delicious! Thanks for these amazing recipes!

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172 Sarah May 29, 2014

Just made these. DELICIOUS! Made them with GF graham crackers. Used 1/2 butter & 1/2 coconut oil. Also only use 1/2C sugar and only 2 tbsp maple syrup and used dark chocolate chips just to cut down and it was still plenty sweet. Thanks for recipe…will definitely be making again!

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173 Marie-Claude November 16, 2014

Simply Deeeliciousss! :))

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174 Gina November 30, 2014

You are magical.. Haha I had eaten a coconut dream bar at work the other day that was made in a bakery and clearly was not even close to healthy. I knew I needed to recreate it in a healthy way because they were so good! These were literally spot on and tasted exactly like them! My family thinks they’re the best dessert I’ve made yet (and I make a lot of healthier desserts!) I love your recipes and will definitely continue to use you as my main source of ideas! Thanks so much, keep it up :)

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175 Pat January 4, 2015

I’ve made it twice, using a gluten free cereal (Nature’s Path Mesa Sunrise) as the base and it turned out fantastic!

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176 Pete January 21, 2015

I made these and decidedly couldn’t wait, because i wanted to see the difference the coconut oil and coconut sugar would make. So, i had one fairly soon after i made them. I thought hmm, not bad, but not really worth the fuss. I was disappointed and put them in the fridge. Both kids liked them, but also didn’t go crazy. Failed experiment right? Well, dinner time came and went on Day 2 and i took these out again and cut us a square. The first bite was….magical! They were phenomenal! Both girls looked at me with big eyes as if to say “holy cow – these are amazing!” Of course, they couldn’t speak because their mouths were jammed :) So yes, I’m advocating to wait a day after they’re made – it’s truly worth the wait!

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177 Paula October 1, 2015

These. Bars. Changed. My. Life.

I am actually in love. I’ve always loved hello dollies and since i became lactose intolerant I’ve been unable to eat desserts…which i love hehe. This may very well be the last dessert bar I ever try because I wont need another! I’m surprised at how well the coconut sugar worked with making condensed milk because I’ve tried making that homemade dairy free caramel sauce and i thought it was terrible…maybe I did something wrong but I’ve been skeptical of making condensed coconut milk since but wow did this recipe ever turn out well. 6 of my friends had a slice at supper last night and they all agree too!

GREAT recipe.

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178 mmwalk December 11, 2015

Have you stored these in the freezer? I was wondering if they freeze well. Make a batch now, freeze a batch for Christmas?

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179 Michelle Park December 17, 2015

Hi Angela, Magica Cookie Bars are a Christmas tradition in our house. We have used your gluten free graham cracker recipe for the cracker and then run them through the food processor and then continue with this recipe. The recipes work beautifully together! TWO thumbs up!

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