The cookie with an identity crisis, my grandma would make Magic Cookie Bars (or Hello Dolly or 7 Layer Bars or…) from a worn magazine recipe and because they were so easy, I quickly learned how to make them, too. Their salty-sweet flavor has made them by far my favorite cookie of all time. But these Paleo Magic Cookie Bars are extra special since not only are they as delicious as the original recipe, they are made without refined sugar, dairy or grains.
Paleo Magic Cookie Bars Are Great Anytime
Magic Cookie Bars (or whatever you want to call them) are pretty much all the same – layer upon layer of chocolate, coconut, nuts and caramelly goodness. I mean what’s not to love! And while most people associate them with Christmas baking, because of their popularity, they are bake sale heroes. Moreover, they are sturdy enough for picnics, potlucks and camping. Refrigerate and store in a single layer if you are traveling a long distance and they will be just right when you arrive.
How are Paleo Magic Cookie Bars Different from the Traditional Ones?
The traditional recipe calls for layers of graham cracker crust, pecans, coconut, and chocolate chips. (Not sure how this equates to seven layers but this is how it is.) For my Paleo version, I am using a crust that tastes very similar to graham cracker crust but contains only almond flour and no grains. That is followed by almond butter, walnuts, sweetened tahini paste, coconut, chocolate chips and coconut milk caramel. This actually happens to be seven layers and I didn’t realize that until I started counting them.
Tips for Making Paleo Magic Cookie Bars
- In regards to the Paleo status, I don’t make these frequently so I just buy Target Simply Balanced organic chocolate chips because they are soy free but if you want these to be truly Paleo, use Hu brand chocolate gems or Lily’s stevia sweetened chocolate chips or another brand that is sweetened with no refined or cane sugar.
- You can use the caramel in the recipe below or you can use my Paleo Sea Salt Caramel Recipe if you already have a stash in your fridge.
- Don’t have but want a caramel sauce stash? It just so happens that one full can of coconut milk is almost 2 cups so you can triple the ingredients for the caramel in the recipe below and have some leftover for ice cream sundaes (speaking of ice cream…check out my Paleo Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream.)
- Freeze them before going to a summer party to make sure they don’t turn to total goo (although is caramel chocolate goo really that bad?)
- To make these vegan, the only two changes you need to make is to use a vegan butter in the caramel such as Miyokos Creamery (the only one I can recommend with good conscious) and use maple syrup instead of honey in the crust.
Paleo Magic Cookie Bars
2/3 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp ghee, butter or dairy free butter such as Miyokos Creamery
1/4 tsp sea salt
- Crust Layer
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 cup coconut
1/4 cup coconut oil
3 tbsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1 big pinch sea salt
- Tahini Layer
1/4 cup tahini paste
1/4 cup maple syrup
- Other Ingredients
1/2 cup almond butter
2/3 cup pecans or walnuts
2/3 cup plus 2 tbsp unsweetened finely shredded coconut
1 cup chocolate chips (For strict Paleo, look for those that have no refined sugar)
Sea Salt for sprinkling
- Caramel Layer
- Bring the coconut milk and maple syrup to a rolling boil then lower heat to medium and let simmer until it is very thick.
- Whisk in butter and sea salt and set aside to cool.
- Crust Layer
- While Caramel is reducing, make crust.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a 9×9″ square pan with parchment paper.
- Mix the crust ingredients together and press evenly into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown on the edges.
- Tahini Layer
- Mix the tahini and maple syrup together in a small bowl and set aside.
- Spread the almond butter on top of the crust evenly.
- Top with nuts then drizzle the tahini mixture evenly over the nuts.
- Top the tahini with 2/3 cup coconut then the chocolate chips.
- Drizzle caramel over the top making sure the layers are covered as evenly as possible.
- Sprinkle with sea salt and the remaining 2 tbsp coconut
- Bake for 10-15 minutes or until bubbly around the edges.
- Let cool completely before cutting into squares.