Raw Caramel Cookie Bars (vegan, gluten free)

raw caramel bars down shot

There are times when life throws you curve balls and instead of taking a good cut at it, it hits you in the head. Okay, this is not a literal story but it is pretty darn close- figuratively and literally. But I’ll skip over those details. Let’s suffice to say that was my week in a nutshell and now I can’t seem to find time to cook. And despite how I crave to be creating meals in the kitchen I have had to redefine my efforts to match my ‘snacky’ healthy palate. This week, I returned to my new favorite food area of exploration – the world of raw, vegan. I can’t quite explain my infatuation in this realm but it feels unquenchable. The beauty of this recipe is that there is zero cooking involved. No refined sugar, no gluten and simply delicious.

The textures and flavors are spot on. A delicate bar cookie, with a layer of faux caramel, and a mild chocolate topper. To eat these practically feels like cheating- the hint of chocolate mixed with the creamy caramel layer rests gently on the course oatmeal almond crust. These are best kept chilled in the fridge and sliced into ½ inch sticks. To assemble takes 15 minutes.

caramel bars sliced

Raw Caramel Cookie Bars

Ingredients

COOKIE LAYER:

1 ½ cup gluten free oats

½ cup shredded coconut

¼ cup + 2 TBS almond, ground

1 ½ TBS maple syrup

1 ½ TBS water

1 ½ TBS coconut water

CARAMEL LAYER:

10 Medjool dates, pitted

½ cup creamy almond butter

1 ½ TBS maple syrup

3 TBS vanilla

CHOCOLATE LAYER:

3 TBS coconut oil, melted

3 TBS maple syrup, melted

3 TBS cocoa powder

Directions

Prepare a square 8×8 inch pan lined with wax paper or alternatively an 8-inch round spring form pan can be used. If using wax paper make sure the edges of the paper hang over so that the cookies can be easily removed from the pan before slicing.

In a food processor or high-powered blender combine all ingredients for the cookie layer. Blend well until sticky. Press into base of pan. To make the caramel layer, combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Refrigerate while preparing chocolate. To prepare the chocolate layer, melt all ingredients together either over low heat in a small pan or in the microwave. Stir until smooth and then pour over chilled mixture. Refrigerate until set, slice and serve.

Note: If not eating immediately, these are best kept fresh in an air tight container, refrigerated for up to 10 days.

COOKIE LAYER

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CARAMEL LAYER

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CHOCOLATE LAYER

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READY TO DEVOUR!

caramel bars pie cut

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