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Recipe

Healthy Carmelita Bars

Do you love a good dessert bar? These healthy carmelita bars are a healthier option for a dessert bar that people drool over. The caramel is made from coconut milk and the peanut butter and chocolate chips on the top are of the bar give you the classic carmelita bar flavors that everyone loves!

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
Author: Linley Richter
Yield: 9 bars 1x
Category: Dessert
Method: Oven
Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Crust and Crumble

  • 2.5 cups superfine almond meal
  • 1.5 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup room temp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Caramel Filling

  • Meat from 1 15-oz. can full-fat coconut milk*
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of fine sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour (option to sub cornstarch)

Toppings

  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and cover a 9×9-inch pan with parchment paper. Then, spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside. Place your can of coconut milk for the caramel filling into the refrigerator if you haven’t already done this.
  2. Add all ingredients for the crust and crumble into a large bowl. Mix well (you may have to use your hands) until all ingredients are combined. It should be crumbly, but come together when you press it.
  3. Next, take 2/3 of the crust and crumble mixture and use a spatula to press it to the bottom of the square baking sheet. If it’s easier to use your hands, you can do that too! Save the rest of the mixture for later.
  4. Place crust in the oven and bake at 350ºF for 15 minutes.
  5. While crust is baking, prepare the caramel filling by first scooping out the fat from the can of coconut milk can and placing it into a small saucepan (be sure not to pour the clear liquid part of the coconut milk into the pan).  Then, add in maple syrup, butter, vanilla, and sea salt.
  6. Turn heat to medium/high and bring to a boil, whisking frequently.
  7. When the mixture has come to a boil, turn the heat to low and add 1 tablespoon of tapioca flour at a time to the caramel filling. Try not to pour all the tapioca flour in at once or it will clump! Whisk frequently and then add the second tablespoon of tapioca flour.
  8. Whisk until the tapioca flour dissolves*. Remove from heat. If the caramel is sticky and creates a film on a metal spoon, the caramel is ready.
  9. When the crust is done in the oven, let it cool for about 5 minutes.
  10. Pour the caramel filling over the crust and then sprinkle on the remaining 1/3 of the crumble mixture evenly over the caramel.
  11. Lastly, evenly distribute chocolate chips and peanut butter chips over the caramel and crumble. Use your hands to gently press the chips into the caramel mixture.
  12. Place bars into the oven and bake at 350ºF for an additional 15 minutes.
  13. Remove from the oven and place in the refrigerator to cool for at least 2 hours before slicing.

Notes

  • *It’s easiest to skim the fat off of the coconut milk if you refrigerate your coconut milk before making this recipe.
  • *If the tapioca flour doesn’t dissolve remove from heat and pour caramel into a sieve to separate tapioca clumps from the flour.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/9
  • Calories: 463
  • Sugar: 26
  • Fat: 28
  • Fiber: 6
  • Protein: 12

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