Nirvana Bars- Chocolate & Coconut Bliss


This recipe is a family favorite- my chocolate-coconut cookie bar recipe. Simple to make. Sweet and gooey and bliss inducing. And most important? You can offer them at any gathering without a gluten-free apology. (Would that be, Don't ask, don't tell?) Bummed about the dairy in it? My son Alex has created his own casein-free version using condensed coconut milk. See his dairy-free recipe here.


Nirvana Bars Recipe

For Alex's last night home I made a batch of these wonderfully rich and decadent bars. Truthfully, they're more like candy than cookie. Gooey and divine, they made the men in the house simply go, "Ahhhhhhhh." "Nirvana?" I asked. "You betcha," was the lip-smacking reply.

Ingredients:


1/2 cup butter or vegan margarine, such as Smart Balance
1 1/2 cups gluten-free chocolate cookies, processed into crumbs
1 cup (heaping) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup chopped roasted almonds (I used salted because I like a sweet and salt combo)
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk

Instructions:


Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Place the butter in a 9x13-inch baking pan and set it in the oven until the butter is melted. Tilt the pan to coat the bottom evenly.

Sprinkle the cookie crumbs in the buttered pan and toss them to coat; press them into a layer. Pour the condensed milk in the pan. Add a layer of chocolate chips, then a layer of coconut, then almonds. Using the back of a spatula, press the mixture firmly into the pan.

I usually sprinkle a few extra chips on the top, and gently press them in. Why not?


Bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 to 25 minutes, until set.

Cool completely on a wire rack. Chill before cutting.

Makes 15 to 20 bars.

I usually mix it up and cut some larger, some smaller. And I always cut up a couple of "tiny bites" to wrap and freeze for a small, quick treat - when I crave something sweet, but don't need much.

I used Pamela's gluten-free chocolate cookies because I have to be gluten-free, but any cookie will work in this simple recipe.