Sunday, August 28, 2011
Allergy-Free Seven Layer Bars
Ready for something you'll want to eat with a spoon straight out of the pan? (Not that I've ever done that!) Seven Layer Bars are a well-known traditional dessert that typically contain butter and sweetened condensed milk, along with crushed graham crackers, which are made with wheat. We were thrilled to discover that we could find easy substitutes for all these allergenic ingredients, and the result might even be more delicious than the original!
For the graham crackers, we found a gluten-free brand called S'morables by Kinnikinnick Foods that are gluten-free, corn-free, and dairy-free. The chocolate chips were easy -- there are a number of gluten-free, dairy-free brands at our local supermarket. Instead of butter, we used coconut oil, and instead of sweetened condensed milk, we made our own by cooking down coconut milk and maple syrup. Our nut allergies are to cashews and peanuts, so we used pecans for that layer. The finished product looked just like it should, and after we let them set in the fridge for a while, the texture was right too. Score! It's so nice to be able to eat one of our favorite treats again... we almost feel normal again :)
Allergy-Free Seven Layer Bars
1 can coconut milk
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil
8 oz. gluten-free graham crackers (one package of S'moreables)
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup pecans, chopped
2 cups flaked coconut
Caramelizing the coconut milk takes 30 minutes, so start this first. In a small saucepan on the stove, mix together the can of coconut milk and the maple syrup. Warm over low to medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring often, until the mixture thickens.
Meanwhile, heat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. In an 8x8" baking dish, place the coconut oil, then set in the oven for a few minutes until it melts. Remove from oven and begin to add the other layers, being careful not to touch the dish with your bare hands as you work.
Crush the graham crackers into a powder, and spread over the bottom of the baking dish. Pat down gently. No need to stir -- the oil will soak into the crumbs after a few minutes.
Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the cracker crust, then the pecans. When the coconut milk has thickened, pour it over the other layers. Finish with a layer of flaked coconut.
Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool before cutting (or not -- these taste great warm -- you'll just need a spoon). For firmer bars, let set in the fridge at least 1 hour.
(Note: These aren't marked vegan because the graham crackers we used had honey in them, but if you can find another brand that doesn't, you can call your bars vegan!)
(I've also made these with Rice Krispies when we were out of graham crackers.)
Shared with Pink Saturday on How Sweet the Sound and Sweet Indulgences Sunday at A Well-Seasoned Life and Just Something I Whipped Up at The Girl Creative and Pink Dandy Sunday Blog Hop on Pink Dandy Chatter and Sweet Link Party on Little Rays of Sunshine and Whatcha Got Weekend at LollyJane Boutique and Sweets This Week at Sugar Bananas and Motivate Me Monday at Keeping It Simple and Tuesday Confessional at Confessions of a Stay at Home Mom and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free and Tea Party Tuesday at Sweetology and Tasty Tuesday at Naptime Creations and Making The World Cuter Monday and What I Made Wednesday at Sweet Peas and Bumblebees and Wow Me Wednesday at Ginger Snap Crafts and Sweet Tooth Friday at Alli & Son and Recipe Sharing Monday at Jam Hands and Crazy Sweet Tuesday at Crazy for Crust and Cast Party Wednesday at The Lady Behind the Curtain and the Dessert Recipe Linky at Joy of Desserts and Cookie Exchange 2011 at Art of Dessert and Allergy Free Wednesday at Tessa the Domestic Diva and Metamorphosis Monday and Wow Us Wednesday.