Triple Layer Cookie Bars

Alright, I’ll confess, there is absolutely nothing healthy about these cookie bars. But I’m returning to school and will be giving away most of them so I decided to go all out and assume that every single calorie will be worth it. With an ingredients list like that, how could they not be absolutely delicious? No guilt!

Triple Layer Cookie Bars (taken from Yummly)

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cup fine graham cracker crumbs
  • 7 oz shredded coconut flakes
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a pan with parchment paper (the original recipe suggested 9×13 but I chose 7×11 because I wanted thicker bars)
Melt the butter in the microwave and pour into the lined pan. Sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs evenly over the melted butter. Top with the coconut and then pour the sweetened condensed milk over the top and smooth.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
In a saucepan over low heat melt the peanut butter and chocolate chips, stirring constantly until smooth and creamy. Pour over the baked bars.
Allow to cool completely (refrigerating speeds it up) before cutting into bars. Store in an airtight container.

Homemade Almond Joys

Today I learned that I am not meant to be a candy maker. While I was happy to make my dad a homemade version of his favorite candy, these Almond Joys were kind of a pain. The coconut insides were fragile and covering them with melted chocolate was a bit too tedious for my liking. That being said, for those inclined toward candy-making, this recipe is great and definitely worth a try (and the pictures on the original site are absolutely adorable). Everyone loved these Almond Joys… even if I did give up after only making a dozen. These candies are also gluten-free (and vegan if made with coconut oil as called for in the original recipe and vegan chocolate chips).

Homemade Almond Joys (taken from Oh Lady Cakes and altered slightly)

Makes 20 candies (I halved the original recipe, which is supposed to make 60 candies, but I only ended up with enough coconut mixture to make 20)

  • 1 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 6 tbsp brown rice syrup
  • 1 cup gluten-free chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp Country Crock butter spread (the original recipe calls for coconut oil, but I didn’t have any on hand)
  • 20 almonds

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a small mixing bowl, mix shredded coconut with brown rice syrup until combined. Using a 1/2 tablespoon measuring scoop, drop mounds of the coconut mixture onto the cookie sheet. Press almonds into the tops and chill in freezer for at least 30 minutes.

In a small saucepan, bring about an inch of water to a boil. Set a large glass bowl over the pan (it should not touch the water) and melt 1/2 cup of chocolate chips, stirring occasionally. When chips are mostly melted, remove from heat and stir in the remaining chocolate chips. Mix vigorously until completely melted. Add the coconut oil/butter and whisk for 1-2 minutes.

Using a fork, dip each coconut mound into the chocolate and use a spoon to cover the top with chocolate. Tap fork to remove excess chocolate as much as possible and transfer to plate covered in wax or parchment paper (or back onto the original cookie sheet). Repeat for the remaining coconut mounds. Chill candy in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes until completely hardened.