Recently my family has decided to go on a mainly plant based, all organic, chemical and additive (unnatural) free diet. I’m definitely glad that we decided to make this change after researching the benefits of eating a whole food diet or barely processed foods and after seeing the effects that many chemicals in today’s foods have on the body and how many of them are not even tested I’m glad we decided to do our research. This journey is not only teaching me what is bad for me, but I’m also getting an insight into food and the foods that are best for our bodies and their benefits. It has only been about a week since we’ve made this change, but let me just say I feel great knowing that I am doing something good for my body and I feel my body is beginning its cleanse mode to get rid of all the yucky chemicals I’ve eaten in the course of my 19 years.
Just because we have changed our way of eating does not mean that any of us are completely regimented and won’t indulge in candy anymore that comes from a convenience store, or we won’t eat out because we don’t know exactly what is in our food. More so for us it is about doing what we can to do right by our bodies, which is just being sure to make a conscience effort to pay attention to what we are putting in our mouths and where it comes from as much as we can. Luckily for me I have been on a plant based diet before when I was vegan, so adjusting to all these ‘new’ health foods isn’t as new to me as it is my family, nevertheless eradicating all the chemicals from my diet is much harder, as many of the foods that claim to be ‘all natural’ or good for you are not. So be on the lookout for those little stinkers 😉
All of this conscious eating has lead me to realize that I should also work on not only making my daily diet healthier, but also trying to rid my desserts of chemicals and make the ingredients as healthy as possible, getting down to nature. Making desserts that are healthier, does not mean lower calories, which for some people is a turn off. For me I’d prefer to eat food that is not harming me and has a few more calories, than food that will spare me a few calories and will do damage to my body. So from now on most of my recipes will be centered on the idea that healthier is better than ‘skinnier’.
With this idea in mind I set out to develop my first recipe that would meet the criteria. I’ve been dying to make Magic Bars or as some people call them 7 Layer Bars (they are definitely Magic Bars though, as they are simply Magical) and so I decided to start there. These bars are FABULOUS. Did you catch that or should I say it one more time? FABULOUS. Oh yes they are!!!! These bars are soft and gooey with a strong coconut, caramel type flavor!
In place of the regular graham cracker and butter crust, which has no nutrients whatsoever, it has been replaced with almond flour, shredded coconut, and only a small amount of butter (3 tbsp) in comparison to the average 8-10 tbsp. The almond flour and shredded coconut both pack a nutritious punch and the butter.. well let’s pretend that didn’t happen. In place of the sweetened condensed milk I made my own using coconut milk, honey, and vanilla! Obviously that is not all health food there, but in comparison to sweetened condensed milk it is a million times better. The chocolate chips and butterscotch chips are a most to top these with. Again they don’t pack a nutrient punch, but they are necessary to get the flavor. The key to making these non-nutritious food better is buying ingredients that lack chemicals and are all natural. That is the key to feeling better about these. Also I loved these because they can easily be made vegan and they are Gluten Free!! (See modifications in recipe) Again these were great, so if you’re ready to try out your first healthy dessert start with this one!
(Gluten Free and can be made Vegan)
Source: Simplyliving.org – For Orignal Recipe Click Here
Recipe Modified by Me (Brooke B.)
Serving Size: 20
Calories: 133, Fat-10.9g (mostly healthy), Dietary Fiber- 1.1g, Protein- 1.4g
3/4 cup Blanched Almond Flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
3/4 cup Shredded Sweetened Coconut
1/2 tbsp Honey
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup Butter, unsalted (brands like Organic Valley are good to use for all natural)
1 can Full Fat Coconut Milk
2 tbsp Honey
1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup Butterscotch Chips (Guittard Brand is a healthy brand to use)
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips ( (Guittard Brand is a healthy brand to use)
1/4 cup Sweetened Shredded Coconut
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper, being sure it hangs over so you can lift the bars out. Mix all ingredients for crust together and pat down crust into the lined pan.*
2. Bake crust for 9 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow pan to cool on wire rack.
3. In a saucepan bring Coconut Milk, Honey, and Vanilla to a low boil on Medium heat. One it’s reached a boil reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for approximately 45 minutes being sure to stir frequently so it doesn’t burn.** (The mixture should be reduced to 3/4 cup when it is done cooking and should be quite thick.) Once it reaches this point allow Coconut Milk Mixture to cool slightly.
4. Pour 1/2 Coconut Milk Mixture over cooled crust, spreading it out evenly with a knife. Sprinkle Chocolate Chips, Butterscotch Chips, and half the Shredded Coconut, then pour the remaining Coconut Milk Mixture over the fillings and sprinkle with the remaining Shredded Coconut.
5. Bake bars for 25 minutes at 350. Once bars are finished cooking allow them to cool in pan on a wire rack for an hour, than put them in the freezer for an hour.***
6. Once they have done all that excessive cooling, lift bars out of pan and cut into 20 bars. Enjoy all the ooey, gooeyness that is this scrumptious bar!
Be sure to store these in the fridge or the crust will be soggy.
*Crust will seem very thin, but I promise it will be fine!
** Be sure to understand the difference between a simmer and a boil before beginning to make this. This Filling takes quite a while to make, so you don’t want to mess it up!
*** Don’t attempt to eat right out of the oven, or after just cooling them to room temp. I can not make any guarantees about taste or texture.