Thursday, April 12, 2012

Paleo Magic Cookie Bars


I have shared in the past the business I'm getting off the ground; Real Kids Eat Spinach is aimed at healthy family food, and I ultimately hope to publish cookbooks as well as create my own line of energy bars free of grains/gluten, dairy and refined sugar.

I will sheepishly confess that when I once shared RKES on the Primal Blueprint forum, I got SLAMMED by a couple of Paleo fanatics that I feed my kids such abhorrent foods as brown rice.

Here's the skinny: I follow a Paleo lifestyle. I think about every bite I serve my kids. The only gluten they consume under my roof is in sprouted Ezekiel bread; they do still eat things such as brown rice pasta, quinoa, organic string cheese and Greek yogurt. I've never proclaimed that my kids are 100% cave kids, nor do I think that Paleo is practical or necessary for EVERYONE.

If this declaration has offended you, I'm sorry... but I'd rather be honest! The point of this diatribe is to declare that I'm committed to educating my family and readers about nutrition. Through Real Kids Eat Spinach I hope to teach people how to take baby steps, not necessarily overhaul their whole lives and kitchen. I aim to encourage avoiding gluten and dairy with healthy food substitutions, to read labels, avoid processed junk and get cooking!

I'm always excited when I can present Paleo dishes to my mainstream audience. I've come up with flourless carrot muffins, pot pie with an almond flour crust, chocolate avocado pudding... not to mention answered questions about alternative flours/ingredients and introduced some of my favorite Paleo-friendly sites and books.

Yesterday I was ecstatic to share one of my faves, and wanted to do the same on here lest you're unfamiliar with She Cooks, He Cleans. Beyond the greatness of the blog name, Nancy's recipes and photographs of her Paleo creations are fabulous. Every recipe I have tried has been delicious, particularly yesterday's Paleo Magic Cookie Bars.

I made the recipe pretty close to how it's written, but thought I'd type it out with what I did:

Paleo Magic Cookie Bars
recipe adapted from She Cooks, He Cleans

crust


1 cup total ground nuts (I used 1/2 cup almond meal, 1/2 cup chestnut flour)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 tbs. melted coconut oil

crust mixture


toppings


1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, pulsed in food processor until fine
1/2 cup chopped raw nuts of choices (I used cashews and almonds)
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup palm sugar
2 tbs. coconut oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup dairy-free mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.

Heat coconut milk and sugar over medium heat in a heavy saucepan, stirring frequently. Once milk begins to bubble, lower to a simmer. Allow to cook for about 30 minutes, stirring often, to allow the mixture to reduce and caramelize. Once thickened, add coconut oil and vanilla (allowing oil to melt). Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, make crust by combining all ingredients and pressing into the bottom of an 8x8 baking dish.

I got a groovy new bar pan on clearance at Target... no cutting required! ;)
Sprinkle chocolate chips, nuts and coconut in an even layer over top. Pour the caramelized coconut milk over the top and bake for 25-30 minutes, until browned.


Allow to set for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator before slicing and serving.

I've already had quite a few posts and emails with readers who are dying to try this one! Score one for showing "the masses" just how delicious Paleo can be...

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