Friends, today I’m re-sharing one of my faaaaavorite recipes, Nut Free Coconut Seven Layer Magic Bars! I originally posted it way back when I only had approximately two regular readers (hi Mom & Dad!) and I finally got around to taking some new (and much improved photos) so I wanted to update it. But honestly, these bars are so addictive and delicious and perfect for anyone who has nut allergies that hopefully you won’t mind reading about them twice! Enjoy!
I had to bring a dessert to a ladies’ night out recently and decided to go with these Dulce de Leche Coconut Bars because I haven’t made them in a while. You might be familiar with Seven Layer Bars, right? Once upon a time, this was a Seven Layer Bar recipe. But after O’s diagnoses with peanut and tree nut allergies, I had to adapt it to be safe and peanut/tree nut free. Over time I ended up changing some amounts and ingredients so they became a little more coconutty and caramel-y and now they are chewy and addictive. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
(As an aside,because this is a question I get a lot, coconut is NOT a tree nut. There seems to be some disagreement over whether it’s a fruit or a seed but according to my allergist anyway, it is not a nut that people with tree nut allergies generally need to worry about. BUT to add to the confusion, for some reason, the FDA does classify coconut as a tree nut so sometimes things containing coconut have tree nut warnings on them. As always, if you have food allergies, talk to you doctor if you have questions about any food.)
Anyway, back to Nut Free Coconut Seven Layer Magic Bars!
Coconut Seven Layer Magic Bars
13 graham crackers
8 Tablespoons (1 stick) of butter, melted
1 cup of mini semisweet chocolate chips, divided in half (I use Enjoy Life brand which are peanut, tree nut and dairy free)
1 1/2 cups of Rice Krispies
1 cup of shredded sweetened coconut
2 14 oz. cans of sweetened condensed milk
1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract
Line a baking sheet with foil and spread out the shredded coconut. Toast at 350 degrees for about ten minutes, stirring frequently and watching carefully.
You should probably taste it, you know, just to make sure it tastes ok, right?!
Next prepare an 8″ x 8″ baking dish with a parchment paper sling. This is so you can get the bars out of the pan later. Basically you take one long rectangle of parchment a little wider than your baking dish in one direction and lay it down, pushing it into the corners like this:
Then do it again in the opposite direction:
Mine looks a little funny because all we had was that weird stuff that’s parchment paper on one side and foil on the other. It’s not my favorite. But anyway, once you have your sling, make sure there are no gaps in the corners and then butter the parchment paper thoroughly.
Next you’ll make the graham cracker crust. (Aside: does it get better than graham cracker crust? I think not!) Break up 13 graham crackers and put them in a food processor.
Pulse until you get fine crumbs.
Drizzle in the melted butter while the food processor is running
Mix until it’s evenly incorporated and starts to stick together.
Pour the crumbs into your baking dish and use a small measuring cup to pat them down into an even layer.
Bake for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees.
While the crust is cooking mix your two cans of sweetened condensed milk with 1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract.
As soon as the crust comes out of the oven, sprinkle 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips evenly over the top.
After about five minutes, the chocolate chips will be soft, gently spread them out with a rubber spatula.
Layer 1 1/2 cups of Rice Krispies over the top, sprinkle on the rest of the chocolate chips and then add 1 cup of your toasted coconut over that.
Then pour the sweetened condensed milk/vanilla mixture over the top.
When you put it in to the oven (still at 350 degrees) it will look like this:
Bake for about 30 minutes until the top turns golden brown (this is the Dulce de Leche part) and then it will look like this:
Let the bars cool for at least two hours, if they are still warm or not all the way firm, put them in the fridge for a while. When they feel firm, carefully and slowly lift the bars out of the baking dish using your parchment sling and put them on a cutting board. It may be sticky, just go slowly. Using a big sharp knife, cut into squares. If it’s too sticky, clean the knife with hot water between cuts.
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