A chocolate cookie base topped with chocolate chips, coconut, macadamia nuts and coated in homemade sweetened condensed coconut milk. Vegan Chocolate Chip Coconut Macadamia Nut Bars are melt in your mouth heaven. *This post is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill. Thank you for supporting brands that help make this site possible.
My oven comes on regardless of outside temperatures, although baking activities shift to early morning hours during the Summer.
Are you a Summer baker?
A few weeks ago I asked my friends on Instagram what they were in the mood for to soothe their sweet tooth. Abby, Rafaella, and Lindsay told me they were in the mood for chocolate. Jen told me she wanted something sweet and creamy yet dairy-free.
I’d been planning these bars since last December when I first laid my eyes on them at a little bakery in Kauai. I was inspired to recreate my own, so I got to work, then forgot about them for several months.
My IG friends gave me the nudge I needed to get this recipe moving again.
It’s been a while since I shared something chocolately. I’ve been on a blueberry kick, sharing Bluberry Lemon Curd Hand Pies last week and Mango Sangria with Frozen Blueberries and Blueberry Cinnamon Yogurt Coffee Cake the month before.
I could go on and on with blueberries but will save other recipes for next Summer.
For this recipe, a shortbread cookie base is made then baked while the homemade coconut-sweetened condensed milk bubbles on the stove. Both are chilled, then the layers are built: chocolate chips, coconut, milk, macadamia nuts and more milk. Bake again, cool, then drizzle with melted chocolate.
I’ve tested this recipe several times attempting to take shortcuts, such as skipping the cookie crust bake and only baking the bars once after adding all the layers. Also, I tried to skip chilling the homemade sweetened condensed milk before pouring it over the layers. This didn’t work because the hot milk melted the chocolate chips producing a barrier to the cookie layer instead of soaking through. The top was too gooey. #bakingproblems
In the end, I found, some things are just worth the time it takes to create them.
The structure of these bars remind me of chippy dippy squares my Ma used to make with sweetened condensed milk, chocolate and butterscotch chips that are over-the-top sweet. I’ve also seen something like those called magic bars. Have you heard of them?
Here’s the thing. This is a SWEET bar, but not as sweet as those chippy dippy squares and, probably magic bars. A little goes a long way, however, so instead of cutting them into 16 bars, go for 20! Using dark chocolate morsels, as opposed to mini chocolate chips, will reduce the sweetness as well.
Indulging in sweets is all about balance anyway.
I’m so excited to collaborate with and share brands with y’all that I trust and have been using for years. I’ve partnered with Bob’s Red Mill to bring these Vegan Chocolate Chip Coconut Macadamia Nut Bars to y’all! I love using their Organic Unbleached All Purpose Flour when baking tender treats like shortbread, pies, biscuits, cakes, and pizza dough. It’s high quality flour that’s sourced responsibly, has a silky texture and delicious flavor.
What’s your favorite sweet bar? I’d love to know! Share or drop a link below.
Vegan Chocolate Chip Coconut Macadamia Nut Bars
For the Cookie Base:
For the Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk (Yields about 1 cup or 256g):
- 1 C Mini Chocolate Chips or Dark Chocolate Morsels** 200g
- 1 C Shredded Coconut unsweetened, 100g
- 1 C Macadamia Nuts halves or rough chopped*, 150g
For Drizzle (optional):
- 3 Tbs Mini Chocolate Chips or Dark Chocolate Morsels
- 1/2 tsp Coconut Oil melted
For the Cookie Base:
Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Line an 8"x8" (20cm x 20 cm) baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl whisk the sugar, oil, and paste/extract throughly. It will be smooth. Sift in the flour, cocoa and sea salt and add the water. Use a spoon to mix until a shaggy, crumbly yet hydrated mixture forms. Press the dough into the pan in an even layer.
Bake at 350F for 28-30 minutes. The cookie crust will still be soft, but baked through. Pop in refrigerator to cool for at least 20 minutes.
For the Sweetened Condensed Milk:
Meanwhile, while the cookie crust is baking, in a medium sauce pan, whisk the coconut milk and sugar and heat on medium. When the edges of the milk start to bubble with a few in the middle, turn the heat low. It will continue to slowly bubble. Cook for about 20-30 minutes, whisking every 2-3 minutes reducing the milk by a little over 1/3. (Please note the time it takes to reduce down to one cup can vary depending on the temperature of your low setting. Additionally, because water content in coconut milk can very, this will also be a factor in reducing the milk. Just keep the temperature low and an eye on it.) You'll need one cup (256g) for the bars. If it starts to look somewhat caramel or gelatinous, it's over-cooked. We're going for a thicker consistency, but not a color change. To test, coat the back of a wooden spoon, blow on it to slightly cool, and run your finger through the middle. If the remaining milk stays pretty much in place, it's ready.
Remove the milk from the heat and sauce pan as soon as it's done cooking pouring it into a heat proof container (I use a Ball jar). Stir in the vanilla extract and place it in the freezer for about 30 minutes to cool, stirring occassionally.
To Assemble and Bake:
Once the cookie layer is cool, spread the chocolate chips in an even layer on top of the cookie layer. Top with an even layer of coconut. Drizzle about 1/2 C (128g) of the cooled condensed milk over the coconut layer. Top with macadamia nuts in an even layer, then drizzle another 1/2 C (128g) of condensed milk over the top of the nuts making sure the corners get attention too! You may have a bit of milk left over.
Bake at 350F for 25-28 minutes rotating the pan 1/2 way through baking. The nuts should be toasty and golden. Cool completely at room temperature, or pop it in the fridge for about an hour and a half to cool before drizzling and cutting.
For the Drizzle:
On the lowest heat setting, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, about 20 seconds at a time, stirring throughly after each period of warming. Stir in the melted coconut oil. Using a spoon or fork, scoop some melted chocolate up and drizzle over the bars.
Score the bars on any area that touches the baking dish with a knife then using the parchment as handles, lift the bars out of the pan. Cut into equal pieces. Store in a covered container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
*Look for raw or lightly toasted macadamia nuts. I've used unsalted and lightly salted maca nuts in this recipe. Both are fabulous!
**Look for Enjoy Life brand mini chocolate chips or Equal ExchangeOrganic Dark Dark Chocolate. I like the dark chocolate better because they aren't quite as sweet as the minis, and they're organic but they can be difficult to find.