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Toasted Coconut, Caramel & Chocolate Shortbread Bars

A crisp shortbread crust is slathered with a blend of thick date caramel and toasted coconut. The final touch is a glossy drizzle of homemade chocolate.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Dessert
Servings: 20 bars
Author: Ashley Melillo | Blissful Basil

Ingredients

For the Shortbread Crust

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • ½ cup melted coconut oil (measured after being melted)
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Toasted Coconut and Caramel Layer

  • 2 cups shredded coconut (I use unsweetened)
  • 2 cups pitted and packed medjool dates (about 22 dates -- soft and wet)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp creamy almond butter*
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp sea salt

For the Chocolate Drizzle

  • 1 ounce raw cacao/cocoa butter (about 1 ½ tabespoons)**
  • 3 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup

Instructions

To Make the Shortbread Crust

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Add the rolled oats to a food processor and process for 3-4 minutes or until a fine flour is formed.
  • Add the oat flour, coconut flour, coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl. Gently mix with a spatula until incorporated.
  • Grease a 9x13 rectangular tart pan with coconut oil. Transfer the crust mixture to the pan. Using your hands, press the mixture evenly into the pan. Use a fork to poke 8-10 holes in the crust to allow it to vent as it bakes. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until just beginning to turn golden. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

For the Toasted Coconut and Caramel Layer

  • Spread the shredded coconut out over a baking pan. Bake, alongside the shortbread crust, at 350F for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown, stirring every few minutes.
  • While the coconut and shortbread are baking, add the pitted medjool dates, coconut oil, almond butter, vanilla, and sea salt to a food processor. Process for 3-4 minutes or until a thick caramel develops.
  • Transfer the caramel to a mixing bowl, and stir in the toasted coconut until incorporated. This isn't the easiest thing to stir, so bring your muscles and patience to the table.
  • Once the shortbread is completely cool, carefully spread the coconut-caramel over the top. I find it's easiest to use my hands to press the caramel into place.
  • Slice into bars of desired size.

To Make the Chocolate Drizzle

  • Add cacao butter, cacao powder, and maple syrup to a double boiler and heat over medium-low. Whisk together until melted and a smooth, creamy chocolate comes together. Let cool slightly.
  • If you have a heat-safe pastry bag, transfer the chocolate into the bag with a fine piping tip attached. Pipe the chocolate over each bar. If you don't have a heat-safe pastry bag, simply use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate over top. Let cool or refrigerate to set chocolate.

Notes

*For a nut-free version, use sunflower seed butter.
**If you prefer to skip the trouble of making a homemade chocolate, simply melt ½ cup dark chocolate along with a teaspoon or two of coconut oil, and drizzle the mixture over top.