Gluten-free + vegan candy bars. Because life needs them.
Mr. So Much Yum loves candy bars (and likely eats more of them than I even know of…) so I decided it was time to create some homemade ones! I have a feeling I’m just diving in to a long and enjoyable relationship with candy bar making…
One of my personal favorites growing up was Twix. A crunchy shortbread cookie layer topped with buttery, rich caramel and covered in a sweet chocolate blanket. What’s not to like?
So, inspired by my fond childhood memories, a Twix-reminiscent treat is the first candy bar to hit the So Much Yum blog! This version is a bit more on the healthy side than the original candy bar, though. And with a sassy coconut-y flavor profile!
Hello, coconut caramel bliss.
There are three elements to these candy bars – all relatively easy to make. First, the shortbread cookie!
Yep, vegan + gluten-free shortbread cookies are a thing. Huzzah! And they are the base layer of our candy bars.
Only six ingredients are needed – coconut flour, almond flour, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and salt. And they can be made in less than 20 minutes!
The thing to note is that the coconut oil needs to be soft, but not melted. You want it somewhere between liquid and hard crumbles you have to chip off with a knife. If the oil is completely melted, it alters the dough consistency too much.
Do your best to mix in the soft coconut oil as much as possible, trying not to leave any large chunks of it unincorporated. Don’t stress too much, little specks are fine! But just be aware that any larger pieces will melt while baking and leave small craters in the finished cookies. Which honestly isn’t a big deal because you’re going to slather the cookies with caramel.
Speaking of caramel, let’s discuss.
One-ingredient caramel, yes please!
It’s the same date caramel as is used in my 4-Ingedient Peanut Butter Caramel Truffles, which is just dates ground into a sticky paste with a food processor! Easy peasy. Moving on.
The chocolate. This final component is my typical chocolate mixture (like I’ve used here, here and here). It’s simply (non-dairy) chocolate chips + coconut oil! And I don’t even deal with a double-boiler to melt the mixture. I’m all about saving time (and minimizing dishes to wash) where I can, so microwave it is! Just keep an eye on your chocolate while heating it + stir every 30 seconds. Burned chocolate is not a pleasant smell to have lingering in your house…
My candy bar-loving husband gave these babies an enthusiastically positive review, as did his firefighter coworkers (who didn’t even know they were vegan + gluten-free). And I hope you will too! They would be a perfect special treat to make ahead for a Super Bowl party (or any kind of party) to really impress your friends! Like, hey, I made candy bars. I’m a rockstar. No big deal. Enjoy.
- ⅓ cup almond flour
- ⅓ cup coconut flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup coconut oil, soft (but not melted)
- 1 cup pitted dates, packed
- 12 oz. (~2 cups) non-dairy chocolate chips
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- First, make the shortbread cookies. Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Whisk together the almond flour, coconut flour and salt. Add maple syrup and vanilla, and stir until a crumbly mixture forms.
- Add coconut oil and continue to stir/mash the mixture until well combined, use your hands if needed. Some very small chunks of coconut oil may remain. The mixture will still look slightly crumbly, but should hold together when pressed between your fingers.
- Press the dough together and transfer to parchment paper or clean, non-stick surface. Form into a small rectangle about ¼ inch thick. Use a sharp knife to cut dough into 12 smaller rectangles. Carefully transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving a little space between each piece.
- Bake for 10-11 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer parchment paper with cookies to wire rack and let cool completely.
- Next, make the caramel. In a food processor, add the dates and process until uniform in texture and a sticky, caramel-like mixture is achieved. Scrape down the sides as needed to ensure all date pieces are processed.
- Spread date caramel evenly onto cooled cookies. Place in freezer for 30 minutes to set the caramel.
- Once the bars are set, prep the chocolate. In a microwave-safe bowl, add the chocolate chips and coconut oil. Microwave in 30-second increments, stirring between each, until fully melted.
- Use a fork to dunk each bar into the melted chocolate and tap off the excess, and return to the parchment paper.
- Place bars in the refrigerator to set for 20-30 minutes, then serve and enjoy!