Today, I’m revising an old recipe from my grandma’s (maternal) recipe box that she gifted to me about a year or so ago. She’s been a big influence on my baking style ever since I was little. She has celiac disease, so she hasn’t baked much lately. She continued to bake when I was younger. She would also bake things gluten-free sometimes. Usually though, she would still make things with regular flour for special occasions. She was always great with entertaining.
One cookie that I absolutely love to make during the holidays is a 7 layer bar cookie. I’m sure this isn’t an alien dessert for many people: graham cracker crust, layers of chocolate and butterscotch chips with a gooey texture and deliciously sickeningly sweet taste. Ring a bell? =P
Since going vegan, I haven’t really attempted to make these cookies. The original recipe calls for sweetened condensed milk, which binds the bar together and gives it a tooth-decaying sweetness. This cookie isn’t actually made from scratch. The recipe basically tells you to layer store-bought ingredients and then bake them together (Sandra Lee style, if you will).
I decided that, as appealing as these cookies are originally, they deserve a modern and healthy make-over. I looked at every layer and thought, “That could be healthier.”
I basically made a no-bake bar cookie that took about 30 minutes to put together and an hour to set in the freezer. It may not be as quick as pouring and baking would be, but it’s certainly worth it for the health benefits and lower processed food content.
Everything in this cookie can be substituted for any allergies. All ingredients are minimally processed. I also used strictly coconut sugar so as to lower the sugar crash effect of the original recipe. Feel free to use any type of nut/nut butter if you don’t like peanuts. This kind of tastes like a healthy snickers bar, if you’re into that. I certainly am. 😉
Healthy No Bake 7 Layer Bars
Free of: Gluten (*Can be nut/soy free with substitutions)
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
- 3/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1 Tb liquid sweetener (I used vegan honee)
- 3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips*, divided
- 1 cup vegan butterscotch (recipe follows)
- 1/4 cup non-dairy milk/coconut water+1 Tb shredded coconut+1 Tb chia seeds
- 1/2 cup raw peanuts
Vegan Butterscotch Sauce
- 2 Tb coconut oil
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla paste/extract
- Add peanut butter and shredded coconut to a stand mixer with the paddle attachment OR your food processor.
- Pulse until somewhat incorporated and mixture is clumping a bit.
- Add the liquid sweetener to bind and pulse until the mixture sticks together.
- In a small saucepan, add all ingredients for the butterscotch sauce. Heat them on med-low until a rapid simmer occurs.
- Simmer and stir constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon for about 6 minutes or until the mixture has thickened and turned a deep caramel color. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Mix all the ingredients for the chia mixture together in a small cup or bowl and let sit while you prepare your bar assembly.
- Grease/line a 9×5 loaf pan with oil/parchment.
- Press your peanut butter mixture into the bottom of the pan and make sure to smooth it out.
- Layer half of the chocolate chips on top of the “crust”.
- Pour half of the butterscotch on top of the chocolate chips.
- Add the chia mixture on top of the butterscotch and smooth to even it out.
- Add peanuts on top of the previous layer.
- Cover the peanuts with the remaining butterscotch sauce.
- Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top of the butterscotch layer.
- Put the loaf pan in the freezer to set for an hour (or the fridge overnight).
- Slice up the bars however you’d like! 😉 Enjoy!