Saturday, April 19, 2014

Gluten-Free Caramel Chocolate Cookie Bars

It used to be, during Passover, you had some matzo and some macaroons and you were grateful for it.  Now, Passover recipes are all kinds of fancy. I was kind of skeptical of these cookie bars when I found them looking for desserts to make for our Seder, but they really did taste just like a chocolate chunk cookie bar. And since we have run out of them, I decided to make some more, but my way.

And yes, these have no gluten because you can't have any grains during Passover, so they are the perfect treat for your Gluten-Free Friends (your GFFs ;) and coworkers (or for you, they are great for you too). AND they don't take all those different flours to make gluten free foods seem gluteny. Just five easy ingredients.

What you'll need:

2 cups of almond meal. (You can either buy it ground or grind your own. If you are making these for someone GF, please, make sure the bag assures there is no gluten.)
1 cup of brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup of GF caramel chocolate candies (I used Milk Duds- you can also use any gluten free candy you think would go well or chocolate chunks)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

You'll also need:

Optional: Chocolate chunks (it needs more chocolate! about 1/2 cup) and salt (to balance all the sweet, about 1/4 teaspoon)

Mixing bowl and spoon (or electric mixer)
8x8 baking pan
Parchment paper (if you don't use this, you may have to chip your bars out of your pan)

This really couldn't be much easier.

Preheat your oven to 375 F - Prepare your baking pan with parchment paper. Wrestle with it for a while, if you are anything like me.

Measure your 2 cups of almond meal and 1 cup of packed brown sugar in your bowl and then mix them to combine.

Add two eggs and a teaspoon of vanilla to your almond mixture, and stir until you get a thick sticky batter.

Stir in your candy pieces (Apparently I forgot to take a picture of this *sigh*).

Now, wrestle with that parchmented pan again, to get that REALLY thick batter to fill the pan evenly. Seriously, this might take a bunch of your patience, so if you are having a bad day, try to get someone else to do this part for you, unless yelling obscenities at raw cookies is one of your favorite ways to relieve stress (It isn't really all that hard, it just takes a little time, and patience... and cursing - I KID).

Once they are level, I like to cut down my parchment paper so my stove doesn't light it on fire.

Bake these for about 25 minutes. The original recipe warns like a billion times, DON'T UNDER COOK THEM. I am not entirely sure what happens if you undercook them, but they seemed pretty adamant about it, so I think I didn't undercook them... because nothing dire happened to them after baking them only 25 minutes. You want them to look more cookie-ish and less raw-ish when you take them out, and 25 minutes does that in my oven.

Now, let them cool, then, pull up on your parchment, which should pop these right out of the pan, and cut them into portions. They are very rich, so smaller might be better, but these are your cookie bars so you cut them however you want.

Now pour yourself a glass of milk and enjoy the heck out of your easy gluten-free treat!

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