Gluten free, vegan caramel bars
Gluten Free, vegan caramel bars.
About 10 years ago I worked at a small local grocery store that made the best – I mean THEE best combination of gluten and dairy (ok maybe I had some chocolate pie once that closely rivaled it but still…) EVER….too bad for me gluten and dairy hate me, eggs hate my son, so I couldn’t just go buy one…hmmmm :) 10 years later I made it my mission to closely recreated the secret (never was able to get the recipe since bakery wasn’t my department) delicious caramel bar recipe and here it is :)
Cookie crust bottom
In a large bowl mix together the following:
1 cup GF graham cracker crumbs (I use Kinnikinnick brand, which contains honey, which is not considered by some to be a vegan ingredient)
1/2 cup oat flour (I use Only Oats brand which is gluten-free)
1 TBS white Chia seeds, measured first and then ground
Set aside and combine the following in a small sauce pan over medium heat:
3 TBS sugar
1/4 cup vegan margarine
1 TBS thick syrup (corn syrup, maple butter, golden syrup – you can also use agave )
Warm these up untill melted and combined and add
3 TBS virgin coconut oil
Whisk together and heat about 2 more minutes, whisking the whole time. I find the coconut oil doesn’t really mix in but don’t worry it does in the end. Next time I make these I will take pics, you want bubbles through out the mix – lightly caramelized I would call it…remove from heat and add:
a splash (about 1/2 to 1 TBS) of vanilla, and stir (this is where it comes together) Keep whisking and pour over dry ingredients, mix well and press into a square pan (8×8 I think, or 9×9).Lined with parchment or wax paper. Press it flat and press it hard. Set aside.
In a large deep pan mix together:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup coconut cream or full fat coconut milk (the only ingredients should be coconut and water)
1/2 cup golden syrup (you can use agave or honey or any other syrup but they respond differently and will produce slightly different results, golden syrup can be found at most grocery stores)
Set your temp to a soft medium, and grab a coffee or wine cuz you will be here for about 20 mins, it’s essential not to burn the caramel, if you burn it; it is garbage, so I suggest a lower heat and pretty much constant stirring – you could bump up your heat to a true medium or 1 or 2 notches above it but I don’t recommend it. This is an easy caramel recipe as far as caramel goes…but caramel always needs your attention.
So coffee or wine in hand stay by your caramel and stir, it will begin to change color and smell delicious. I lost my candy thermometer so I had to do this old school, like my mom taught me – cook it to a soft ball stage. Get a nice big bowl filled with water and ice, and after about 8 minutes or so take a little spoonful and pour it in, it will sink and disintegrate :) it is not ready…the softer the ball the softer your caramel, but the spoonful should form into a grab-able ball (I have a candy thermometer coming soon so I will update with temps next time I make it). Keep stirring, don’t let it burn. Once you get a nice soft ball remove from heat and add
1 TBS vegan Margarine and 1/2 TBS pure vanilla extract and stir untill combined, pour over your crust. Chill for about half an hour.
Melt (you can microwave, or use a double boiler, or low heat on your stove. I use a little chocolate melter – best $30 bucks I ever spent!)
Melt together 1/2 cup of vegan chocolate chips (I use enjoy life brand)
with 2 TBS vegan shortening (I use earth balance, I don’t recommend the butter flavour for the chocolate, use the plain stuff)
Pour over caramel layer and return to fridge.
Cut and serve store in fridge – ENJOY my kids told me – “No changes mom! These are awesome!” :) Awww thanks guys :) I hope you love it as much as we did (it’s gone already lol less than a day, they are that good)!