Chocolate Chip Macaroon Oatmeal Cookie Bars

macaroon oat bars

Snow.

If you live in New England, you don’t want to hear about it because you’re living amidst this never-ending Snowmageddon; and if you live elsewhere, you don’t want to hear about it because you’ve been inundated with plaintive updates on social media for the past month.

So, let’s talk about these cookie bars instead, yes?!

macaroon oat bars

Chewy in the center, crispy around the edges, these coconutty cookie bars dotted with dark chocolate chips are healthy and delicious. They have only a handful of ingredients and are a cinch to whip up.

macaroon oat bars

I like them soft at room temperature, but John prefers them straight from the fridge; the coconut butter firms up and the bars take on a consistency that tiptoes the line between cookie and fudge.

If you’re a sucker for fresh-from-the-oven cookies, toss a bar (or two) into the toaster oven or microwave until the chocolate starts to melt.

Or, you could go the completely opposite way and not bake the dough at all; there are no eggs in the recipe, so you could roll the dough into balls and refrigerate them until the coconut butter sets up for a no-bake treat.

macaroon oat bars

However you decide to eat them, you are going to love these cookie bars…

macaroon oat bars

… and they might even make you forget that we still have another month plus of winter.

macaroon oat bars

 

Chocolate Chip Macaroon Oatmeal Cookie Bars

by Lauren Zembron

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients (16 bars)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line an 8 x 8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper going both ways, leaving a bit overhanging the sides of the pan.

In a food processor, process 2 2/3 cups (8 oz) shredded coconut for about 5-8 minutes, until a thick, smooth coconut butter forms, scraping down the sides as needed (this will yield 1 cup of coconut butter).

Combine the coconut butter and all of the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Stir until well-combined.

Spread the dough in an even layer into the prepared baking pan. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges and slightly puffed. The center will still be very soft.

Allow to sit at room temperature in the baking pan for about 30 minutes, then remove by picking up the overhanging pieces of parchment paper. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

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Brownie Dough Dark Chocolate Cups

brownie dough cups

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, which means one thing when it comes to food: chocolate.

I’ve combined two classic chocolate desserts – brownies & dark chocolate – into perfect little two-bite treats. The inside of these chocolate cups is actually comprised of walnuts, dates, cocoa powder, and a few flavor additions, but it tastes so similar to brownie dough that I couldn’t call it anything else.

brownie dough cups

The cups are a bit time-consuming what with painting melted chocolate onto mini muffin liners, but let’s call it a labor of love; the person you’re making these chocolate cups for is totally worth it!

brownie dough cups

Both of my loves adored the cups; Lily ate a bunch of the brownie dough filling before I even had a chance to fill the chocolate cups, and John gave rave reviews for the completed product.

brownie dough cups

These cups are a healthy & delicious departure from the highly processed packaged peanut butter version that is found all over the place in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day.

If there’s a chocoholic in your life (even if that person is you!), you really must make these.

brownie dough cups

Why settle for just chocolate or brownies if you can have both?!

brownie dough cups

Brownie Dough Dark Chocolate Cups

by Lauren Zembron

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Keywords: dessert chocolate walnuts brownies candy

Ingredients (12 cups)

  • 1 cup toasted walnuts halves
  • 6 large Medjool dates, pitted (about 1/2 tightly packed cup)
  • 1/8 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp instant espresso powder (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil

Instructions

In the bowl of a food processor, process the walnuts until finely crumbled – the mixture will resemble coarse sand. Be sure not to over-process, or you will end up with walnut butter!

Add dates to the walnut crumbs in the food processor bowl, and blend just until mixture holds together when pinched. Add in the salt, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and vanilla extract and blend until the mixture comes together to form a crumbly “dough”.

Remove mixture from food processor, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl.

Form mixture into a large ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to make the cups (at least 10 minutes).

While the brownie dough chills, combine the dark chocolate chips and coconut oil and melt using one of two methods: you can either combine them in a double boiler (a heatproof bowl set over a small saucepan filled with 1 inch of simmering water) and stir until fully melted, or you can combine them in a heatproof bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until fully melted.

Using a pastry brush or small spoon, “paint” the inside (all the way up to the top) of 12 mini muffin liners with the melted chocolate (foil liners will be easier to peel off, but paper liners will also work). You want a thick enough layer so that you cannot see through the chocolate coating. Refrigerate the painted cups until the chocolate is fully hardened, at least 20 minutes.

When the dough has chilled, take it out of the fridge and roll into 12 balls; then slightly flatten the balls to form discs that will fit into mini muffin cups. Remove the hardened chocolate cups from the refrigerator and gently push one of the brownie dough discs into each one.

If the melted chocolate left in the bowl is starting to solidify, simply heat it again until fully melted. Spoon melted chocolate on top of brownie dough-filled chocolate cups, making sure that it reaches the edges so the brownie dough is completely surrounded by chocolate. You will probably not use all of the melted chocolate; reserve for another use.

Return completed cups to the refrigerator, and chill until completely hardened, at least another 20 minutes. Carefully peel off the liners.

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