Chocolate-Coconut-Pecan Cookie Bars

In response to yesterday's blog post, my friend Julee Dennis posted my Facebook wall with this simple question: Dana.... where do I find a great Christmas cookie recipe?

Here you go! This is the best cookie recipe I came up with last winter, and one of the best I've ever come up with.

Chocolate-Coconut-Pecan Cookie Bars

2/3 cup Almond Meal Plus (recipe below)
2/3 cup vanilla whey protein powder
1/4 cup splenda
1/4 cup erythritol -- or maltitol
1 stick butter -- softened
1 teaspoon molasses
1 tablespoon water
2/3 cup heavy cream
8 ounces sugar-free semi-sweet chocolate -- I used Nevada Manna chocolate chips from CarbSmart
1 ounce cream cheese
4 tablespoons butter -- softened
1/4 cup Splenda granular
1/4 cup erythritol or maltitol
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract -- optional
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut meat
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x 11 pan with non-stick cooking spray, or line with parchment or a non-stick pan liner.

In your food processor, combine the Almond Meal Plus, vanilla whey protein, Splenda granular, erythritol or maltitol, and butter. Pulse till butter is cut into the dry ingredients. In a small dish, mix the molasses and water till molasses dissolves. Turn on your food processor and drizzle in this mixture while it's running, then turn off processor.

Dump this mixture into your prepared pan, and press out into an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes. While that's happening...

Pour your heavy cream into a Pyrex measuring cup and place it in your microwave. Nuke it for 1-2 minutes on 70% power, or until it just boils. While the cream is heating, dump your chocolate chips and the cream cheese into a medium bowl. When the cream is hot, pour it over the chocolate and cream cheese. Cover the bowl and let it sit for five minutes.

Now whisk the chocolate, cream, and cream cheese together. Spread this mixture evenly over the crust. Stick the pan in the fridge for fifteen minutes, while you...

Use your electric mixer to beat the butter till it's creamy and fluffy. Now beat in the Splenda, erythritol or maltitol, vanilla, and coconut extract if using, till everything's very well combined. Now beat in the eggs. Finally, turn the mixer to low and blend in the coconut and pecans.

Pull your pan out of the fridge, and spread the topping evenly over the chocolate layer. Slide the whole thing back into the oven and let it bake for another 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Set the whole pan on a rack or your stove top to cool before you cut it into bars.

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24 bars, each with: 248 Calories; 21g Fat ; 8g Protein; 9g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber;3 g usable carbs

Almond Meal Plus
The inspiration for this was Wise CHOice Cake-ability, a product you can add to nut meal to improve the texture of baked goods.

4 cups shelled almonds
1 cup dried egg white powder
4 teaspoons baking powder
4 teaspoons guar gum

Simply put everything in your food processor with the S-blade in place, and run till you have a meal about the texture of corn meal. Store in a snap-top container in a cool place. If you plan to keep more than a month or two, refrigerate or freeze.

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16 servings of about 5 tablespoons: 235 Calories; 19g Fat ; 13g Protein; 8g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber, 4 g usable carb

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dried egg white powder for the cookie bars

I love this recipe, but I haven't been able to find dried egg white powder except in huge, last-your-lifetime bags online. All they seem to have locally is sweetened dried egg whites; i.e., for meringues or icing. In the meantime I cobbled together a work-around with a package of Cakeability I still had, but I'm looking to the future.
Any suggestions? Who produces unsweetened dried egg whites and where do you buy them?

i use Agave nectar instead to

i use agave nectar instead to sugar. it tastes really sweet and has less calories.

Dana Says: This is a piece of spam; it came in with a link to a site selling agave nectar. And it wasn't the first time this spammer hit the site. I just thought I'd seize the opportunity to point out that agave nectar is sheer garbage. It's nearly pure fructose. I'd sooner eat high fructose corn syrup, and you know how I feel about that. Here's the article I wrote detailing my objections to agave nectar.

My objection to spammers needs no explanation, I take it. And in case any of that breed are reading this: We moderate this site. You will not get your spamming trash through. Go get a real job.

malitol

Hi Dana,

New to low carbing and I have read some concerns re: Malitol and isomalt. That they can have an effect on blood glucose. I enjoy a sugar free caramel a few times a week, but noticed the first ingredient is malitol and wondered if I should steer clear. I saw you use it in the above recipe and wondered what your thoughts were on the subject.

I know there is so much conflicting info out there... one source http://mendosa.com/netcarbs.htm lists the glycemic index values of various 'ols' in a chart on his site.

Any help is much appreciated!
Thank you!

Maltitol

Best info I've been able to find says that just a hair over half of the maltitol you eat is actually absorbed. That makes it better than sugar, but not zero carb. Erythritol is very nearly not absorbed at all, but there are things I've managed to make work with maltitol that I can't get to work with erythritol. Still, you could try swapping erythritol for the maltitol in this recipe. If you do, let me know how it works.

Recipe Question

I never use molasses and hate to buy a jar for 1 teaspoon. Will it be okay to just leave out the molasses in this recipe??
Thanks! Linda

Leave out the molasses?

I'm guessing it would be fine. It's there to give a brown sugar flavor; you'll lose that, but with all those nuts and all that chocolate, how bad can it be?

These are good!

I made these last night, and put them in the fridge overnight to "set," though I am not sure that was actually necessary. I tried one this morning, and it was delicious!

I made these to take to my daughter's house for our Christmas get-together this evening. Not sure I will arrive with them all intact, but if I threaten DH enough, maybe he will leave them alone.

Although the recipe isn't difficult, it has a few steps, as you can see, but it's completely worth it!

Chocolate-Coconut-Pecan Cookie Bars

I made these yesterday. They are superb. The best dessert I have made in a long time. Thanks.for the recipe.

Could you clarify something?

In the last paragraph of the instructions, you say "Pull your pan out of the fridge" before you spread the coconut/pecan mixture on top....but earlier you said to put the pan in the "oven for fifteen minutes"

Do I bake the chocolate/cream cheese mixture before topping with coconut/pecan mixture or chill it?

AAAACCCCKKKK!

Damn it! I corrected that when it went to print. No, you chill the chocolate/cream cheese mixture. Thank YOU! I will change that right away, and my deepest regrets to anyone who made this already.

Questions

Do you use your erythritol granular or do you grind it to a powder form?
If I have lots of almond meal already ground, how much would I use for the Almond Meal Plus?

Thanks!

Questions Re Recipe

I used my erythritol in granular form. And almonds expand a little as you grind 'em; I'd go with about 4 1/2 cups of almond meal. Run it through the food processor anyway, to make sure everything's really evenly mixed. And try this in cakes and muffins and such!

Recipe Follow-up

Thanks so much! --cr