Hello Dollies, Magic Squares, 7 Layer Bars…whatever you call them – These are better. They are refined-sugar free, grain-free, vegan and dairy-free. They also contain a ton of protein, fibre and healthy fats making them a deliciously healthy dessert and a ~sort-off~ acceptable snack! (In my books anyway…)
Classic Hello Dollies will always hold a special place in my heart (and tummy) because A) my grandma taught me how to make them and B) they are freakin’ delish. The traditional recipe calls for a butter and graham cracker crust topped with milk chocolate chips, nuts and sweetened shredded coconut. It is finished off by pouring an ENTIRE can of condensed milk on top and baking it. Delicious, but terrifying for its insane sugar content and zero nutritional profile.
But….Not to fear! I think I have found us a solution.
This crust is made entirely out of dates and nuts (protein + fibre)
the condensed milk is replaced by coconut cream!
Here we use dark chocolate and unsweetened flaked coconut
and the end-product is still dense, fudgy, sweet and most of all yummy.
- 1 cup medjool dates (pitted)
- 1 cup cashews
- ½ cup dark chocolate, chopped
- ½ cup unsweetened unsulfured flaked coconut
- 1 can coconut milk, solid cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or ½ vanilla bean pod.
- 4 HOURS BEFORE (OR THE NIGHT BEFORE): Place the can of coconut milk in the refrigerator so that the solids separate from the water. Do not shake or tip can.
- Preheat your oven to 350F and line an 8” by 8” baking tray with parchment paper
- FOR THE CRUST:
- Place the dates and cashews into a food processor or high speed blender and blend until they come together to form a smooth dough. Press the dough evenly into the pan lined with parchment paper and set aside
- FOR THE FILLING:
- Sprinkle the chopped chocolate overtop of the crust. Do the same with the flaked coconut. Make sure both are evenly distributed.
- Remove the cold can of coconut milk from the fridge. If the solids and liquids have not fully separated that is okay. As long as you’re not pouring straight coconut water over the bars, it will still work.
- Scoop the coconut cream off the top of the can and transfer to bowl. Add the vanilla extract or the seeds from the vanilla bean pod and whisk until creamy and combined.
- Pour the coconut vanilla whip over the top of the bars and spread evenly with a spatula.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the edges turn golden and the middle looks somewhat set. Allow to cool before cutting into bars.
- Serve and enjoy! Or store in the fridge or freezer.