Coconut Caramel Macadamia Nut Bars

I'm currently reading a book called The Measure Of My Powers by Jackie Kai Ellis.
I'll be honest with you; I haven't fallen this hard for a book in a long time. 
I can read this book for 3 hours straight with a smile on my face, sometimes putting it down for a second to give myself a moment of reflection because I resonate with her experiences SO MUCH. 

The book is a memoire and she talks about her life living in Vancouver and Paris, her suffering from depression, and how she began to love her life thus finding her truest self.  She makes you feel her pain and desperation to live a happy life. And she makes you feel her gratitude and feel her life become more colourful as she falls in love with herself and finds happiness and peace.

One of the things I admire most about her writing is the way she describes food with beauty and elegance in a poetic manner. It keeps me totally focused on each chapter and wanting to read more and more and MORE. A little bonus is that she includes recipes and photos at the end of the chapter and I love reading recipes, so it's been a really engaging read. 

It's just such a beautifully written book that the closer I get to then end, I almost get a little sad haha. 
I think this is going to be re-read a few years down the road.

Anyways, you should read the book yourself. I have literally nothing but good things to say about it. 

But the reason I just told you all about the book, is because it's what inspired me to make these coconut caramel macadamia nut bars. The recipe she includes in the book is totally different than the ones I made, but I wanted to make mine Wholistic Foodie style. 

That means grain, gluten, refined sugar and dairy free. 



Macadamia nuts are one of my favourite nuts EVER. It's like eating crunchy butter. 

They're sweet, buttery, soft, and pair excellent with a soft caramel and dark chocolate. 

So here's the recipe that I created and made from the heart. I hope you love them!

Coconut Caramel Macadamia Nut Bars


Ingredients:

For the shortbread crust:
1/4 C honey or pure maple syrup
1/3 coconut oil (or ghee, mmmmmm ghee), soft
1 egg, room temperature
2/3 C coconut flour
1/4 C arrowroot starch
1/8 tsp sea salt

For the caramel:
1 can full fat coconut milk
1/2 C coconut sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, cut open lengthwise (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
2 tbsp coconut oil

For topping the bars:
1 C chopped macadamia nuts
1/4 dark chocolate chips
large flake sea salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 8X8" baking dish with parchment paper.

In a small to medium size pot, add the coconut milk, coconut sugar, and vanilla bean.
Bring to a low boil over low to medium heat. You want this to reduce by about 1/2 to get the best flavour profile and texture. Keep returning to the caramel and stir it to avoid the sugar burning to the bottom. 

In a mixing bowl, mix together the honey, coconut oil or ghee, and egg. Then add the coconut flour, arrowroot starch and salt until it forms a dough. Spread the dough evenly on the base of the baking dish. Poke with a fork all over and bake for 13-15 minutes until lightly brown.

Once the caramel is done reducing by 1/2, pour over the hot shortbread crust. 
Sprinkle the macadamia nuts on top first, then the chocolate chips, then finish with a pinch of the flaked sea salt. Use your common sense to not use too much.

Cool in the refrigerator to set the caramel for at least 6 hours (overnight is best).

Cut into 25 small squares and devour. 

Or just cut it into any size you want... Whatever floats your boat.






** the shortbread crust recipe is one I adapted from Paleo Running Momma's perfect lemon bars.
I've made that recipe too, and it's freaking delish.







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