Paleo Chocolate Tahini Millionaire Bars
The recipe I am using here is adapted from this one which happens to be vegan as well as Paleo. Luckily, it’s easy to adapt Millionaire Bars to a Paleo version. The sweet relies on maple syrup here – a lot of it. That brings up the question of whether maple syrup is Paleo. If it is, how much is ok?
This is a recipe that in itself – in my opinion – is too sugary to be valid as Paleo. We know that native North American tribes made and enjoyed maple syrup – there’s even a legend that it made them lazy and less interested in other food – hmmm! It was indeed in the hunter-gather repertoire, at least in the northeastern US.
But, if you’re looking for a sweet treat for kids who can’t eat peanut, wheat, dairy (including butter), or eggs, and you’re avoiding processed sweeteners, this is an good option for a special occasion or happy after school snack.
I haven’t yet tinkered with the maple syrup to tahini ratio in the “caramel” layer, but there may be some room there to reduce the syrup. This will reduce the volume overall of the caramel layer, unless you likewise up the tahini, or other ingredient. Some recipes use dates and less syrup. It may work to blend in an unsweetened additional nut butter (almond or cashew?) if your child tolerates that, and sweeten with some stevia, to make up for reduced syrup.
Changes in my version include adding some flax (technically a seed, not a grain) to enhance the crust, plus a different source for the chocolate chips (I like Lily’s Stevia Sweetened Dark Chocolate Chips) – yes they have soy lecithin. In my experience, this is not a deal breaker for IgE soy allergy or for soy exorphins potential.
I also suggest a different timing for firming up the middle layer, which took much longer than the 30 minutes suggested in the recipe I worked from. I found that the “caramel” layer needs a good two hours in the fridge to set. I got even better results when I let it set overnight.
Once you’ve got this easy recipe assembled, keep stored in fridge or even the freezer if you like. The tahini-maple caramel will soften to runny texture at room temperature.
|12 bars||30 minutes|
Easy to make. Just leave time for each layer to set, and you're good to go. Salty chocolatey caramel-y goodness, without the wheat, dairy allergens, or cane sugar!
- 1 and 1/4 cups almond flour ...such as Bob's Red Mill
- 1/4 cup organic flax seed meal
- 3 TBSP melted coconut oil ...I prefer refined so it doesn't taste too coconut-y
- 2 TBSP pure maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (gluten free)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup organic sesame tahini unsalted
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (gluten free)
- 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt
- 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips Lily's Stevia Sweetened
- 1 TBSP coconut oil
- sprinkle coarse salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line an 8x8 inch square pan with baking parchment (a 9x9 pan will be too big).
- Melt the coconut oil (microwave or stove top). In a medium bowl, mix it with the almond flour, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and salt. Use a fork to blend it together so it forms a thick crumb texture. Add to pan, and use your fingers or the bottom of a glass or jar to evenly press it down into the pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven, and allow crust to cool at least 10 minutes before adding caramel mixture. You can place it in the fridge to speed this part up.
- Add the tahini, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract and sea salt to a medium pot. Place over medium-low heat for approximately 2 minutes. Stir until evenly blended and smooth.
- Pour over the cooled crust. Place in refrigerator for 2 hours or longer, ideally overnight, for a firm, evenly chilled crust. Freezing is not recommended to hasten this part. It can change the texture of your caramel to have icy crystals on top that will melt to water on serving.
- Melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl or on stove top, with the coconut oil. Stir to blend together til smooth. Spread this on your chilled and hardened caramel layer. Place it back in fridge to harden, about 30 minutes or longer.
Leave time for each layer in the process to set, and you're good to go. Make the base crust ("shortbread") layer, which bakes in just 10 minutes. Let it cool, then spread on your "caramel" layer. This takes longer to set. Ideally, refrigerate the caramel layer overnight for a good hard set. At a minimum, refrigerate it for two hours before adding the chocolate layer (which is a snap to make in microwave). Though the original recipe suggests placing this in the freezer if you're in a hurry to set the caramel, don't. It will change the texture so that ice can form at the top of the caramel. This will become watery at room temp. Once all assembled and firmed up in your fridge, it's fine to store these Paleo Chocolate Tahini Millionaire Bars in your freezer if you like!