These Vegan 7 Layer Bars were a hit over the holidays with Brett, his parents and our friends that came to visit. 7 Layer Bars, which are also called magic bars I believe, were one of my favorite desserts growing up, but I haven’t had them in ages! Thankfully since I discovered how to make vegan sweetened condensed milk, yummy desserts like these can happen more often from here on out.
Most 7 layer bars have a base that is made from graham crackers and butter, but thanks to a couple simple swaps, the base can easily be made completely vegan. Graham crackers don’t contain any dairy, but they do contain honey which keeps them from being fully vegan, but if that’s not an issue for you feel free to use them. Thanks to my niece and nephew I recently discovered some delicious Cinnamon Schoolbook Cookies from Trader Joe’s which make for a great graham crackers substitute. I’ve also heard that you can find honey-less graham crackers from certain stores as well. There are lots of options! In regards to the butter, coconut oil is always my go-to substitution, but vegan butter would also work just great.
For the Vegan Sweetened Condensed Milk, I simmer full-fat coconut milk with a little maple syrup and a pinch of salt on the stove top until it reduces and becomes thick and creamy. It’s super rich and delicious and I can’t wait to make Thai Iced Tea with it once the weather warms up.
With the base and the condensed milk sorted out, all that’s left of these bars is the toppings. Chocolate chips, coconut chips and chopped nuts take these Vegan 7 Layer Bars to the next level. You can never go wrong with such a simple, decadent combination!
I know some of you may find it weird that I’m posting a rich, decadent dessert in January while everyone else seems to be focusing on kale salads and green smoothies. For me, all food groups are up for grabs all year round. Other than staying away from animal products, I find that eating a balanced diet sprinkled with yummy treats like baked goods, chocolate and vegan ice cream is what suits me best. You won’t find me on a diet this January!
Please let me know if you give these Vegan 7 Layer Bars a try! I’d love to know your thoughts so leave a comment down below. Even better, take a picture of the final product and tag #theconscientiouseater on Instagram so I can see your creation!
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- pinch sea salt
- 2½ cups vegan cookie or graham cracker crumbs
- ½ cup coconut oil, melted
- ½ cup nuts, chopped
- 1 cup dairy free chocolate chips
- 1 cup flaked coconut
- Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper or grease it with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a sauce pan, whisk together the full can of coconut milk, maple syrup and sea salt and bring everything to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and allow the mixture to simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until reduced and thick.
- While the coconut milk is simmering, grind up vegan cookies or graham crackers in a food processor or blender until fairly fine. You will need 2½ cups of ground cookies.
- Place the grounds in a bowl and stir in ½ cup of melted coconut oil.
- Press the cookie mixture into your prepared baking dish.
- Once the coconut milk has simmered for about 30 minutes and is nice and thick, turn off the heat and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Pour the vegan sweetened condensed milk over the cookie base and then evenly sprinkle the nuts, chocolate chips and flaked coconut over top.
- Bake the bars for about 30 minutes until bubbling and the edges are starting to turn golden brown. The bars may look really runny on top when you remove them from the oven, but everything will thicken up as they cool.
- Allow the bars to cool to room temperature before placing the pan in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. This will make the bars much easier to cut!
- When ready to serve, remove the bars from the fridge and allow them to warm up a bit before cutting into squares.