Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Chocolate Coconut Bars: by Ashley

Hi, I'm Ashley and I'm a Celiac.  :) does feel like gluten free eaters are a part of this secret support group though.  Once you meet someone else that eats gluten free, it's like you suddenly have tons to talk about.  When I met Erin a few months ago, we were at a BBQ and somehow it came up.  She and I and one more girl (Hi Michelle!!) all realized that we were all eating the same gluten free diet.  And now we have recipes to share and gluten free restaurants to tell each other about.  I love it!!

Anyway, I'm living in Colorado with my husband and 3 almost 5 year old girl, a 3 year old boy and a 9 month old girl.  I have a craft blog that I write called Make It and Love It.  There are a few other gluten free recipes over there that I add to here and if anyone is looking for some simple recipes, there are a few to check out there.  (All of the recipes have been adapted to be GF.....even though they don't specifically say gluten free.)

Anyway, thanks for inviting me over Erin, to share a Christmas treat with everyone.  I love that you decided to do this!  Maybe we should all get together and bring samples of our recipes so that we can try everything out.  Wanna plan that? :)

When I started thinking about traditional Christmas treats that I grew up eating, they were all gluten-full.  Darn.  My most favorites still haven't been adapted so I am always trying new things each year......which is always fun too.  Just last week, I decided to try these Chocolate Coconut Bars from Martha Stewart.  Yep, they were delicious.  But really rich.  My husband doesn't care for the intensity of them as much as I do.........but he snuck bites here and there and gobbled them right up with me!

But for those of you who like sweets and like chocolate and miss making a bar that actually stays together.....give this one a try.

The coconut on top is crispy and the inside is chewy and delicious.  No joke.

This recipe comes from Martha Stewart but I just adapted the ingredients a bit.  They are tasty and will be made in our house again for Christmas.

And instead of using graham crackers or wafers (like the recipe below)......I ground up some of these (that I bought at Wal-Mart) in the food processor.  Worked great!


  • 3 cups finely ground cookies (12 ounces), such as graham crackers or chocolate wafers, or a combination
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup pecan pieces
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly splash a 15-by-10-inch rimmed baking sheet evenly with water, then line with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together cookie crumbs, sugar, and butter until combined. Evenly press onto bottom and up sides of prepared baking sheet. Bake, rotating halfway through, until firm, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; cool, about 20 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle cooled crust evenly with pecans and chocolate. Pour condensed milk over the top, spreading to cover completely (do not let it drip over the edges). Sprinkle with coconut.
  4. Bake until coconut is toasted, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool completely. Trim edges, if desired, and cut into equal-size bars.

As for Christmas traditions.......I love the countdown.  Each day we talk about how many days are left and let the anticipation become crazy intense.  I love walking around the toy stores and letting the kids just walk around, touch everything, and soak it all in.  I also really love extending our drives home from the store and taking long detours around random neighborhoods, checking out the Christmas lights.  I also really like to add to our kid-friendly manger scene each year.  We have several that the kiddos are allowed to touch and bang around and play with.  We tell them them the Christmas story over and over again, using the figurines as we tell it.....and it's fun to eavesdrop on them while they are telling it to each other later on, when they think we're not listening.  And one of my most favorite traditions is re-enacting the Christmas story on Christmas Eve.  Everyone takes part as we dress up, read from Luke, and remember the Christ child.  We then sing carols, open up new jammies, and then off to bed.  It's a beautiful I fall in love over and over again each year.

Thanks again Erin for inviting me over!  I have loved reading everyone's recipes.  There are so many to add to my GF file.........our Christmas will be full of all sorts of new treats!!



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