Gooey double chocolate turtle bars with a chewy chocolate cookie crust, a dreamy salted caramel pecan layer and lots of chocolate drizzled on top. They’re grain free, dairy free and Paleo made with real food ingredients yet taste completely decadent.
My impulsivity is not always a good thing. This time, I got lucky and it was – a random Friday night experiment that I dove into with no plan whatsoever – just visions of creamy chocolate and caramel floating around in the “dessert” section of my brain, but really, that’s nothing unusual for me.
Fast forward to the next morning (I stuck the bars in the fridge after baking and went to bed) and with the first cut I knew right away that something good had come out of the experiment. Texture can be everything, right? That first cut was all I needed to know – I had already given a thumbs up to the unbaked dough/caramel layer the night before, and obviously the chocolate on top was good to go.
But, the texture of bars/brownies/other baked goods (especially Paleo) is often a mystery when you’re trying something new. You might not know exactly what you’re cutting into until your recipe is baked and fully cooled.
I would take Forest Gump’s “life is like a box of chocolates..” and one-up it with “life is like a pan of Paleo brownies – you won’t know what you’re dealing with until they’ve cooled for 3 hours and you can cut through the center” um, or something. If that makes any sense to you, please fill me in.
But anyway, I’m impulsive (ah, as you might be able to gage from my writing.) When it comes to recipes for the blog, I would say I do 90% of my cooking/baking in the morning/early afternoon. I’m at my sharpest before lunch, it’s light enough for photos, plus the days tend to get crazier as they go on. Between the hours of 3pm and 7 my life becomes a drop off/pick up/make dinner and say boring mom things like “did you do your homework?” and “clean up the living room” and “stop hurting each other!”
It works well this way, because generally my impulsive nighttime recipe testing results in disasters like adding twice the amount of coconut oil to something because I temporarily forgot that 4 TBSPs is not 1/2 cup. That is no flipping joke – I literally made that mistake two nights ago. Ugh. I’m still mourning that loaf of bread.
But sometimes, like with these double chocolate turtle bars, things magically work out. The bottom layer is sort of a cross between a chocolate cookie crust and a brownie, baked about halfway before pouring on the second layer.
The caramel layer is perfectly salted with just the right amount of chopped pecans, and is baked to gooey perfection right before sprinkling with lots of chocolate chips that melt and swirl – and then cool – to form a chocolate shell on top. Double chocolate turtle bars! Perfect dessert for the holiday season or really anytime you’re craving caramel and chocolate, AKA ALWAYS! Let’s get started!
Paleo Double Chocolate Turtle Bars
- ½ cup creamy cashew butter
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup coconut flour
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder or raw cacao
- pinch salt
- Make the cookie layer first. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line an 8 x 8" baking dish with parchment paper along the bottom and up the sides.
- Mix together the cashew butter, coconut sugar, and eggs until creamy. I used a hand mixer for this part.
- In a separate bowl, combine the coconut flour, cocoa powder and salt, then stir this mixture into the wet ingredients until fully combined. The dough will be sticky - chill it in the fridge for about 5 minutes - this will firm it up a bit as well as give the coconut flour time to settle and absorb moisture.
- Now it's time to press the chocolate cookie dough into the parchment lined baking dish. The dough will still be sticky to work with even after chilled - I recommend wetting your hands just slightly to press/spread the dough evenly into the bottom of the dish. After pressing in the cookie dough, bake it in the preheated oven for 10 minutes**
- To make the caramel, heat the coconut milk* and coconut sugar over medium heat in a small saucepan, stirring to blend. Bring the mixture to a boil (I typically raise the heat to medium/hi for this, you can increase the heat depending on your stovetop) while stirring.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer (this might be med/low or med depending on your stove, it should be bubbling but not boiling over) and continue to cook, stirring to avoid the sugar burning, until the mixture is thickened and deep caramel in color***
- Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, salt and chopped pecans, then spread the caramel pecan mixture over the chocolate cookie layer (after baking 10 minutes) and return to the oven to bake for another 12 minutes or until the middle begins to bubble.
- Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Once they melt, use a toothpick to gently swirl the melted chocolate all over the top of the bars.
- Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until completely cooled, then cut into squares and serve. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator. Enjoy!
**be careful not to overtake since you'll be baking it again with the caramel layer
***This can take anywhere from 15-30 minutes depending on your stove, mine seems to take less time than others!
What I Used to Make my Double Chocolate Turtle Bars:
Want more Paleo brownies and bars? Try one of these!
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