These turtle cookie bars are the perfect dessert. Drizzled in chocolate with a cookie bottom, caramel middle, and pecan cashew crunch, they taste amazing! You will love that they are also gluten free, dairy free and paleo.
Why you will love this recipe:
- Most importantly, these turtle bars taste amazing! They have the perfect combination of a cookie bottom, soft caramel middle, cashew pecan crunch, all drizzled in chocolate.
- They are gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free and paleo. They can also be made vegan!
- If you are familiar with gluten free and paleo baking you should have all the ingredients to make these bars in your pantry.
- These bars can easily be made vegan by replacing the egg with a flax seed egg.
- These dessert bars are perfect to serve any time but would be a great option for Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, bridal showers or baby showers.
Ingredients and substitutions:
- Almond flour – to make the delectable cookie layer base of these dessert bars. You could swap this for cashew flour if you need. Be sure you use almond flour and not almond meal.
- Coconut flour – another delicious grain and gluten free flour that is used to make the cookie layer of these bars. I don’t recommend swapping this for any other flours.
- Coconut sugar – to give the cookie layer the perfect amount of sweetness while keeping these bars refined sugar free. You could swap this for brown sugar.
- Baking soda – to help the cookie layer rise perfectly.
- Cashew butter – to make the delectable caramel layer for these bars.
- Coconut oil – this is used for both the cookie layer and the caramel layer. It is one of my favorite dairy free oils that is also vegan and full of healthy fats.
- Egg – one egg is all you need to give the cookie layer the perfect texture.
- Vanilla extract – to enhance the delicious flavours of the cookie layer and the caramel sauce.
- Sea salt – add this to both the cookie layer and the caramel layer to help enhance the flavours and contrast the sweetness of this dessert.
- Honey or maple syrup – either of these natural sweeteners will do to sweeten the caramel layer of these bars.
- Nuts: cashews and pecans are used for the crunchy nut layer of these bars. You can swap these nuts for any others that you prefer.
- Chocolate – melted dark chocolate is the final touch for these delicious turtle bars.
How to make this recipe:
To make the cookie layer:
Step one: first, preheat the oven to 350F.
Step two: now add all the cookie layer ingredients to the bowl of your standing mixer and mix until smooth.
Step three: then line an 8″x8″ glass baking dish with parchment paper and place the dough into the glass dish and spread well until smooth (the batter is very sticky, so wet your spoon frequently to help spread the dough).
Step four: then place in the baking dish in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted inside comes out clean. Then remove from the oven and let cool and then start making the caramel layer.
To make the caramel layer:
Step one: place all the ingredients into a glass bowl or measuring cup and stir until smooth.
Step two: when the cookie layer has cooled, pour the caramel over it and spread until smooth, then make the nut layer.
To make the nut layer:
Step one: place the nuts into your food processor and blend until the nuts are the size you desire.
Step two: spread the chopped nuts over the caramel layer and then place the baking dish in the fridge and let cool for ~ 1 hour.
To make the chocolate layer:
Step one: break the chocolate bar into pieces and place it into a glass bowl or measuring cup.
Step three: heat the chocolate on high in the microwave for 30 second intervals, until the chocolate has melted.
Step four: drizzle the melted chocolate over the nut layer and place the baking dish into the fridge for another ~30 minutes, until the chocolate hardens.
Step five: lastly, cut the bars into desired sized pieces and enjoy!
- If you are allergic to almonds I would use cashew flour instead of almond flour.
- If you don’t have cashew butter for the caramel layer I would substitute with almond butter or peanut butter.
- To make these bars vegan, substitute the egg with a flax seed egg.
- For the nut layer feel free to change the nuts. You could use only pecans, only cashews, or substitute with other nuts such as almonds.
- I recommend using a coconut sugar sweetened chocolate bar (as coconut sugar has more health benefits than cane sugar) but if you are unable to find a coconut sugar sweetened chocolate bar, feel free to substitute with a dairy free dark. chocolate bar that uses cane sugar – this is my favourite brand of chocolate that is sweetened with coconut sugar.
How to store:
- Store these loaded turtle cookie bars in the fridge in an air tight container for up two 7 days.
Frequently asked questions:
Are these turtle bars vegan?
As written, the recipe is not vegan, but to make them vegan all you need to do is swap the egg for either a flax egg or chia egg.
Can I freeze these bars?
Absolutely! These bars freeze really well. Simply cut them into pieces and then store them in an air tight container or bag in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Other desserts you will love:
- Paleo Chocolate Donuts
- Cranberry Lemon Bars
- Paleo Brownies with Caramel
- Paleo Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
- Vegan Cookie Dough
- Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
SINCE YOU MADE IT THIS FAR WE ARE BASICALLY BEST FRIENDS SO BE SURE TO FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM, PINTEREST AND FACEBOOK WHERE I SHARE EVEN MORE RECIPES AND HEALTHY LIVING TIPS! AND DON’T FORGET TO LEAVE THIS RECIPE A STAR REVIEW BEFORE YOU GO!
Turtle Cookie Bars
Cookie Layer Ingredients
Caramel Layer Ingredients
Nut Layer Ingredients
- 1/4 cup raw cashews
- 1/4 cup raw pecans
Chocolate Layer Ingredients
- 1 dark chocolate bar
- Preheat your oven to 350F.
- Add all the cookie layer ingredients to the bowl of your standing mixer and blend well until smooth.
- Line an 8"x8" glass baking dish with parchment paper.
- Place the dough into the glass baking dish and spread well until smooth (Note that the batter is very sticky, so wet your spoon frequently to help spread the dough).
- Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted inside comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and let cool and then start making the caramel layer.
- Place all the ingredients into a glass bowl or measuring cup and stir until smooth.
- When the cookie layer has cooled, pour the caramel over it and spread until smooth, then make the nut layer.
- Place the nuts into your food processor and process until the nuts are the size you desire.
- Spread the chopped nuts over the caramel layer.
- Place the baking dish in the fridge and let cool for ~ 1 hour.
- Break the chocolate bar into pieces and place it into a glass bowl or measuring cup.
- Heat on high in the microwave for 30 second intervals, until the chocolate is melted.
- Drizzle the melted chocolate over the nut layer.
- Place the baking dish back into the fridge for another ~30 minutes, until the chocolate hardens.
- Cut the bars into desired sized pieces and enjoy!
- This recipe can be made vegan by substituting a flax seed egg for the egg.
- Store these bars in the fridge.
- You can substitute the almond flour for cashew flour if allergic to almonds.
Pin this recipe for later: