Holiday Baking: Gluten-Free Cookie Bars + Win $250

December 9, 2013

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If you had told me a week ago, while we were enjoying 50 degree days with family in East and Central Arkansas that we would be snowed in for 4 days, I would have said you were crazy. Yet, here we are, the end of day 4. Most of my friends are going stir crazy being stuck inside but I’m honestly loving every minute of it. I have been going non stop for the past 3 months with fall picture sessions so having these few days of family time has been bliss!

We have eaten well over the past few days, because, why not? Today, I decided to bake the boys a special Christmas treat. This isn’t something we’d have on a regular basis because it is beyond decadent, but for snowed in Christmas fun? Yes, please. I had everything but the butter so I braved the icy roads and went to Walmart to grab Land O’ Lakes butter sticks. I love cooking and baking with real butter – you can’t go wrong with these ingredients: Cream, Salt.


I grew up as a kid of the 90′s so you know what that means, we lived off of margarine. I cringe knowing the horrible ingredients we all put in our bodies thinking it was better for us. It most definitely was not. Butter is my bff and I use it pretty much every single day. And for baking sweet treats, you just can not go wrong.

Since going gluten free, it’s been an uphill battle finding new ways to enjoy old treats. Thankfully, butter is gluten free so if you can find the right balance of replacement flour, you really can make just about anything you did before with the same flavor and consistency. Not gluten free? You could easily make these without a gluten free base, just replace the gf flour with regular all purpose flour.

Shortbread Crust:
1 1/4 cups all purpose gluten free flour
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons butter, melted 
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/8 tsp salt

cookie toppings
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 can condensed milk (I used santini organic)
1 cup fluffed frozen unsweetened coconut (Found in the freezer section) 

Pre-heat your oven to 350. In a stand mixer, mix the ingredients for the shortbread crust until lots of little dough balls form. Remove the paddle and with your hands, push the dough into a ball, making sure to get all of the bits off the bottom of the bowl.

If your dough is warm from the melted butter, let it chill for about 10 minutes. I was fortunate that we have almost a foot of snow outside in 28 degree temps so I just set my bowl outside to chill. Find a 9×13 dish and if it’s not a glazed ceramic pan, line it with parchment paper. I love this pan that my mom gave me – it’s so fun and festive!
 Now, when you start to push the dough out (with your fingers) you are going to think that you should have used an 8×8 pan because clearly this isn’t enough dough. But, trust me, keep working on it. The beauty of a crust made from butter is that as you push the dough toward the edges, even if it crackles, you can press it back together easily.

Pop your pan into the oven and let the shortbread crust bake for 10 minutes. Once finished baking, sprinkle the chocolate chips over the warm crust. I love using mini chocolate chips because you can use the same amount of chocolate but cover more surface area.

Next, pour your condensed milk over the entire pan evenly followed by coconut. I buy frozen unsweetened coconut, found in the freezer section. Just break about 1/2 of the package off into a bowl and heat for 30 seconds, it will fluff up and expand and be plenty. Bake bars for 20-25 more minutes or until the top has started to bubble up and brown slightly (sort of like pizza).

Let bars cool completely before slicing and serving. Enjoy! For more holiday baking recipes check out the Land O’ Lakes Holiday baking page here. 

Also, would you like to win $250 from Land O Lakes and Walmart? Enter your email address and share a pin here!

  • sl639

    oh my, this look delicious! What brand of gluten free baking mix do you use? I am just getting started ttrying to do gluten free and I miss the flour so much. Is reg condensed milk contain gluten? Thanks for sharing.

    • Bethany

      thank you! I used bob’s red mill all purpose mix but have also used better batter and other all purpose mixes at the store with good results. As far as condensed milk, no, they are all gluten free, we just try to buy all of our dairy products organic bc they are the only ones that don’t hurt my husband’s stomach :) Let me know how your baking adventures go!

  • Kristy

    I’m gluten free too and so excited to try these! I love finding new gluten free recipes. Thanks for sharing! #client

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