Gluten Free Vegan Magic Bars Recipe

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by Carol Kicinski on October 13, 2010

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Gluten Free Vegan Magic Bars Recipe

Remember Magic Bars? Layered bar cookies that started out with a graham cracker crust and ended up with a can of sweetened condensed milk poured all over? I think they are called Magic Bars because they come together in a flash and something about that sweetened condensed milk just pulls the whole thing together.

I had already mastered making gluten-free, grain free magic bars but I decided to try out a vegan version. This means no dairy which means … yep, you guessed it – no sweetened condensed milk. Would this mean no magic?

With hardly any more work than opening up that can of sweetened condensed milk, you can whip these up and make a little gluten-free, vegan magic of your own!

I topped my magic bars with dairy free chocolate chips, almond slivers, maraschino cherries and coconut. I really love the combination of the sweet cherries with the dark, rich chocolate and the crunch of the nuts. The beauty of these bars is that you can change up the toppings to suit your own tastes.

Simply Gluten Free Magic Vegan Bars

Gluten Free Vegan Magic Bars Recipe


2 cups blanched almond flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2  cup agave nectar – use divided
3 tablespoons melted non-dairy butter substitute (such as Earth Balance)
¼ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
1 cup coconut milk – shake can well before measuring
2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder
2 cups dairy free chocolate chips
½ cup maraschino cherries, drained, patted dry and quartered
1 cup sliced or slivered almonds
1½ cups sweetened flaked coconut


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 inch by 12 inch baking dish with gluten-free non-stick cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl, mix the almond flour with the sugar, 1/4 cup agave, melted non-dairy butter substitute and salt until well combined. Moisten hands with water and pat the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.

In another mixing bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, remaining 1/4 cup agave or honey and cornstarch. Pour over the almond crust. Sprinkle the chocolate chips, cherries, almonds and coconut evenly over the top. Gently press down.

Bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until the almonds and coconut flakes are browned and toasty.

Let cool. It is easier to cut into squares if you refrigerate for about an hour to let everything set.

Cut into squares.


This Gluten Free Vegan Magic Bars recipe serves 6

The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog owner’s. This blog accepts free manufacturers’ samples and forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. Affiliate links may be included in this post.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristina @ spabettie October 13, 2010 at 12:21 pm

oh… these look so tasty !!

I'm not a fan of maraschino, but I may have to give this a try…


Deanna October 13, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Oh man! I am loving the looks of that. Well, not the cherries – not a huge fan of those – but the rest of it, for sure!


Donna October 13, 2010 at 12:35 pm

I haven't had magic bars in sooo long! Can't wait to make these. And I LOVE the cherries, especially with chocolate.


Lisa (bakebikeblog) October 13, 2010 at 2:36 pm

Carol – these look wonderful! I will have to keep them in mind next time I am asked to bring a sweet treat to a party!


Allyson October 13, 2010 at 4:40 pm

wow, these are so pretty! I haven't had a "magic bar" in over ten years… thank you for the sweet memories.


Heidi October 14, 2010 at 7:07 am

Brilliant Carol!!! I cannot wait to make these and will even get crazy and try the maraschino cherries. Did you know that there are some Maraschino Cherries that are free of the artificial colors (but still bright red)? I bought them at Whole Foods a while back and they are really good. If it's okay, here is the link to the company that makes them:



glutenfreeforgood October 14, 2010 at 7:28 am

Those "magic bars" were called "nummies" in our family. But you know, the sweetened condensed milk is icky anyway, so your version is WAY healthier and sounds wonderful. I love this kind of "launching pad" recipe. You provide the basic "magic" and we get to tweak to our heart's desire. Good one, Carol. This is a keeper. (Thanks, Heidi, for the Faceook tip-off.)


gfe--gluten free easily October 14, 2010 at 8:08 am

Beautiful, Carol! You are perpetuating your maraschino love, I see. :-) I'm not a big cherry fan all the time, but I'll have to try these–with and without.



Tasty Eats At Home October 23, 2010 at 5:58 am

Ooh yum, magic bars! Glad to see that coconut milk works here!


shireen October 27, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Are the maraschino cherries you use certified vegan? I’ve heard their coloring comes from carmine (aka cochineal insect) so if you have a certified vegan brand please share the name. Thank you!


Carol Kicinski October 29, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Tillen Farms Merry Maraschino cherries are vegan. Enjoy!


Leslie Kemp November 25, 2013 at 9:59 pm

I recently found out about your blog. I have been looking at your recipes for the last two days. I just have to say you are incredible and I can’t wait to start trying them. Thank you so much for putting all these beautiful recipes to the public!


CarolKicinski November 26, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Aw, thank you Leslie! You totally made my day! Enjoy.


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