These vegan cookie bars are a cross between a chocolate chip cookie and a blondie, but merged into one! Chewy sides, soft centers, and oozing with chocolate chips, they are one showstopping dessert made in one bowl!
Vegan Gluten Free Cookie Bars
It’s no secret that I love a good dessert after dinner. I feel like I’ve classically conditioned myself to expect something sweet after dinner, and it’s a habit I don’t intend on breaking anytime soon. It’s a good thing that I make plenty of desserts, so my fridge is always stocked with a little something. While I usually stick to cookies or blondies, I’ve recently started enjoying a loaded chocolate chip cookie bar.
I’ve been meaning to share a vegan cookie bar recipe for quite some time now. Initially, I wanted to make a magic cookie bar but thought I’d go back to basics and begin with the classic chocolate chip. Cookie bars are one of my favorite desserts because they are a cross between a blondie and a chocolate chip cookie.
Now, these cookie bars may look incredibly fancy, but I promise you, they are one of the easiest desserts you’ll ever make. Simple ingredients and all up, they take less than 25 minutes.
No eggs and no dairy is needed, but you’d never tell. The texture makes anyone swoon- Crisp edges, tender tops, and a soft center. The cookie bars are sweet and full of plenty of chocolate, ensuring each bite has a mix of both.
I made a batch of these for some friends recently, and NO ONE believed me when I said that they were vegan and gluten free- They thought I had bought them from a bakery!
How do you make vegan cookie bars?
- All purpose flour– Also known as plain flour. I used gluten free all purpose flour, that has added xanthan gum.
- Baking soda– Gives some rise and fluffiness to the cookie bars.
- Salt– Brings out the sweetness of all the ingredients.
- Egg replacement– I used a flax egg (3 tablespoons water mixed with 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed), but a chia egg can also be used. If you don’t follow a strict vegan diet, you can use a large egg instead.
- Vegan butter– Try to use vegan butter from a block, not from a spread. If you can’t find vegan butter, vegan margarine can also be used. Like the egg replacement, if you aren’t following a vegan diet, unsalted butter can be used.
- White and brown sugar– A combination of white and brown sugar gives the cookie bars crispy edges but gooey centers. See my tips below for sugar free options.
- Vanilla extract– A must for any good cookie recipe.
- Chocolate– What is a cookie or cookie bar without some chocolate in it? Any chocolate can be used!
Start by mixing together your dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. In a separate mixing bowl, use a stick mixer to cream together your brown/white sugar with the softened butter. Add the vanilla extract and flax egg (or egg) until combined.
Now, gently fold in the dry mixture into the wet, until just combined. Use a rubber spatula to fold through the chocolate. Transfer the cookie bar mixture into a square pan covered with parchment paper. Bake the cookie bars for around 25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out mostly clean and the tops are golden.
Finally, let the bars cool in the pan completely, before removing and slicing it into bars.
Can I make these bars gooey?
Unlike blondies, cookie bars tend to be thicker, but with a more soft center.
If you’d like gooey centers, either make the blondies or add 1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup.
Why did my cookie bars sink in the middle?
Like any dessert bar or brownie recipe, they CAN be prone to sinking in the middle. However, there is a way you can avoid that!
As tempting as it is, overmixing the batter creates extra air pockets that, once baked, rise up then sink as it continues to cook. To avoid this, mix everything together until it is just combined. Fold through the chocolate and then immediately transfer it to the lined pan.
No more temptation to overmix AND no sinking in the middle!
Can I make these cookie bars healthier?
Yes! If you’d like to make these healthier, here are the tested substitutions I can vouch for.
- All purpose flour– White whole wheat all purpose flour gives them a similar texture, but with the addition of wholegrains and fiber.
- White sugar– Monk fruit sweetener or erythritol. Both are zero calories and zero sugar.
- Brown sugar– A sugar free brown sugar, like golden monk fruit sweetener or swerve brown sugar. Like the white sugar substitutions, they both contain no calories or sugar.
- Chocolate– Any low sugar or sugar free chocolate bar, or chocolate chips.
Is there a keto and paleo option?
You will love to make these keto cookie bars instead.
They have a similar flavor and texture, with plenty of sugar free chocolate chips throughout.
Storing and freezing tips
- To store: Cookie bars can be stored at room temperature, covered, for up to 1 week. Store them in the refrigerator if you’d like them to keep longer.
- To freeze: Wrap bars in parchment paper and place them in a ziplock bag. Store in the freezer for up to 6 months.
More vegan dessert recipes to try
Vegan Cookie Bars (GF)
- Prepare your flax egg by combining 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed with 6 tablespoons of water. Let sit for 10 minutes, for a gel to form.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line an 9 x 9-inch pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a small bowl, add your flour, baking soda, and salt, and mix well. In a separate bowl, cream together your softened butter with sugars, using a stick mixer. Once smooth and creamy, add in the vanilla extract.
- Gently add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold through your chocolate.
- Transfer your cookie bar mixture into the lined pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan completely, before slicing into bars.