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Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

12 bars
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 25-30 minutes
Cost: $6.00

12 large medjool dates, pitted
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup almond milk

Cookie Bars
3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1.5 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick vegan earth balance butter, room temperature
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup organic brown sugar
1/2 cup organic maple syrup
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 flax eggs (3 tbsp ground flax seed+9 tbsp water, soaked)
1/2 cup almond or soy milk
1 cup vegan chocolate chips
1 tbsp sea salt, preferably large granules

Blend all caramel ingredients in a food processor until smooth.  The caramel will be slightly thick.

Preheat oven to 375F.  Line a 9x9 pan with parchment paper or grease.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. 

In a stand mixer, combine vegan butter, coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.  Beat on high until combined.  Add flax eggs and milk and continue to beat.  Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed.  Stir in the chocolate chips. 

Divide the dough in half and spread one of the halves on the bottom of the prepared pan.  With a spatula, spread a thin layer of the caramel mixture over top of the cookie dough mixture.  Using your fingers, sprinkle with sea salt to create a light coating.  You may not need to use the whole tablespoon.  Layer and spread the second half of the cookie dough on top of the caramel layer.  Sprinkle with a bit more sea salt if desired.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is slightly browned.  Allow to cool completely in the pan before serving.  Grab a plate and a fork because these bars are gooey and delicious!