Let’s meet halfway here. You’ve seen these Halfway Bars on this blog not too long ago. I told you I was going to remake them for even more delicious thick meringue on top. The first go at this recipe was so good, I just had to try them again – you know, for research. I am not a quitter – especially if it involves chocolate.
When I first made these bars, I almost bit my lip trying to get them in my mouth. I couldn’t taste them fast enough. But then I realized that the meringue layer had technically been a fail since it didn’t have a thick bite. I still blogged about them because they were dang tasty! I called them Halfway Bars anyway and my family helped me lick the pan clean. Those beautiful bars needed more of that crave-able, so wonderful marshmallow-y blissful top. The second attempt gave me just that.
Two new key ingredients help give us more success – more cornstarch and cream of tartar. The meringue top cookie bars are firmer, thicker and chewier. The meringue layer is like a warm marshmallow, freshly toasted from a camp fire. Light and chewy meringue paired with a gooey, chocolate chip cookie base is simply unbeatable!
Healthy Halfway Bars (dairy-free)
2 cups Spelt Flour
1 teaspoon Sea or Pink Salt
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/3 cup Soy Free Earth Balance Butter
3 Tablespoons Unsweetened Applesauce
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1/3 cup Honey
1 1/2 cups Coconut Sugar, divided
3 Large Egg Yokes
4 Large Egg Whites
1/2 teaspoon Cornstarch (non-GMO)
1/8 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
1 cup Sugar Free Chocolate Chips
Line a glass 9 by 13 baking dish with parchment paper so enough hangs off the sides and you can easily lift the bars out when baked. Spray with cooking spray. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the first 4 ingredients. In another bowl, cream together the butter, applesauce, honey and 1 cup of coconut sugar. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and mix until combined. Add the wet to the dry in 3 batches. Press the dough in the prepared pan. Spread out the 1 cup of chocolate chips over the dough.
Wipe out the bowl that was used for the dry ingredients. Place the 4 egg whites in the bowl and begin whisking the whites. Slowly increase speed to medium speed. When they begin to look very frothy and become a lighten in color, add the cream of tartar and corn starch. Continue to beat for another minute. Continue gradually increase speed while slowly adding in the coconut sugar. Beat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture has become smooth and slightly glossy. The meringue should hold a soft peak and be light in color. Spread the mixture over the bars.
Cover the pan with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove the foil cover and bake for an additional 5-7 minutes. Allow to cool for 15 minutes then lift the parchment paper from the pan to remove the bars from the pan. Cut after another 5 or 10 minutes if you can stand to wait that long. But don’t tempt anyone for too long.