Cappuccino Chocolate Chip Bars (Low Carb and Gluten Free)


I have a long list of recipes I want to make. A very long list, indeed. I have tons of recipes saved in virtual recipe boxes all over the internet. I have dog-eared pages in cooking magazines, and little tabs stuck out of various cookbooks. And on top of all that, I have pieces of paper all over my desk with lists of my own ideas for recipe creation. There is some method to the madness and I have something of a mental list in my head of the order of recipes I want to make for this blog. And for the most part, I follow it. But every so often a recipe comes along that usurps the whole mental list completely and I have to make it right away. Or at least, I have to make a low carb version of it. If it’s so tempting that it takes precedence over the mental list, you know I have to be able to eat some of it.

This was one such recipe. I came across the full-sugar, high carb version of it last week on Tastespotting, and I nearly fell out of my seat. They are from a blog called Bakergirl, and I may owe a debt of gratitude to her for bringing them into my life. Well, not her version exactly, because I am pretty certain that her version would send me into a diabetic coma. To my eyes, the bars on her blog appeared to be crumbly coffee-flavoured shortbread studded with chocolate chips and with a cinnamon glaze. Which amounts to four of my favourite things all in one bar…coffee, shortbread, chocolate and cinnamon. You can perhaps begin to understand why these bars usurped the mental list and became a must-make-right-now recipe.

It took a bit of thinking to get an idea of how to make a low carb version of these gorgeous bars. I cut her recipe in half because I wasn’t quite sure how they would turn out and didn’t want to waste the ingredients if they were a failure. At first, I tried for a similar ratio of flour (almond flour, in my case) to butter as in the original recipe, but it quickly became clear that it was much too moist, so I increased the almond flour. Since they weren’t going to have any eggs, I added a little xanthan gum to help bind the bars together, so they wouldn’t crumble into dust, and a little whey protein powder for structure. And to get that brown sugar colour and taste, I used some Ideal Sweetener Brown (xylitol with a little molasses) along with erythritol and stevia. I didn’t have any sugar free chocolate chips at hand, so I chopped up a 90% cacao chocolate bar into small pieces.

The Results: These bars were intended to be my dessert for the next week or so, but they didn’t last much longer than about 48 hours. I ate them for dessert, but I also ate them for breakfast and for snacks. They were so intensely good, so rich and flavourful, that I could hardly stay away from the pan. They were a tad crumbly but for me, this only added to their charm. I’ve always loved bars where I can scoop up a handful of crumbs out of the pan into my mouth after cutting them.

I wouldn’t have thought to add cinnamon into a bar like this if it hadn’t been a part of the original recipe, but it really does round out the flavour. The glaze on it’s own was delicious, I nearly licked the bowl clean after spreading it on the bars! The cinnamon makes me think of a cappuccino so I took the liberty of renaming my version of the bars with that in mind.

Cappuccino Chocolate Chip Bars


1 1/2 cups almond flour

2 tbsp vanilla whey protein powder

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp xanthan gum

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 tbsp granulated erythritol

2 tbsp brown sugar substitute OR 2 additional tbsp granulated erythritol

1 tbsp espresso powder

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

18 drops stevia extract

3.5 oz chopped 85-90% cacao (gluten free, if possible)


1/4 cup powdered erythritol

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp whole milk

For the bars, preheat the oven to 325F and lightly grease an 8×8 inch pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, protein powder, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and xanthan gum.

In a large bowl, cream the butter with the erythritol, brown sugar substitute, espresso powder, vanilla and stevia until combined. Add almond flour mixture in two batches, beating until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Dough will be quite sticky.

Press dough evenly into prepared pan, using plastic wrap and pressing through the wrap to keep dough from sticking to your fingers. Use a flat-bottomed glass or measuring cup to press down and even the surface (again, pressing through the plastic wrap).

Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until bars are lightly browned (edges will be quite brown). Remove and let cool in pan 20 minutes.

For the glaze, whisk together powdered erythritol and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add milk and stir until smooth. Spread over bars and let cool completely. Cut into bars.

Serves 16. Each bar has 4.8g of carbs and 1.9g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 2.9g.

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  1. Pretend Chef says

    Amazing what you did with this recipe. These bars look so delicious and sound like a great breakfast, snack, or dessert option. Yummy!

  2. erin @cut the cookie says

    Oh, these sound delicious! I have that mental list thing sorted, too – until something mind-blowing turns up on the internet. As it invariably does. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Cassie @ Bake Your Day says

    I'm so glad you found these! I love chocolate combined with coffee flavors. The texture looks just perfect too. I would love to be dipping one of these in my coffee right now! :)

  4. Tiffany says

    Just lovely! I'm particularly digging that you included protein powder! AND like you, I have a long list of recipes I want to make too… I actually keep a notebook of ideas, the list grows faster than I can cook all of my ideas! Happy Sunday!

  5. Val says

    What a fantastic treat. I love how you manage to find a gluten-free substitute. I'll file this recipe (I also have too big a list of things to cook!)

  6. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. says

    Yummy! These look so good and the fact that they are low-carb makes them even better!!

  7. Sarah says

    I'm the same way with recipes, except I'm not sure there is any method to my madness…

    These bars look fantastic! I can't even tell you how excited I am to try them!!

  8. says

    These look delicious! I love that you do all different forms of cooking (gluten-free, low-carb). Thanks for sharing!

  9. Parsley Sage says

    Fabulous! They sounds amazingly delicious and I'm not at all surprised that they didn't make it more than 48 hours. I doubt they'd last longer than 24 in my house and there are only two of us!

  10. The Mom Chef says

    My mom is to a point where she's borderline diabetic and she LOVES coffee and chocolate so I'm saving this to make for her next time I visit. She'll want to find you and hug you!

  11. Sandra says

    Your Cappuccino Chocolate Chip bars are so delicious looking Carolyn..what a great recipe! I could almost smell warm aroma!!! yum!

  12. The Procrastobaker says

    I saw the original recipe and instantly wanted to try them, your version has just made me crave them even more! They look and sound dangerously addictive :)

  13. Apron Appeal says

    when you say erythritol do you mean truvia? I'm very interested in sugar substitutes but sometimes sorting them out, makes my head spin.

  14. Carolyn says

    Hi Apron Appeal – Truvia does contain erythritol, but it also contains stevia. The brand I use is ZSweet, which contains a bit of stevia but is mostly straight erythritol and then I add more stevia into the baked good. I like this product mostly because it comes in a crystalline form, resembling actual sugar, so that I can often use it in the same ways as sugar, such as when creaming butter for a cake and that sort of thing.

  15. Lauren at Keep It Sweet says

    These look delicious! No wonder you couldn't wait to make them. I have a zillion recipes that I want to try so it takes something special to get to the front of the line.

  16. MikeVFMK says

    Carolyn, what a great combination of flavours! I knew chocolate and coffee went together but never thought of cappucicino! They look amazing!

  17. The Cilantropist says

    Carolyn I am always so impressed with your recipe 'make-overs!' I bet I wouldnt be able to resist these either and they would disappear quickly like they did for you. 😉 Oh and the recipe hoarding/lists? Yeah, I totally have that too. I thought everyone did? :)

  18. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. says

    Love that these are low-carb! And I know what you mean about having a looooong list of recipes to make for blogging! I have notepads full of recipes!

  19. Allison says

    My friend and I made these last night. Fantastic – it was all I could do not to eat the entire pan. We didn't have powdered erythritol, so we just used Truvia, cinnamon, and almond milk for the glaze. We heated it over the stove and poured it over the top of the bars while it was still hot and liquified. It cooled into a crunchy cinnamony sweet glaze of glory. Awesome.

  20. RavieNomNoms says

    I am simply amazed at all the things you manage to make low-carb. I really really need to try and make some of these recipes, especially since I am getting older and my body doesn't seem to be handling the carbs as well as is used to haha. Looks fantastic Carolyn!

  21. Kerry says

    Oh man. Now I owe YOU a debt of gratitude! I'm actually (trying to be) on a low-carb diet, but I've never tried a low carb baking recipe I've actually liked. They usually have that a weird, grainy texture I just can't get down with, but these look amazing! I can't wait to try this since I can't stop thinking about these cookie bars. P.S. Where do you find xanthum gum & granulated erythritol?

  22. Beloved Green says

    Coffee, shortbread, chocolate and cinnamon — I would agree that would bump it up in the "I have to make that recipe" list.

  23. Happy When Not Hungry says

    I have a huge list of recipes that I want to try as well! These bars look delicious. Love the flavors!

  24. Jennifer @ eatyourvegetable says

    love your recipes! i've been trying to work almond flour, agave, almond milk…etc…into my baking more often. bookmarking these and the coconut breakfast bars…thanks!

  25. Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen says

    I love the thought processes in how you took a recipe and low-carb/gluten-freed it and still kept the deliciousness. Great job, Carolyn!

  26. Foodness Gracious says

    Yes, coffee and chocolate should be neighbours forever! I love that combo and your bars look superb. Umm do you ship?
    Thanks for sharing..

  27. Laurie K says

    These are fantastic, and I have nothing but great applause for all of your recipes here,as I’ve tried many and will keep going! I find this web site/blog very informative on low carb/ gluten free cooking. My husband thanks you as well as he is the one we are cooking for! He is very athletic and likely would have starved to death! Huge learning curve for us both. Thanks soo much and keep the creations coming!

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