Happy Monday everyone!
This morning you get to meet one of my new darlings.
Homemade Almond Joy Bars.
But not just any old almond joy bars… these ones don’t hardly have any added sugar… just a smidge of honey.
What’s more, they are Paleo, Primal, Gluten-free, and even GAPS-legal if you use honey-sweetened chocolate.
As I reduce the sugar further in my diet, I still love my treats but I like my sweets less and less sweet. Yeah I realize it’s just a little schizo… but that’s how I roll.
So anyway, when I first got my Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil in the mail, I took one taste and immediately knew I was going to make these.
Tropical Traditions coconut oil is rich, coconutty, with a smooth texture that tastes sweet without being sweetened.
It’s the perfect addition to homemade sweets and it’s even good for you to boot! With these bars, I wanted to make a “very coconut” filling and coat them with a mixture of dark chocolate and coconut oil.
The end result turned out interesting – the filling is not chewy like the candy bar namesake, but is more hard & crumbly. The texture reminds me of Russian Teacakes. They were quite addictive!
There were several different phases to making this stuff.
Phase 1 – Toasting the Coconut & Almonds
I toasted a whole bunch of unsweetened coconut in the oven until it was mostly golden brown. I then took a couple cups of it and ran it through my blender until it turned into coconut butter. This takes a REALLY long time, by the way.
While I was mixing the coconut butter, I also toasted the almonds on a cookie sheet in the oven.
I then mixed said coconut butter with MORE toasty coconut and a wee bit of coconut oil. Using wax paper, I shaped the mass into a square that was about an inch high (the height I wanted for my bars). I threw it into the fridge.
Next time I make these, I will only make them half as thick, since at the time I was forgetting the height the almonds would give.
Phase 2 – Setting up the bars
I took the square and cut it once all the way through, and then cut each rectangle into bars. This took some power!
I started melting the chocolate & coconut oil together in a double-boiler. One thing I wanted to do before dipping the bars was to attach the almonds to the filling.
I’ve noticed a lot of homemade almond joy bar recipes don’t include that step, but I’m pretty sure if memory serves me correctly that the commercial candy bars have a layer of chocolate between the almonds and the filling.
In any case, I just thought it would make it easier to coat the bars if the almonds were already attached via little dots of chocolate.
So I took an old baby medicine thermometer, filled it with the melted chocolate coating mixture, and put a dot of it where I wanted each almond to be.
I then set the almonds on top of each dot, and put the whole shebang into the fridge for the chocolate to set up.
Once the bars were set up, it was dippin’ time.
Phase 3 – Dipping the bars
Not too hard here… I held each bar with tongs and dipped them into the chocolate mixture, then set them onto a tray to cool.
And there you have it! These were really good, not sugary-sweet but a little different. I think toasting the coconut beforehand really gave it an amped up flavor.
I also think that these would be more chewy and maybe like the original bars if you use sweetened flaked coconut and chopped it up in the blender first, but I wanted to use unsweetened. I liked them a lot so I’ll keep making them this way
- 3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
- ½ cup coconut oil, melted
- 2 Tbs honey
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup (~4-4.5oz) chopped dark chocolate
- 1½ Tbs coconut oil
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- When preheated, spread the coconut out on a cookie sheet or 9×13 pan and toast it until it’s mostly evenly golden, stirring every 5 minutes or so. This will take about 15-20 minutes.
- When coconut is finished, measure out 1 cup and set aside.
- Pour the remaining 2 cups coconut into a food process or high powered blender and begin blending until it turns into coconut butter (or cream). This can take a very long time, you may need to give your appliance a rest.
- While the coconut is blending, roast your almonds for about 5-10 minutes until you can smell a toasty aroma and they begin to get darker brown.
- When the coconut cream is finished, add in the reserved toasted coconut, ½ cup coconut oil, honey and vanilla.
- Mix well and shape into a square approx. ½ inch thick.
- Alternately, you can press the mixture into mini-muffin cups, lined 9×9 square or 9×13 pans to shape them.
- Chill the shaped mixture well until firm, then cut into the desired size bars with a sharp knife.
- Melt the dark chocolate with the 1½ Tbs coconut oil in a double boiler until well incorporated, smooth and quite liquid.
- Using either a spoon, kitchen syringe, or any other creative method, allow the chocolate to drip onto the coconut bars where you would like to place the almonds, one drip at a time.
- Place the almonds on top of each chocolate drip and press in.
- Chill or freeze the bars until the chocolate is set.
- Once chilled firm, dip the bars in the remaining dark chocolate mixture to coat.
- Allow to drip off excess chocolate and place on a wire rack or wax paper to cool.
- Store in a cool, dry place.
These take a lot of work, but are absolutely divine. They would make great special occasion treats.
Paleo/Primal compliant. GAPS legal if made with honey-sweetened chocolate.