Calling All Coconut Lovers: Homemade Almond Joy Bars
Have you ever been the one to search through a box of assorted chocolates for that one dark chocolate coconut cluster? I admit to being that person. I’ve hunted through a chocolate box, like Katniss hunting her prey. I have my favorites, as I’m sure you have yours.
My love affair with coconut didn’t start with coconut clusters. Long before eating my first cluster, I had an Almond Joy candy bar. On Halloween, I would go house to house to search through bowls of candy for this chocolate covered coconut treat. In the summer when I heard the song “its a small world” blaring through the neighborhood, I would order a toasted almond ice cream bar from the ice cream truck. The flavor resembled that of an Almond Joy. I was in heaven.
Recently, I found a recipe for vegan almond joy bars that were both raw and vegan, as well as gluten-free. I seized the opportunity to make them for Easter dinner at my grandma’s when I realized I had most of the ingredients. The bottom of the bar had the slight flavor of almond butter, which was masked by rich dark chocolate. The topping was flaky, with both a fresh coconut flavor and the flavor of amaretto. Read on for the recipe.
Ingredients for homemade almond joy bars:
*Recipe from the Rawmazing blog
*Makes about 16 (depending on the size you cut the bars)
For the crust:
1/4 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
a sprinkle of sea salt
3/4 cups of freshly ground almond butter
1/3 of a cup of coconut sugar (though other types may work too)
1/3 of a cup of cocoa powder
For the topping:
2/3 cup of coconut butter/spread, softened (though I’m sure other varieties would work too like butter or Earth Balance spread)
1 teaspoon of almond extract (I used 2 teaspoons, but I thought I could have cut it down a little bit, since the almond flavor was strong) *feel free to swap out for vanilla extract if you dislike the taste of almond flavoring
3 tbsp of agave nectar
2 cups of dry, unsweetened coconut flakes
top with slivered almonds and cacao nibs
1- To make the crust, start by melting the coconut oil. I melted it in the microwave for about a minute. When the coconut oil is melted, add it to a bowl with the vanilla extract and pinch of salt. Stir well before adding the coconut sugar, cocoa powder, and almond butter. Mix well. Then evenly spread the mixture into an 8 x 8 glass baking pan lined with parchment paper. Chill while you make the topping (for 10-20 minutes to let the mixture set).
2- To make the topping, mix the softened coconut butter (I softened mine in the microwave) with the almond extract and the agave nectar. Then mix in the coconut flakes. Make sure not to add this to the crust, until it is mostly set.
3- Evenly spread the mixture on top of the crust. Put it back in the fridge until you are ready to serve. Then slice and throw on some almond slices and cacao nibs. Just make sure NOT to put these on a hot surface as they melt easily. It is best if they are taken out of the fridge a few minutes before consumption.
What was your favorite candy growing up? Have you tried to recreate any of your favorites in your own kitchen?