~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Friday, May 3, 2013

Homemade Almond Joy Bars/Truffles

Homemade Almond Joy Bars/Truffles... a healthier option. Growing up, one of my favorite candy bars was Almond Joy or Mounds. I didn't have it regularly, but when I did, I enjoyed it immensely.While coconut wasn't something we grew up with, I instantly loved it when I first tried it. Now I don't exactly remember when my first encounter with coconut happened, but I do remember making a German chocolate cake quite often as a teen. It was a cake we all loved, moist, chocolate-y and coconut-y. So my love for coconut has always found it's way in my baking... 

I've often contemplated making my own almond joy candy bars, but couldn't see myself adding the sweetened condensed milk most recipes require. I don't buy it, so I knew I had to settle for using something else. And in all honesty, I wanted to make a healthier version, without adding too much sugar. Of course making something taste as good as the store-bought version isn't going to happen without using lots of sugar and other ingredients. So the idea of making my own healthier homemade version of almond joys sort of took a back seat. Over the years, I settled in making other coconut desserts that satisfied my craving for almond joy... such as the almond joy macaroons.  

Recently, as I was looking at some recipes, I ran into a healthy version of the almond joy... and I instantly knew it was high time I make them. I had all the ingredients at home, and the recipe sounded super easy. Ended up making them in no time.... and even doubled the recipe to make some almond joy truffles. Seems like I always have to add my own signature:). Anyway, it was a fun little project... and as a result, I ended up with a container with yummy chocolates, including some walnut clusters I made with the leftover melted chocolate. Nothing wasted, and it was so much cheaper... and healthier. Granted these almond joy bars weren't as moist as the store-bought version, but they're still coconut-y and chocolate-y delicious! And they are a great addition to the date and nut truffles I posted recently... varies the chocolate "box" a bit. Hope you enjoy...    
Tip: Keep bars/truffles in the fridge if chocolate isn't tempered...

You will need: adapted from Food52 
Double recipe, if also making truffles... and chop almonds. 
Makes about 10 pieces

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2-3 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup/honey(honey is sweeter)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
few drops of almond extract, optional
small pinch of salt
10 whole almonds lightly toasted, or as needed 
4-5 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips or bars, chopped

walnuts for making the clusters, if you have leftover melted chocolate

1. Lightly toast your almonds, if desired. Toaster oven works great for this.

2. In a food processor, process the shredded coconut, coconut oil, honey, vanilla extract, and salt until it forms a thick paste. If  you find the coconut  mixture is too loose to hold together, then continue to process for an additional minute or so.

3. Take about 2 tsps worth of coconut mixture and with your fingers, form small compact rectangles (1 1 1/2-1 3/4 inch). Make an indentation in the middle... to hold the almond. 

4. Place coconut rectangles on a parchment lined plate/sheet and add an almond on top of each. 

5. Place coconut rectangles in freezer and freeze till hardened.... 30 minutes or longer.  

6. When ready to dip, melt chocolate... using a bain marie or the microwave(15 sec interval, stirring till almost melted, allowing for some smaller chocolate pieces to be seen, let sit until completely melted and stir)

7. Remove coconut rectangles from freezer and dip each in the melted chocolate, turning over to completely cover and removing with a fork. 

8. Tap fork on the edge of the bowl to remove excess chocolate and then scrape the bottom of the fork. Place chocolates on parchment paper lined plate. The chocolate will harden quickly. I like to place the almond joys in the fridge  for storing... then bring them to room temperature before serving. 
~If making truffles, form coconut mixture into balls, freeze and dip in chocolate,... then  sprinkle with almonds. You may need to add a bit of melted chocolate on top of teh truffle( chocolate has dried) so the chopped almonds stick. Place on parchment paper...

~If you have any remaining chocolate, stir in walnuts( or even extra almonds)... to make clusters.  Allow to set on parchment paper.


Rose said...

These look absolutely fantastic! I also loved Almond Joys as a child. Will definitely need to keep these on a to-make list around Christmas time (is it crazy to think about the holidays already!?).

Joanne T Ferguson said...

G'day! I used to LOVE Almond Joys, TRUE!
Brings back A LOT of wonderful childhood memories too!
Your recipe, photos look YUM!
What's On The List?

Anonymous said...

These look delicious! One of my favorite candy bars, I never imagined they would be so easy.

I just met your neice on Sunday, she visited our church. It was wonderful!

Ellie said...

Hi Rose, Good to hear from you:). You know, making these healthier version of the Almond Joys was so much fun. They aren't difficult to make and if you keep them refrigerated, they are a delight to have on hand:)...
And no, it's never to early to think of holiday treats:)... you might have to try them before that though, to see if you like them:).

Ellie said...

Joanne, Thank you for your kind words! Almond Joys are still a favorite:)... and I'm so glad I can now make a healthier version.
Thanks for stopping by....

Ellie said...

MommaMindy, Thank you... the bars aren't too difficult to make, it's just hard to stop eating them all:).
But what a treat to hear from you! So glad you got to meet my niece(!)... what a small world:). She's a sweetie! And I'm sure she was thrilled to meet you too!
Thanks for stopping by... and sharing:). I love it when God orchestrates things in ways that are truly His doing.
Hope you have a blessed week!

Speranta said...

Delicioase si apetisante,cred ca sunt o bunatate ,arata super!
Imi plac foarte mult!

Dar pentu mine nu sunt usor ,nici nu ma gandesc sa incerc...

Esti de apreciat tot ce faci!

Ellie said...

Speranta, Niste bomboane care sant chiar bune:)! Si nu are prea mult zahar... cred ca este destul de "healthy":).

Nu sant deloc grele de facut.... poate intro zi o sa iti arat cum se face:). Dar cred ca ti-ar placea cele cu nuca doar ciocolata topita si amestecata cu nuci. Sant tare bune:)!

Multumesc de vizita, si cuvintele tale asa de incurajatoare!

Iti doresc o zi frumoasa si plina de bucurii in Domnul!

Anonymous said...

I did those last week and they were so, so good. Thank you,

Ellie said...

Veronica, You are welcome:). I am so glad you enjoyed the Almond Joy bars! Thank you so much for trying out the recipe, and for taking the time to come back and share your feedback. I really appreciate it!