As a child, I hated coconut. I also wasn’t fond of bathing, large dogs and my little sister. Luckily, I’ve grown to love a few of these items over the past thirty years, and coconut is definitely one of them.
I’ve been trying to clean up my diet a bit a lately, but I still can’t give up a sweet treat at the end of the day. After eating healthy all day long, I feel like I deserve a little something to reward myself. It’s backwards thinking, but I’m okay with it.
I saw this recipe on Huffington Post (via Food 52), and I made them immediately. They’re moderately healthy, gluten free, no-bake, no-fuss, and you can seriously have them in your mouth within thirty minutes. Win win.
Healthy Almond Joys (recipe from Food 52)
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, lightly packed
3 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (or honey, but I used maple syrup)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
12 (or more) whole almonds
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
Maldon Sea Salt for sprinkling
In a food processor, process the shredded coconut, coconut oil, syrup (or honey), vanilla extract, and salt until it forms a thick paste, about 2 to 3 minutes. Test the coconut mixture to see if it holds together by squeezing a small amount in your palm. It should compact nicely. If the coconut is still too loose to hold together well, continue to process the coconut mixture for 1 to 2 more minutes.
Scoop the coconut mixture with a tablespoon and drop onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or silpat. Press each ball into a small rectangle, taking care to make sure the sides and top are compact. Press an almond on top of the coconut rectangles.
Place the coconut rectangles in the freezer and freeze for 15 to 30 minutes, or until solid.
Once the coconut is frozen, melt the chopped chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave in 15 second intervals, stirring between each interval, until the chocolate is smooth.
Carefully skewer each frozen candy bar onto a toothpick and dip into the melted chocolate, tapping off any excess. Return the bar to the parchment or silpat, sprinkle with Maldon Sea Salt, and wait for the chocolate to dry before removing the toothpick. Since the coconut is frozen, this should only take about 30 seconds.
Allow the coconut to thaw before serving. Store at room temperature in an airtight container; these should keep for several days.