Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Peachy Palate: Paleo Almond Joy Bars

So what do you do when Valentine's Day rolls around, and the person who is your valentine is on a Paleo diet?  I mean, that pretty much rules out every box of goodies in the store, which is a bit of a bummer, frankly.  Well, if you're a little enterprising, you get on trusty Pinterest and search the crap out of Paleo desserts (just a warning - coconut features heavily).  Now, I'm a huge fan of Almond Joy candy bars, so when this little number popped up, I knew it was what I would be trying.  For something with basically no sugar in it, these turned out pretty well, but I kinda missed the syrupy texture of the coconut base, so I may have to do some additional tinkering.  No complaints from the valentine, though. ;)

Paleo Almond Joy Bars
Adapted from Peachy Palate blog

2 cups desiccated coconut
2 tablespoons coconut flour
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
¼ cup coconut butter, melted
2 tablespoons coconut cream
Seeds from one vanilla bean, or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 tablespoons raw honey or maple syrup

Almond butter topping:
⅓ cup smooth all-natural almond butter (no sugar added)
2 tablespoons raw honey
2 tablespoons coconut butter, melted
16 roasted unsalted almonds

Chocolate coating:
10 ounces 90% – 99% dark chocolate
2 tablespoons raw honey or maple syrup
1 tablespoon coconut oil
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Blitz all the filling ingredients together in your food processor to break up the coconut a bit.  Set aside for 5 minutes.

Divide the mixture into eight mounds on a parchment or wax paper-lined baking tray that you can fit into your freezer with ease.  Using your fingers, shape the coconut mixture into bars, similar to a fun size Almond Joy bar. Alternatively, you can place the mixture in a silicon ice cube tray and make mini Almond Joy bars or use round molds to make into cup shapes.  If using your hands, wash them after each bar and leave them a little damp. Place the tray of shaped bars in the freezer for at least an hour until completely frozen.

Meanwhile, combine the almond butter topping ingredients in a small bowl. Place in the refrigerator to firm up for 30 minutes, then roll little thick strips of the mixture and place on top of each of the coconut bars. Stick two almonds on top of each bar and return the tray to the freezer overnight to ensure the bars are frozen through.

Melt the chocolate and coconut oil together; add sweetener and vanilla. Remove the bars from the freezer; one at a time, dunk them in to the chocolate mixture carefully using a fork and spoon.  The spoon drops them in, and the fork then acts as the lifting tool to gently tap off excess chocolate. Repeat with all bars. You may need to re-coat the first couple of bars as the melted chocolate thickens a little bit, and the latter bars usually end up with a thicker chocolate layer.

Place the bars on a parchment or wax paper-lined tray as you finish coating them. As the chocolate firms up, drizzle with any remaining chocolate and place in the fridge to set for 30 minutes before serving.

These will keep in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to one week or freezer for up to one month. They only take about 20 minutes to thaw out at room temperature.

Makes 8 bars

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