Every Friday, a DIY expert spares us a trip to the grocery store and shows us how to make small batches of great foods at home.
A few years ago, I started a weekly tradition known as Candy Bar Friday. Over the course of a year I discovered a wide range of chocolate and fruity treats, but my longstanding favorite became the Almond Joy. I’m not sure why it took so long to bring Almond Joys into my life, but I have certainly made up for it in strides ever since.
Recently, I wondered if I could recreate Almond Joys in my own kitchen. After playing around with ingredients and methods, I found a combination that fit the bill, turning my favorite candy bar into a no-bake treat that's ready in 30 minutes.
These homemade Almond Joys are a healthier take on the original, but they taste just as delightful as the store-bought version. The coconut center is made with unsweetened shredded coconut, honey, and a little coconut oil to bind it together. With an almond on top and a thick chocolate coating, the candy bar is complete. While I placed almonds both inside and on top of the chocolate, I would highly suggest the former to keep the almonds attached.
By simply substituting maple syrup for the honey, these can also be made vegan, turning them into a perfect treat for anyone with dietary restrictions.
Makes 1 dozen candy bars
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, lightly packed
3 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons honey (or pure maple syrup)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
12 (or more) whole almonds
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
In a food processor, process the shredded coconut, coconut oil, honey, vanilla extract, and salt until it forms a thick paste. If the coconut is still too loose to hold together well, continue to process for one to two more minutes.
Drop tablespoon-sized balls of the coconut mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or silpat. Press each ball into a small, compact rectangle, and top each rectangle with an almond.
Place the coconut rectangles in the freezer and freeze the coconut for 15 to 30 minutes, or until hard.
Once the coconut is frozen, microwave the chopped chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in 15-second intervals, stirring between each interval, until the chocolate is smooth.
Carefully skewer each frozen bar onto a toothpick and dip it into the melted chocolate, tapping off any excess. Return the candy to the parchment or silpat and wait for the chocolate to dry before removing the toothpick -- this should only take about 30 seconds.
Allow the coconut to thaw before serving. The candies will keep for several days in an airtight container at room temperature.
Photos by Kristin Rosenau
Follow Food52 on Twitter: www.twitter.com/food52