A few months ago, my friend Heidi had mentioned to me she was experimenting with recipes at work and ended up making some amazing coconut almond bars with chocolate that she said were "simple, had few ingredients, and tasted just like a candy bar." She got a hold of a few to take with her for me to try. When I tasted the first bite of these beautifully fragrant and smooth coconut bars, I couldn’t just have one, I had to have a second one, a third, fourth... You get the idea. As much as I could have easily eaten a whole batch of these goodies, I instead just asked her to give me the recipe.
I went back home. I laid in bed. I fell asleep… and dreamt about the coconut goodness.
The next day, I couldn’t just keep imagining this salivating taste anymore. I decided I would try them out in my own kitchen. They turned out so flawlessly that I had to share them with the world, so here you go:
For about 16-18 individually sized bars, I used,
2 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted (if you live in a terribly cold place like me just pop it in the microwave for a few seconds)
3 TBSP of pure maple syrup (none of that fake, Aunt Gemima crap)
1 cup dark/ semi-sweet (vegan) chocolate chips
2 TSP coconut oil
Roasted whole almonds (if you buy them raw, just roast them over low-med heat on a pan and they will slowly brown and crisp up- but careful not to burn them)
First I lined a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then, in a bowl I mixed the coconut with the coconut oil and the maple syrup and stirred with a large wooden/ rubber spoon until it all turned into a homogenous shape-holding mixture. I dumped this mixture onto my lined baking sheet and with my clean hands, pressed this mixture into a large rectangular shape of about 1/4 inch thickness. (This is the fun part, kids would love to help!) I placed this into the freezer for about 20 minutes while I worked on my chocolate.
Using a double boiler/ bain-marie, I stirred the chocolate chips with the 2 teaspoons of coconut oil until this turned liquid and melted into a beautifully velvety chocolate sauce. You can temper the chocolate at this point if it isn’t already tempered, or if you know how to do this, but if not, don’t worry about it (just make sure to store the final product- the bars- in the fridge).
As the chocolate melted slowly, I took out the coconut rectangle from the freezer and cut it into smaller rectangles with care, as they tend to break easily.
I lined another baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside, next to my melted chocolate bowl. Finally, I started dipping the bars into the chocolate with my hands and placed the dipped bars onto the clean, lined baking sheet. Next, I plopped two tiny circles of chocolate on top of each bar and placed the almonds on top of the chocolate dollops to stick.
Finally, I drizzled chocolate over the bars for the finishing touch.
WARNING: If you attempt to make these, be warned they are hard to resist.
GO BANANAS! Or… CocoNUTS! Oh, and the best part about them? They are 100% vegan!!!