Healthy Almond Joy Bars

OVER THE LAST YEAR HEALTH ISSUES HAVE MEANT THAT I HAVE HAD TO GO GLUTEN FREE AND SUGAR FREE. LET'S TAKE A MOMENT AND FEEL SAD FOR ALL MY LOSSES-JONNIE'S STICKY BUNS, PAVLOVA, FOCOCCIA BREAD, REALLY GREAT WINE-CRYING. WHILE IT'S TRUE THAT THERE'S A LOT OF PRODUCTS ON THE MARKET A LOT OF THEM JUST DON'T HAVE THAT SAME YUMMY FACTOR. LUCKILY I FOUND THIS RECIPE AT WHOLE NEW MOM'S BLOG AND HAVE BEEN WHIPPING UP BATCHES FOR FRIENDS AND FAMILY OVER THE LAST WEEK TO THUNDEROUS ROUNDS OF APPLAUSE .YES THE APPLAUSE WAS THAT LOUD:) THE RECIPE IS ALSO SUPER SIMPLE,PRETTY DARN HEALTHYAND HAS THE ADDED BONUS OF BEING VEGAN FRIENDLY.WITH VALENTINE'S DAY COMING UP I THOUGHT I WOULD SHARE IT.HOPE YOU ENJOY-LOVE TO HEAR YOUR FAVOURITE RECIPES. HEALTHY “ALMOND JOY” BARS.

 

Ingredients:
Chocolate / Carob Base:

1/2 cup coconut oil (palm would work well too, or butter) 
1/2 cup almond butter (any nut or seed butter would work, but almond is especially nice.)*  See Homemade Nut / Seed Butter.
1/4 cup granulated sweetener or appropriate substitute ( xylitol -the birch variety and erythritol work well.  4-6 scoops stevia extract is a good alternative))**
6 Tbsp carob or cocoa powder
3 Tbsp honey or other sweetener ( xylitol, erythritol or any combination thereof.  Using a granulated sweetener is OK too.)
1 tsp vanilla

Coconut Topping:

1 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
7 Tbsp coconut oil
1/3 cup granulated sweetener (or 2-3 scoops stevia extract powder.  I use NuNaturals.)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp additional flavoring (optional.  Almond or coconut are good choices)
2 tsp arrowroot powder (cornstarch may be substituted)
Almonds halves or slices (optional)

Method

Base:

1.  Melt oil and nut / seed butter over low heat.
2.  Stir in carob (sifted if you like, but I have never bothered with this) and granulated sweetener and combine thoroughly.
3.  Mix in remaining ingredients except for vanilla.  Continuously stir until it slightly thickens, then remove from heat.
4.  Stir in the vanilla.
5.  Pour the mixture into an 8×8 pan and place in freezer to harden while you make the topping.  If you don’t have room in your freezer, the fridge will get it solid enough to work with.

Topping:

1.  Melt oil in small pan and add coconut flakes.  Stir.
2.  Add remaining ingredients.  Simmer and stir until it thickens a bit.
3.  Once the chocolate is hardened, gently smooth the coconut mixture on top.
4.  Place slivered or whole almonds on top.  Place bars back in the freezer until hardened.  Again, the fridge will work, but it will take longer.
5.  Slice into squares of desired size and enjoy!  They’ll probably be too hard to cut right out of the freezer so you may need to let them thaw a bit first.
6.  Store in the refrigerator.