real raw kitchen: RECIPE: almond joy bars, a beauty food

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

RECIPE: almond joy bars, a beauty food

I have been dreaming about these bars for quite some time. I kept putting it off, though, because I was afraid my hubby wouldn't like them (he hates shredded coconut). And since he is the one that usually eats up everything I make I didn't want to have a dish full of almond joy bars just for myself.

Finally, I decided enough was enough. I decided I would make what I wanted, when I wanted. And I decided that if he didn't like them, then tough. Because he'd have to be crazy not to.

So I jumped up, went to the kitchen, and started on my project. He casually asked from the other room, "what do you have goin' on in there?" I responded, point-blank: "I'm making Almond Joy Bars." Knowing his disdain for the traditional candy and anything that contains any trace amount of shredded coconut, I prepared myself to stand strong against his protest. Instead, he just quietly nodded like the supportive partner he is.

Finally, when they were ready to eat, I offered him a piece, anyway. Even though I was prepared for the worst, there was a small part of me that was hoping I could convince him they were delicious (I mean ... they ARE delicious, so he just had to agree ...) I ate half of a bar, handed the other half to him, and walked away to put the rest in the fridge. After I finished chewing I groaned, "those are so good". And you know what he said??

Yeah, they are really good. 

I stopped in my tracks. If I could convince the man-that-doesn't-eat-shredded-coconut to actually confess his love for a dessert with the contemptible shredded coconut then it must be divine. (seriously, he hates the stuff)

So I present to you: The best Almond Joy Bars (practically) ever. Because who am I to say there aren't better ones out there? Though I'd be so happy to find some because then that would be pretty incredible.

You know what's cool about these? They are actually really good for you. Of course, eat in moderation, but they are low in sugar and high in incredibly healthy fats. Given that they are dessert, it's pretty incredible what sorts of goods they actually contain.

Almonds:
  • Vitamin E: good for your skin
  • Magnesium: good for your heart
  • Vitamin B2: good for your skin and energy levels

Coconut:
  • improves digestion and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and amino acids
  • boosts the immune system with healthy antiviral, antifungal, and antimicrobial fatty acids (this makes it a great natural deodorant)
  • lessens the symptoms of hypoglycemia as it stabilizes blood sugar levels
  • helps with absorption of calcium and magnesium
  • serious amounts of lauric acid (a beauty food for skin and immunity)
  • helps regulate and support hormone production
  • they increase metabolism and are a nutritional precursor to anti-aging hormone compound known as pregnenolone
Cacao:
  • Antioxidants- highest concentration of antioxidants of any food in the world
  • Magnesium- number one source, increases brain power, strong bowel movements, and muscle relaxation
  • Iron- one serving contains 314% the RDA of this oxygen-carrying protein
  • Chromium-balances blood sugar
  • Manganese- assists in oxygenation of blood
  • Zinc- immunity, sexual fluids, skin health
  • Copper- immunity
  • Vitamin C- immunity
  • Omega-6 Fatty Acids- healthy omega that helps balance overall intake
  • Phenylethylamine (PEA)- chemical naturally present when we fall in love
  • Anandamide- natural endorphin
  • Tryptophan- a powerful mood-enhancing nutrient
  • Serotonin- the primary neurotransmitter in the human body
  • Fiber- smooth and regular bowel movements


Chocolate base:
a recipe
 1 cup almonds, soaked
4 medjool dates, soaked
2 T cacao
pinch salt

1/8 t vanilla

Soak the almonds and the dates for at least 30 minutes. Then peel and pit the dates and put them in a food processor. Add everything else and process until the dough is sticky. Do not over process or it will be too mushy.

Coconut Center:
a recipe
1 whole coconut meat
2 T coconut butter, melted
2 T maple syrup (not raw)
1 ½ cups unsweetened coconut shreds (raw, if you can find it)

Scrape the meat out of a coconut (see video below) and put in the food processor. Process until completely smooth and a butter is almost formed (5-7 minutes). Scrape down the sides as you go. Add the coconut butter and maple syrup and process until smooth and incorporated. Dump contents into a bowl and add the coconut shreds. Mix with a spoon until incorporated.


 
start at about 30 seconds to learn how to open a coconut with a chef's knife

  Chocolate Ganache:
a recipe
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup  coconut oil
3 T maple syrup (not raw)
1/4 t vanilla

First, make sure everything you are using is completely dry. Any amount of water will cause the chocolate to seize. Also, make sure everything is room temperature. If anything is cold it will cause the chocolate to harden a bit and may make it difficult to create a smooth sauce.

Place everything in a small bowl and, using a fork, mix everything until well incorporated.

Assembly:
  • Press the crust dough into a small/medium baking dish lined with plastic wrap. Press until evenly distributed.
  • Spread the coconut layer over the crust until smooth and even (leave space at the top for the chocolate layer)
  • Using a fork, gently drag the tongs across the top of the coconut layer to create lines. This will allow the ganache to take hold of the coconut and not separate when you cut into squares.
  • Pour the chocolate sauce over the top and smooth out. Add whole almonds for garnish, if you'd like.
  • Place in the fridge for a few hours to set.
  • When you are ready, take it out and then gently pull up on the plastic wrap to pull it out of the dish. Cut into squares and enjoy!

These are so delicious and not too sweet. I loved them and so does everyone that tries them. They are such a nice treat and actually a great energy booster, to boot. If you try them out, let me know what you think!!

xo


6 comments:

  1. yum!! As a sales rep for Hershey's, I stare at Almond Joys all day..but my conscious tells me "No way!" I can't wait to give these a try.

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    Replies
    1. haha!! yes, you MUST try these! They are so easy and not too sweet. Very few ingredients, too! And every single person that tries them, loves them. So maybe you can convert some of the Hershey camp as well ;)

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  2. So funny! These look amazing :)

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    Replies
    1. thank you!! My recipe development is a constant battle of winning over the masses ;)

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  3. Yummm I am excited about these. I don't have a very strong food processor; is it difficult to grind up the coconut meat? Also, is coconut butter the same thing as coconut oil? Thanks :)

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    Replies
    1. Oh I'm so excited for you to try them! Coconut meat can be iffy, maybe try it in small amounts. I don't have an excellent food processor, either, and so it ended up still having some chunks in it. I was okay with that since the shredded coconut blended it well. It also depends on the coconut, if you have a very young coconut the meat will be much softer.

      And coconut butter is not the same as oil though in the past I've used them in place of each other. For this particular recipe I processed the meat until it was almost a butter .. and that's essentially what coconut butter is! It's just coconut meat ground down, whereas the oil is the oils extracted from the meat. Coconut butter holds up more firm in a dish but oil holds nicely too, though melts more easily.

      For the coconut center recipe, you can exchange the butter with oil. For the ganache, though, it's best to keep the oil. Yum! Good luck! Let me know how it turns out :)

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