In the world of candy bars, most vegans are left out in the cold. Milk chocolate is a main-stay in most such treats. That’s why I am so happy to present this decadently delicious gluten free vegan almond-coconut candy bar recipe. It’s easy, and best of all, makes a darn good stand-in for Almond Joys.
What got me started on this recipe development path was that it’s almost Halloween, and I was starting to panic a bit, thinking that my newly dairy-free daughter would be reduced to watching woefully as her brother dug through his chocolate loot and ate everything he liked, especially my daughter’s favorite: Almond Joy.
Don’t get me wrong, she has dairy-free dark chocolate in her near future (mom has seen to it that we are stocked for the big day), and she is a fan of hard candy, so she’ll have plenty of treats on Halloween, but I can just imagine that pathetic look she’ll give me when she realizes her big brother is going to get to eat all of her favorite (non-dairy) chocolate bars. I just couldn’t bear it.
I know, I know. “Buck up,” you say, “It’s only candy and kids get too much of that already!” I agree, and will make sure that my kids donate the bulk of their candy, dairy-free or not. But to be able to offer a made-for-her vegan version of her favorite candy on Halloween would be a special treat indeed.
So when I saw my friend Alisa’s recipe for dairy-free cashew-coconut bars, I was immediately inspired! Apparently she was also inspired by the original recipe from Hannah Kaminsky’s book, My Sweet Vegan: Passionate About Dessert. I didn’t have all the ingredients Alisa used, and I definitely wanted an almond version, so here is my doubly inspired take on the original recipe.
I can report that these vegan almond-coconut candy bars are addictively delicious, and I can only hope that they last until Halloween. Which is tomorrow.
Stir together coconut milk, melted coconut spread, vanilla extract and coconut. Add confectioner’s sugar and mix well until fully incorporated.
Lightly oil an 8×8 pan, then evenly press the coconut mixture into the bottom of the pan with your fingers.
Place one whole almond every 2 inches in rows across the pan, imagining that bars will be cut in between the almonds. Place the pan into the freezer until chilled and somewhat set, at least 1 hour.
Melt the chocolate over low heat on the stove-top, stirring to be careful it does not burn.
Slice the chilled coconut mixture into bars the size you would like for your candy bars (cut in between almond rows).
Prepare a cookie sheet by lining with parchment paper. Dip the bars into the chocolate and flip so the entire surface is coated. Place the dipped bars onto the parchment-lined cookie sheet. Let the bars cool until the chocolate has set.
There is no need to refrigerate these bars, but they may be stored covered on the counter, refrigerated or frozen.
Makes approximately 30 small bars.