Toasted Coconut Almond Bars

 

Dark chocolate spread over a crumb crust of toasted coconut, almond, and graham crackers.

Almond Coconut Bars1

At the end of the day, when your sweetheart asks about your day, how do you answer? For me, I could respond by telling him about the heaps of laundry I washed, the new recipe I tried, time spent volunteering in the kid’s classrooms, or cleaning.  All things considered, I like to tease and tell him that I spent the day reading a book and eating chocolate.

These toasted coconut almond bars are the chocolates you want to eat while you are reading the book.  On second thought, maybe you should eat them at the kitchen table and then wash your hands before reading the book. (Yes, I am a mom 🙂 ).

These Toasted Coconut Almond Bars are rich, but not very sweet.  Toasting the almonds and coconut warms up the almond oils and speeds along the grinding process. Besides toasted coconut is so tasty!


Toasted Coconut Almond Bars

2 rectangular graham crackers, (31 g)

1 cup almonds, (140 g)

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, (46 g)

1 Tbsp coconut oil

1/8 tsp sea salt

 

Preheat oven to 325°F.

In your food processor, crush the graham crackers.  Place crumbs in a bowl and set aside.

Place 1 cup almonds on a baking sheet and put in preheated oven for 12 minutes.  Add coconut and brown for 2 minutes or until coconut turns golden brown. Put almonds, coconut, coconut oil and salt in food processor and process until smooth and on its way to turning into almond butter.  When the almonds are moist enough that they can form a clump, mix in graham cracker crumbs.

coconut almond crumb.jpg
Coconut Almond Mixture

Line a 9×9 casserole dish with parchment paper or Saran wrap.  Place coconut almond mixture into casserole dish.  Press to compact as much as possible and place in freezer to harden for an hour (or overnight).

Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil in microwave-safe bowl for 30 seconds at a time, so not to burn the chocolate.  Stir well between each heating.  Add extra cocoa powder for super dark chocolate.

Holding onto the parchment paper or Saran wrap, lift frozen almond crust out of casserole and onto cutting board.  Spread chocolate on top of the frozen crust.  Allow chocolate to set.  (If needed place back into freezer for a few minutes.)

Using a sharp knife, slice into bars and serve.

 

 

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Easy Moist Cake (Using a Cake Mix)

The secret ingredient of these moist cakes isn’t pudding mixes or dairy. The secret ingredient is grated zucchini.  The zucchini melts away into the cake so you can’t even tell it is in there.

chocolate-cake-mix-with-zucchini

My five-year-old has a summer birthday.  I thought he wanted a chocolate cake and started grating zucchini for a chocolate zucchini cake, but he picked out a boxed spice cake mix.  Since I already grated zucchini, I decided it was time to experiment. Continue reading

Jolly Llama Coconut Cream Dark Chocolate Pops

Product Review: Dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, and full of “mmmm.”

jolly llama coconut cream pops dark chocolate
Jolly Llama Coconut Cream Pops-dark chocolate

Yesterday, I had the rare opportunity to spend a couple of hours with just my little girl.  We solved jigsaw puzzles, created a count-down-chain for her third birthday, played in the sprinkler, and shared a Jolly Llama Coconut Cream Pop.

sharing the chocolate ice

I saw Jolly Llama products in my grocery store advertisement a few weeks ago, and decided to try them. I like reading about the dairy-free products that Chloe, from pinkiebag.com, reviews.  There is one problem, since I’m not in England I can’t taste them.  So, I was excited to see a new product that I can taste and then share my own review.

The brand name’s play on words, from Dalai lama to Jolly Llama, was very clever.  It makes me want to watch Seven Year in Tibet again.

When I was looking at the nutrition facts, I noticed that it had 44% of my daily recommended amount of iron.  Maybe I could just eat these when I am low in iron instead of buying an iron supplement.  The taste is definitely better.

I was storing the Coconut Cream Pops in my deep freeze, which keeps things a little colder than my regular freezer, and so it was very hard at first. It took a few minutes before it warmed-up enough to push the popsicle up.  The coconut flavor was very faint, and mostly we tasted a nice dark chocolate without being overly sweet.  It was rich with a nice, creamy texture–like real dairy chocolate ice cream, but actually better.

open chocolate pop-up

These are delicious.  I’d definitely recommend them.  It is a little pricey for my regular budget, but if you consider the cost of buying ice cream from an ice cream shop, it is about the same price. Also, it doesn’t taste like your bargain brand ice cream either, it tasted more like the expensive varieties.  I’m excited to try their other flavors.

Did my little one like it?  Halfway through the treat, I asked her if she liked it, she responded “If I eat this, I’ll say mmmm.”   Then she took another bite and said, “Mmmm.”

Muddy Buddies from the Dark Side

Crisp cereal and dark chocolate combine for a  tasty treat.

darkside muddy buddies

Muddy Buddies from the Dark Side…of chocolate, that is. I love dark, dark chocolate–like bitter chocolate.  I think 85% chocolate is about perfect.  I have been known to eat 100% bitter chocolate. You might think I am crazy, but I love the taste.  Maybe it is just my inner-self, healthy-wanna-be calling out to avoid sugar that inspires me to like bitter chocolate; but whatever it is, I like it.

My 12-year-old learned how to make muddy buddies at school and wanted to make them for us at home.  If somebody is willing to make you food, you say “Yes!”  My son shares my love of dark chocolate.  In order to make these less sweet and more dark chocolaty, we substituted half the powdered sugar for cocoa powder. It is divine.

One of the things I’m looking for when I share a dairy-free recipe is availability of ingredients.  Non-dairy butters are sometimes hard to find or expensive.  I hate being limited to one ingredient, so we made it again, trying four different oil products in the same recipe. Then, I did a blind taste test with the family to see if they could tell a difference and see what was their favorite.  Here are the different oils:  Nucoa buttery sticks, peanut butter oil, refined coconut oil, and canola oil. You can read about some of the fat options to replacing butter here, Replacing Butter.

nucoa muddy buddies

Nucoa is typically what I use as a butter substitute.  The muddy buddies are a little drier and less clumped than the other ones.  Any flavoring in the margarine doesn’t stand out  under all the chocolate.

Continue reading