Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Almond Joy Bars

I love coconut. Most people don't like it, but I am a huge fan. Almond Joy candy bars are one of my favorites. These bars are a spin on the classic and it definitely has all the flavors of an Almond Joy.
You start with a buttery crust, topped with sweet and rich coconut. And you can't forget the chocolate! A smooth layer of semi-sweet chocolate sets it off. The resulting combination is a rich and delicious treat!
The original is made for a 9x13 pan, but since the bars are so decadent, I decided to cut the recipe in half and it was perfect for an 8x8 inch pan.

Almond Joy Bars
Recipe adapted from Glorious Treats
1/2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups flour
1/2 -14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 -14 oz bag sweetened, shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cups sliced almonds
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate

Toast the almonds by spreading them in a thin layer on a baking sheet and baking at 375 degrees for 5-7 minutes. Keep a close eye on them, so they don't over bake. They should be a light golden brown.

Line an 8x8 inch baking pan with foil that hangs over the edge. Spray the foil with a light layer of cooking spray.

Make the crust
With a mixer, or food processor, blend the butter and sugar until smooth and fully combined. Add flour and salt, and blend lightly until almost incorporated. Add 1 cup of cooled, toasted almonds, and blend until just combined.
Press crust into the bottom of the prepared pan.
Bake 5-6 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees.

Make the coconut filling
In a bowl, mix the sweetened condensed milk, coconut and vanilla. Spoon the mixture onto the crust, spreading gently.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the coconut is a nice golden brown.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave. Use short intervals of 30 seconds or so, stirring between intervals, and removing from microwave when the chocolate is almost, but not fully melted. Stir until fully melted.

Spread the melted chocolate over the baked coconut bars. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup toasted almonds on top chocolate.

Place coconut bars in the refrigerator for about 1 hour, until chocolate has hardened.

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