Healthy Homemade Almond Joy Bars

Paleo Almond Joy Bars

There are certain flavors that you miss when you strip your diet of most processed foods and sugar. Most cravings can be satisfied with natural foods, but particular taste memories require you to get creative. One of my absolute favorite candy bars was the Almond Joy bar, a chocolate coated candy bar with a sticky sweet coconut filling (known as a Mounds bar minus the almonds). My roommate, Bethany, reminded me of this old obsession a couple of nights ago when we were having a quiet night in, doing homework and socializing in the dorm kitchen.

Real Almond Joy bars contain two types of sugar (corn syrup and white sugar) and two different transfats (partially hydrogenated soybean oil and partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil)! Just one candy bar has a whopping 25 grams net carbs. These homemade gluten-free, low carb candy bars will boost your immune system and fuel your cells as opposed to breaking them down. Since they contain no dairy products, these treats are incidentally vegan. As one helpful reader pointed out, these candy bars are nearly sugar-free because the Lindt chocolate bars do contain 19g net carbs (for the whole 85% bar) and 35g net carbs (for the whole 70% bar). The amount of sugar per serving is low enough to incorporate into my healthy eating plan, but if it is important for you to go totally sugar-free, try experimenting with unsweetened chocolate. I’ve never had much luck with countering its bitterness, though.

Use extra virgin coconut oil for the most health benefits. Unlike its highly processed counterpart, this candy bar is the ideal preworkout food because the medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil are immediately burned for energy. Put down those complex carbs and indulge in a low carbohydrate snack that won’t send the fat storage hormone pumping through your body right before all of your hard work on the elliptical!

You can coat these bars in a snap with 70% cacao content chocolate, or make up a chocolate ganache to lower the carb content. The only problem with the ganache is that it is thicker and must be stored in the freezer to remain firm. Both coatings taste equally delicious, though!

Sugar-Free Almond Joy Bars

Healthy Almond Joy Bars

Makes 20 bars

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups fine unsweetened shredded coconut
5-6 tablespoons coconut oil
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup erythritol OR 1/4 cup xylitol OR 1/4 cup mild honey
Pure stevia extract, to taste (start with 1/16 of a teaspoon)
Raw almonds
2 batches dark chocolate ganache or 2-3.5 oz Lindt 70% chocolate bars
Pinch of unrefined sea salt

Preparation:
If you are making sugar-free candies, start by melting the erythritol over medium heat in a saucepan until liquefied. Stir together coconut oil, coconut milk, unsweetened coconut, salt, and stevia. Pour in hot erythritol and mix together thoroughly until coconut oil is melted, forming a smooth paste. Drop dollops of the coconut mixture on to aluminum foil or waxed paper, and shape into flat logs with your fingertips.

If you are making paleo candies, heat honey, coconut oil, coconut milk, unsweetened coconut, salt, and stevia in a small saucepan until coconut oil is melted. Whisk mixture together until a smooth paste forms. Drop dollops of the coconut mixture on to aluminum foil or waxed paper, and shape into flat logs with your fingertips. Top with almonds, pressing the nuts down gently into the filling. Freeze for 5 minutes, or until filling is firm and cold.

Microwave chopped chocolate for 30 seconds on HIGH, and stir until smooth. Add 1/16 teaspoon of stevia and taste. Adjust sweetness level if necessary. Stick toothpicks into cold filling. Dip filling into chocolate, return to wax paper, and remove toothpick. Wait a minute or two for chocolate coating to harden, and enjoy!

~0.57g net carbs per candy bar without the chocolate coating
~35g net carbs per 1-3.5 oz 70% Lindt bar
~4g net carbs per bar made with 70% Lindt chocolate bar coating

I made quick nut clusters by dipping raw almonds into the ganache. Grab one from the freezer when you feel a chocolate craving coming on!
freezerclusters

Dark Chocolate Ganache

1-3.5 oz 85% cacao content chocolate bar (I used Lindt)
5 tablespoons organic heavy cream
1/3 cup erythritol or 1/4 cup xylitol, powdered
1/16 teaspoon pure stevia extract

Grind erythritol to the consistency of powdered sugar (see this post) in coffee grinder or Magic Bullet. Chop chocolate and combine with erythritol and cream. Microwave for 30 seconds on HIGH and stir until smooth. Add a couple more tablespoons of heavy cream if coating is too thick. Stir in stevia, and taste. Adjust sweetness level if necessary. Use for nut clusters, Almond Joy bars, topping cupcakes… whatever you like! Store candies made with ganache in the freezer.

~22g of carbs for the whole batch

  • Rachel C

    These look so good, I cant wait to try them. One question, what brand of unsweetened coconut did you use? I found some organic coconut flakes at the health food store, but they are so dry and kind of blah. But maybe that’s the only option for unsweetened? Help. Thanks

  • Lauren

    Hi Rachel,

    I do the Let’s Do Organic brand coconut available at Whole Foods. I think it is reduced fat, so it is quite dry. Your coconut will probably work perfectly for this recipe! :)

  • Kimberly

    I used to love almond joy candy bars when I was a kid! These look really tempting. Thanks for visiting my blog:)

  • Kid Feed Mommy

    Is there any chance you can post pictures of the step where you dip the cold filling into the melted chocolate? This part was a mess for me and I had to use a spoon to spread it on the tops.

    Despite not looking pretty, they taste delish! In the filling I used 1/3 tsp. stevia powder and did not use any other sweetener.

  • Lauren

    Mmm, those look amazing! Yum!

  • Naomi Devlin

    Lauren, those look completely delicious! But how do you stop at just one morsel grabbed from the freezer?

    I don’t want to nit pick, but you do realise that 85% cocoa content chocolate has 15% sugar in it? To make your ganache completely sugar free you need a 100% cocoa content bar, or some cacao and cocoa butter.

    We call those coconut bars bounty bars here and they set your teeth on edge with syrup – your’s look 100% more delicious. x x x

  • Emilia

    Thanks for the recipe, I bookmarked it since these seem just perfect.

    I often take coconut oil before a workout rather than carbs, because the coconut oil seems to give more energy :)

  • Alejandra

    These look amazing! I’ve been wanting to make something like this for a while since I tasted those Atkins versions. They use those terrible sugar alcohols and make me incredibly dizzy. I can’t wait to try out your recipe! I also love virgin coconut oil. I eat it, cook with it, and even rub it onto my skin. It’s wonderful!

  • Carrie

    These look wonderful Lauren!! Great job! You are just ingenious!!

  • biz319

    Those look amazing! I’ll have to give this recipe to my daughter – I am the cook, she’s the baker!

  • Veggie Wedgie

    oh wow, these look good!!

  • fourstubbs

    For those of you looking at thesa little morsels, I would highly encourage you to make them. THESE ARE SOOOO GOOD. You will not be disappointed!!! I was pleasantly surprised when I tried these, because they taste like the real thing to me, but also, much more fresh tasting. This is good stuff…..

  • Lauren

    Kimberly, thank you!

    Kid Feed, thank you for sharing that this works out with solely stevia. The dipping part was messy for me too! I tossed the bars back and forth between my hands for a bit and then slid them gently on the wax paper. Took a bit of practice to get them looking this nice!

    Lauren, thank you!

    Naomi, fortunately the fat content keeps my appetite in check with these. :) Thanks for catching that about the sugar content. I realize that any food besides certain animal products has carbohydrates (carbohydrates = sugar), but I label some of my recipes sugar-free because the carbohydrates are so much lower per serving than typical sweets made with flour and carbohydrate containing sweeteners. The small amount of sugar carbs in extra dark Lindt chocolate and the tablespoon or two of honey I use in recipes I feel fits the sugar-free label because of the low carbohydrate content overall.

    Emilia, taking coconut oil before workouts is a great idea! I do this too. :)

    Alejandra, will have to try coconut oil on my skin, especially since this winter season has been so dry. Thanks for the tip!

    Carrie, thank you!

    Biz, hope your daughter is tempted enough to make these. :)

    Veggie, thank you.

    Fourstubbs, so glad you liked the recipe and came back to share your experience. :)

  • cindy*

    these pretty much look like the original, but better!

  • Elana

    So funny, when we were on vacation in December, I was brainstorming recipes and told my husband that I was thinking about doing mounds bars or almond joy. He told me that no one likes them :-( so I refrained. I like them and was so happy to see yours up here.

    If I make my own, I’ll let you know how they turn out.

    Great blog by the way!

  • Katie

    I just found your blog last week, and have been anxiously awaiting my ingredients. I finally got them in the mail yesterday and let me just say…. THESE ALMOND JOY BARS ARE DELICIOUS! You would never know these are sugar free and gluten free. I love your blog. I’m hooked and can’t wait to try more of your recipes. (Still waiting for my coconut flour to arrive :) )

  • Lauren

    Cindy – They do, don’t they? :)

    Elana – Thanks so much for stopping by! I always draw inspiration from your blog and recipes. A lot of the times I think we are on the same page with recipe ideas, perhaps because we use similar ingredients.

    Katie – Thanks so much for trying these bars and reporting back! Glad you enjoyed them. Hope you have received your coconut flour in the mail so you can get started baking with it! I think you will like it. :)

  • Julie

    These bars are great and easy to make! The only issue I had was making the ganache, but that’s because I was trying to wing it, without reading your recipe. :-)

    Thanks for all of your wonderful recipes!

  • ms. v

    THESE ARE INCREDIBLE! my mother likes Bounty bars (basically the same as a Mounds) and it pains me to see her eating that much sugar. I made these today and I can’t even believe how good they are! you are a genius!

  • Didirina

    Insert some sturdy wooden toothpicks into the cold filling for mess-free dipping:-)

  • Lauren

    Julie – So glad the candy bars worked for you! Ganache can be tricky.

    Ms V – It’s great to hear that these are comparable with your old HC treats! Did your mother get to try some?

    Didirina – That is a great tip! Thanks for sharing. Post will be updated to say that!

  • Kelly

    I just googled for homemade almond joy, and your blog came up. I’m so happy….these look incredible. The perfect treat for my boyfriend. He’s trying to get in shape but he loves Almond Joy!

  • april

    Hello,
    I just found your site (and boy am I glad!). I just have a quick question… I am highly allergic to chocolate and have been really missing these. If I were to use carob (I know you can’t guarantee that they will taste good with carob) how much would I use? I can get a hold of both unsweetened and sweetened chips in addition to the powder. Any help you can provide would make my day (and my belly lol)

    Thank you!!!

  • Steph

    I made these the other day, with a couple variations, but they turned out fabulous! I almost cried! It’s been so long since I had my favorite Almond Joy bar, and this was, in my opinion, just as good!!!
    Thanks for coming up with this recipe :)

  • Carolyn

    omg, these were fantastic. They're no sad sister to an Almond Joy–they taste exactly the same. I didn't worry about dipping them–I just formed the coconut into little piles on parchment paper, put an almond on each pile, then coated each pile with the melted chocolate. I will definitely be making these again in the future–I had no idea that coconut was so low-carb.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Lauren, you really are amazing! Your recipes are delicious! Think you can find a way to make a low-carb Snicker bar?

  • Cat

    Hi Lauren, I was wondering if you know anything about soaking actual almond flour? I have heard that soaking almonds makes them easier to digest but I already have a huge bag of almond flour that is still difficult to digest. Only problem is that the recipes don't call for liquid to be used in soaking almond flour. Would love to hear any suggestions you may have! Thanks! :)

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  • Dannielle

    Can't I use regular baking chocolate to make ganache for sugar-free almond joy bars? it is a lot cheaper than Lindt bars and has 100% cacao. Will I need to add oil?
    Would love some help on this.
    Thanks, Dannielle

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    thank you for sharing that this works out with solely stevia…

  • Anonymous

    These are so good I literally had to bring the rest to work and have my co-workers eat them so I wouldn't eat them all – I just couldn't control myself! You should have seen the doubters at work roll their eyes at my "sugar free healthy candy bars" then try a taste with trepidation … then proceed to eat them as fast as they could! You really nailed it with this recipe!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08559448743103933371 Megan

    I have a question; I just started a batch of these for Easter lunch with my family (most of us are grain/sugar free). My filling didn't look anything like yours, and I wondered if I used the wrong kind of milk. You called for coconut milk and I assumed you meant the kind you buy in cartons as a regular milk replacement, but all I had on hand was almond milk and heavy cream. I used a combination of the two, and as I said my filling doesn't look nearly as good as yours. Did you mean the coconut milk/cream in a can? I'm sure they'll still taste great, but I'm a little disappointed by how it looks 'cause I was trying really hard to make something impressive for my father-in-law (he's a hardcore Almond Joy fan but hasn't had them since a heart attack in July 2008 and is a little hard to please, dessert wise). Thanks ahead of time for your help!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12992918908739085132 Lauren

    Megan – Try full fat coconut milk. It is thicker and solidifies better. The candy bars should turn out like mine did following the recipe as written. :)

  • Tammy

    Lauren, I was wondering if I can use full fat coconut milk instead of the cream in the ganache? I'm off dairy.
    By the way, I discovered your blog about 6 months ago. My daughter is on a candida diet. Now I'm gluten free, dairy free and mostly sugar free.
    We love your recipes!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12992918908739085132 Lauren

    Hi, Tammy! I think the ganache would taste fine, but a bit coconutty, if you used coconut milk. :) It should set as long as you keep the candies in the fridge. Perhaps make a small batch to try it out?