Dark Chocolate, Coconut and Almond Hearts of Joy

Do you remember your favorite childhood candy bar? Mine was the iconic Almond Joy, made from sweet chewy coconut, toasted almonds and milk chocolate. However, that was a long time ago and commercially processed candy no longer interests me (sorry Peter Paul). This sugary classic needed a healthy makeover...food bloggers to the rescue! This recipe is from TastyYummies, it's all natural, healthy and best of all, decadent. 

To be honest most days I do "feel like a nut", so I added the crunch of roasted almonds to this recipe. Such a happy combination...chocolate, coconut and nuts. I also did a variation without nuts where I added a pinch of Hawaiian Red Alaea Sea Salt to the tops. This gave the chocolate candy a different twist and a lovely sweet, salty flavor.

Just like the famous candy bar, this indulgent treat is rich and satisfying. Unlike the store bought version it uses healthy ingredients like 100% cacao chocolate, organic coconut and maple syrup. There is no refined sugar, it's vegan and gluten free. It melts in your mouth.

For Valentines Day I used heart candy molds, but I have also made these chocolates using a mini muffin pan with cupcake liners. The cupcake liners make the candy easy hold without getting chocolate all over your fingers! 

Dark Chocolate, Coconut and Almond Hearts of Joy

Makes 12-15 hearts or mini cups

Coconut Filling:
2 1/2 cups (8-oz bag) 100% organic shredded coconut - unsweetened
1/2 cup melted organic virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup organic maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Topping:
6 ounces organic dark chocolate baking bar - 100% cacao, unsweetened
1 tablespoon organic virgin coconut oil
1/3 cup organic maple syrup
Roasted almonds (see below) - coarsely chopped
Pinch of Hawaiian Red Alaea Sea Salt (optional)

Roast almonds in a 300 degree oven, for about 15 minutes or until a nice nutty smell wafts from the oven. Watch them carefully because they could burn quickly. Once cooled, give the almonds a course chop.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the coconut filling ingredients and mix until well combined. Scoop 1 tablespoon of coconut filling into the bottom of a candy mold or a mini muffin pan lined with paper liners. Using your fingers press the coconut mixture down into the candy mold, try to make sure its evenly pressed. Place in freezer on a flat surface until frozen, about 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes (when the coconut is frozen) it's time to make the chocolate topping. Melt chocolate with 1 tablespoon coconut oil in the microwave at 10 second intervals, stirring in between intervals. When the chocolate is melted, smooth and silky, add the maple syrup and stir until well combined. 

Take the coconut filled candy molds out of the freezer and spoon chocolate mixture over the top. Top with roasted almonds, a pinch of sea salt or any other topping you fancy and place back into the freezer to chill for another 30 minutes. 

You will be delighted by how delicious "healthy" can be. Store chocolates in an airtight container, between layers of parchment paper, in the refrigerator. Keep chilled because these candies will start to get soft at room temperatures above 76 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hope you enjoy!

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