Almond Joy Knock-Offs

I think these Almond Joy knock-offs are down right healthy for you. Granted, it is a high-fat candy, but the fat is from almonds and coconut oil, two things I have no problem eating. Coconut oil is purported to have antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties. The almonds give you a healthy dose of vitamin E. The cocoa powder is a good source of antioxidants. What’s not to love? These do have about 120 calories each … so don’t go overboard!

Keep these treats either in the freezer of refrigerator. Unlike M&M’s, these do melt in your hand!

This recipe is adapted from The Nourishing Gourmet blog. I love this recipe and have been making it weekly.

Ingredients
Coconut mixture
1/2 cup almonds, plus 24 whole almonds
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup of honey
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Chocolate mixture
2 tablespoons honey (or more if you want it sweeter)
1/2 cup of coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dash of salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder

Method

  • In a food processor, pulse 1/2 cup of almonds until finely ground.
  • In a small pan, melt the coconut oil and honey over low heat until just melted. Whisk to combine. Add the almond extract, coconut flakes and ground almonds.
  • Line a mini muffin tin with paper cupcake wrappers (24).(You can also grease the muffin tin with coconut oil. They are often hard to get out. Use a butter knife around the sides.)
  • In each wrapper, place an almond then add the coconut mixture and press down lightly.
    Place in a freezer and freeze (10 to 20 minutes).
  • In a small pan over low heat, melt 1/2 cup of coconut oil, 2 tablespoons of honey, salt and vanilla extract.
  • Stir in cocoa powder. Mix until smooth. Remove from heat. Taste and adjust sweetness.
  • Take out the frozen coconut flakes mixture and divide the chocolate mixture in each cup over the coconut.
  • Place back in freezer and freeze about 20 minutes.

Makes 24

Keep either in the freezer or refrigerator.

Note: If you don’t have a mini-muffin pan, you can use a regular one. Makes 12 large (note large will have 240 calories and 2 grams of added natural sugar).

Maple Pralines (without white sugar)

If you are in Louisiana, you call these “praw-leens.” I’m from Virginia with parents from Georgia and Alabama and I say “pray-leens,” which makes my husband wince. Originally from France and made with almonds, these addictive treats are ubiquitous in the French Quarter. There, they most certainly say “praw-leens.”

I’m on a bit of a no refined white sugar kick. That certainly doesn’t mean that I’m not eating anything sweet! I’ve been substituting maple syrup and honey whenever I can. Using maple syrup is not a free license to scarf the whole batch. Each candy contains about 65 calories, so don’t go overboard like I did. I made a batch to send to my sister-in-law for her birthday. After I got through my “quality control” tasting, I realized there wasn’t much left! Oops.

The New Orleans style pralines are made with pecans, but substitute other nuts if you like. You’ll need a candy thermometer for this. You can pick up one at a kitchen supply store or, if your grocery store has a kitchen tool section, you can often find them there. I saw one the other day for $7.

Click here for a maple turtle recipe.

Ingredients
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup of pecans, chopped
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Method

  • Combine the cream, butter and maple syrup in the saucepan. Stir until well mixed.
  • Cook over medium heat. You may gently swish sauce, but don’t stir. Heat until temperature reaches 240º F, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and lightly grease it.
  • Remove saucepan from the heat and let the mixture stand for a couple of minutes. Stir in pecans.
  • Drop small spoonfuls of mixture onto parchment. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Cool. Eat, yum!

Makes 18.

Maple Turtles (without white sugar)

Recently, I was very happy to discover that you can make caramel using maple syrup and no refined white sugar. Yippy!

I also found out that the only different between my maple turtles and my maple pralines, is in the stirring. When you stir caramel, it crystallizes and changes the texture. If you don’t stir, it remains smooth.

You’ll need a candy thermometer for this.

Ingredients
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup of pecans or walnuts
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Method

  • Combine the cream, butter and maple syrup in the saucepan. Stir until well mixed.
  • Cook over medium heat. You may gently swish sauce, but don’t stir. Heat until temperature reaches 245° F, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • While the mixture is heating, line a sheet pan with parchment paper and lightly grease it.
  • Arrange pecans or walnuts in groups of three or four on the lined sheet pan.
  • Remove saucepan from the heat.
  • Drop small spoonfuls of caramel over the pecans. It will spread, so do a little at a time. You can go back and add more caramel once the first spoonful has set. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Cool. Eat, yum!

Makes 18.