When Christmas is in the air, it makes me want to whip up something sweet and fun in the kitchen. Even better when that something is healthy and gluten-free like these coconut and almond dark chocolate bars.
These beautiful bars are sheer happiness in your mouth: a layer of toasted coconut flakes, coconut oil, almonds, and chia seeds topped with a thin layer of delicate chocolate and sprinkled with more chopped almonds. Yum.
My husband, John, loves coconut, and I love the many health benefits of coconut oil: strengthening the immune system, preventing heart disease, improving digestion, and contributing to healthy skin (to name just a few!). My daughter, Nicole, has used coconut oil with great success for moisturizing dry skin during the winter months. But coconut oil works even better when taken internally. These bars are the perfect way to add a little coconut oil to your diet, and they are super-easy to prepare.
John and I decided to make them tonight while the kids started bringing down all of our Christmas decorations from the attic. I can hardly believe Christmas is only eighteen days away, and I’m looking forward to my family’s annual expedition to find the perfect Christmas tree.
But back to the kitchen and the Coconut Almond Dark Chocolate Bars. I am not kidding when I say these are ridiculously quick and easy to prepare, as long as you are willing to wait for them to set in the freezer.
First, John and I toast a cup of unsweetened coconut flakes in the oven until lightly browned. This takes just five minutes. Next, we blend almond chunks and a little coconut oil in a super blender until the mixture is very smooth. (If you are concerned about nuts manufactured on shared equipment with gluten containing products, Nuts.com prominently labels which products of theirs are certified gluten-free). We toss in the chia seeds and toasted coconut flakes and pulse the mixture several times. When all of the ingredients are mixed beautifully together, we pour into a pan lined with wax paper and sprinkle a little salt on top.
All that is left to do is to place the pan in the freezer for thirty minutes. While this is happening, feel free to rock out to Christmas carols on the radio. Really, these bars would make a delicious treat while decorating the Christmas tree or at your holiday party. Or you might even sneak a few during breakfast, and, hey, no need to feel guilty – they’re actually good for you!
Once the mixture has hardened, I melt chocolate in a small pot and drizzle over the frozen coconut and almonds. Then I sprinkle more chopped almonds on top and put the pan back in the freezer for another five minutes.
And they’re done!
For anyone who loves coconut, these bars are sure to satisfy your coconut craving. They are light and refreshing: not too sweet, not too crunchy. Just right for an afternoon snack or healthy dessert with your steaming mug of hot chocolate. I like to accompany mine with a bowl of fresh berries. Now to admire the Christmas village my kids have set up on the fireplace mantle.
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- 1 cup flaked coconut
- 1½ cups almond slices
- ¾ cup coconut oil
- 1 tblsp. chia seeds
- sea salt
- 3.5 oz. dark chocolate
- *if you are concerned about nuts manufactured on shared equipment with gluten containing products, Nuts.com prominently labels which products of theirs are certified gluten-free.
- Preheat oven to 350 ºF.
- Toast coconut flakes in a pan in the oven until lightly browned, about five minutes.
- Line a 9x12 baking dish with wax paper.
- Blend almonds and coconut oil in a super blender or food processor until very smooth. Add chia seeds and coconut flakes. Pulse a few times.
- Pour into lined pan. Sprinkle with salt.
- Place in freezer for 30 minutes.
- Melt chocolate in a small pot and drizzle over frozen coconut and almonds. Sprinkle chopped almonds on top and place back in the freezer for another 5 minutes. Cut into squares.
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