So, I have a thing about candy. As in, a love affair. I can’t resist it. I can pass up dessert at any restaurant, even when they whisk the dessert tray in front of my face—I’d rather have homemade. But candy is my kryptonite. It’s a bit comical for those that know me well, because I can be a total health nut, except when it comes to sugar. In my head, eating healthfully leaves room for Dr. Pepper flavored twizzlers. (Yes, you should really buy those). A salad for lunch means I can have a box of lemon heads. (Yes, the whole box). I can justify a trip to World Market like nobody’s business, because, of course, they have a most excellent selection of gummy candy. I love candy.
I was at one of my favorite St Louis lunch spots the other day (The Hot Pot), and I noticed several women in exercise clothing ordering little chocolate bars that the server was judiciously pulling out of the freezer. Everything at this restaurant is handmade and local, so I knew these little bars were special. I scoured the menu, but couldn’t find them. Finally, I spotted a sign behind the counter about the size of half an index card that said ‘Paleo Treats.’ One must inquire about such treats. I’m so glad I did. I ordered two, one for me and one for my lunch date. We took one bite, and wanted to turn back around and order a dozen more.
They’re genius because the bulk of the candy bar is sliced almonds. Healthy and delicious! And the baker claimed they’re all paleo, made with all natural sugars and honey. I have no idea if my version is paleo-friendly, but I fully welcome the paleo police to stop by and tell me if so! I need to know. Like I need more reasons to stuff my face with these pups.
So, yeah, here’s my version of a healthy candy bar. I use the term ‘healthy’ loosely, because there is quite a bit of sugar, though be it in the form of coconut sugar and honey. But the chocolate on top is homemade! I’ve always found the ingredient list in chocolate chips to be a bit sketchy, so I am in LOVE with the idea of homemade chocolate, even if I have to keep it in the fridge to keep it firm.
You look like you deserve a candy bar. Yeah, ya do.
- 8 ounces sliced almonds (skin-on; [u]not[/u] slivered almonds)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- For the topping:
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Line a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper or foil.
- In a small saucepan, combine the almonds, 1/4 cup honey, coconut sugar and a pinch of salt over medium heat.
- Stir the almonds until the coconut sugar melts and everything starts to stick together. The almonds should also start smelling fragrant, about 5 minutes.
- Pour the almonds into the loaf pan, and pack very firmly. Place the pan in the freezer.
- Wipe out the pan, and return it to the heat to make the topping.
- To the pan, add the coconut oil, cocoa powder, honey, and another pinch of salt. Heat over medium heat while stirring until smooth. Turn off the heat, and stir in the vanilla.
- Let the pan of melted chocolate cool to room temperature. (Note: you don't have to do this, but it prevents the chocolate from melting all the way through the bars. If it's cool when it hits the cold nuts, it forms a layer on top).
- Pour the cooled chocolate over the almonds, and place the pan back in the freezer for about 20 minutes to firm up.
- Use the parchment paper or foil to lift the bars out of the pan. Cut into 4 bars and serve.