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“almond joy’s got nuts, mounds don’t – because…”

almond joy bars

Now that’s one of those jingles that just gets stuck in your brain and won’t go away – “because, sometimes you feel like and nut, sometimes you don’t!!!”  Almond Joy candy bars are my absolute favorite, OK well, those and Kit Kat bars (“gimme a break, gimme a break, break me off…”  Alright, enough already!).

So with Halloween a few days behind us, why am I still craving an Almond Joy, even though I did have a couple of the minis? I need to bake a batch of cookies for a charity donation, and since I can’t stop thinking about Almond Joy, I’ve come up with this recipe to recreate that wonderful taste blend of chocolate, coconut, and almonds. It honestly turned out to be more the consistency of cake than a cookie, but still a tasty treat.

The filling layer includes cream of coconut, which is a thick and sweet concoction made from coconut milk and sugar and is found in liquor stores or in the liquor section of the grocery store. Although it is sometimes used in baking it is most commonly used in mixed drinks such as Pina Coladas, so look for it near the mixers and such.

The frosting calls for melted and cooled unsweetened chocolate. Unsweetened chocolate comes in 1-ounce squares and those should be chopped before being heated so they melt more quickly and evenly. Chocolate can easily be melted in the microwave, just be sure to set the time for only 40 seconds at a time and stir in between each set, because chocolate does not change its shape when microwaved and it burns easily. Keep an eye on it and stir even if it doesn’t look like it is melting yet.

unstirred after 40 seconds in microwave, then stirred before going back in microwave for another 40 seconds, lastly and after 80 total seconds

unstirred after 40 seconds in the microwave, then stirred before going back in the microwave for another 40 seconds and completely melted after a total of 120 seconds

Lastly, the dry ingredients need to be sifted. This is always a good idea when baking but a necessity when using cocoa powder, as there are always clumps.

clumps of cocoa in sifter

clumps of cocoa in the sifter, press with the back of a spoon to press through

It is also best to whisk the dry ingredients together to blend before adding them to the wet ingredients so everything mixes together smoothly and evenly.

dry ingredients after whisking to blend

dry ingredients after whisking to blend

Almond Joy Cake Bars

Cake Layer
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2  1/2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 eggs

Filling Layer
14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
15-ounce can cream of coconut
4 cups flaked coconut
1 cup sliced almonds

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped, melted, and cooled
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
6 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup fat-free half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Additional sliced almonds for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease two 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking pans.

Cake Layer: Beat shortening and butter together in the bowl of a standing mixer until smooth. Add vanilla extract and then the eggs, one at a time, on low speed until just combined.

Sift sugar, flour, cocoa, and salt into another bowl, and then use a whisk to blend before adding to the butter-egg mixture. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Once all the flour-cocoa mixture has been added, mix on low speed for 1 minute.

Spreading crust batter in pan

Spreading batter in pan

Divide the batter between the two greased pans and spread evenly in each pan.  Bake for 20 minutes.

Spreading coconut-almond layer onto partially baked crust

Spreading coconut-almond layer onto partially baked cake layer

Filling: Meanwhile, stir together the sweetened condensed milk, cream of coconut, flaked coconut, and sliced almonds. Divide between the two pans and spread evenly over the partially baked hot cake layer. Return pans to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove pans and cool completely on racks.

Lastly, spreading frosting on top

Lastly, spreading frosting on top of cooled coconut layer

Frosting: In the bowl of a standing mixer; cream together the melted chocolate and butter, add the powdered sugar, half-and-half, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Divide between the two pans and spread evenly over the coconut-almond layer.

scored and garnished bars with creme of coconut can

scored and garnished bars with the creme of coconut can above

Score each pan into 24 bars and press an almond slice lightly into frosting on each bar. Refrigerate for at least one hour to allow frosting to firm up, and then cut 24 bars from each pan.

Makes 48 pieces

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1 Sharon { 11.04.09 at 1:51 PM }

I love that you can “come up with” a recipe. You have such a gift. Thanks for this recipe. Almond Joys are Joseph’s favorite candy bar so I will have to try this recipe out. I’m sure you remember him from a few summers ago – Sydney’s brother. As it gets cooler, will you be posting some yummy soup recipes?

2 Linda Hopkins { 11.04.09 at 2:00 PM }

Hi Sharon, of course I remember Joseph! There was an easy soup recipe posted yesterday and another going up for tomorrow. But the real question is, “will it ever GET cooler?!?” Say HI to the kids for me.

3 Connor { 11.08.09 at 12:37 AM }

Brownies!!!! Me and Gina made cookies the other day…

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