Joyful Almond Bars

A few days ago I had the intention of making a banana cream pie, but then I realized I hadn’t packed a pie dish or really anything to hold something like that. Instead, we ate the bananas and I looked through the cupboards to see what else we had (don’t worry, the cream pie will be made at some point this week). I knew I wanted to make something with chocolate and coconut. That’s when I found a package of slivered almonds. Deconstructed Almond Joy bars it was. Since I love the dark chocolate in Mounds, I made my bars with 60% cacao baking chips, but semisweet or milk would work too. We really loved everything about these bars. They’ve got great bite and chew to them, plus they’re crammed full of gooey chocolate, toasted coconut and crunchy almonds- a perfect combination!

Joyful Almond Bars
Ingredients
1½ c. all-purpose flour
12 tbsp. (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1½ c. light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt + a extra pinch to sprinkle on top
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. coconut oil (optional)

1 c. sweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted
1 c. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
⅓ c. slivered almonds

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with foil or parchment paper, leaving at least a 2″ overhang (this makes pulling them out cleaner and easier).

2. Spread the coconut across the baking sheet and place in oven. Bake for 6 minutes, stirring every 2-3 minutes. Remove from oven when coconut becomes lighty golden in color. Set aside.
3. In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and ½ tsp. salt. Set aside.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together melted butter and brown sugar for 30 seconds. Turn speed to low and add one egg at a time. Add vanilla (coconut oil too, if desired) and mix until combined.
5. Remove bowl from stand mixer. Fold in dry ingredients. Do not overmix. Gently fold in toasted coconut, chocolate chips and half of the slivered almonds. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle remaining almonds and salt over top.
6. Place in oven and bake for 22-24 minutes, or until the top is shiny and cracked and firm to the touch. Remove from oven and place pan on a wire rack to cool completely (30 minutes). Remove bars from pan using the overhanging edges of parchment or foil. Cut into bars.
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen- Blondies | Makes approximately 12 large bars or 24 small bars