“Almond Joy” Bars {Revised} (allergy and sugar free options)

Healthy Candy! "Almond Joy®" Bars--made gluten, dairy, and sugar free!
I just love easy to make treats like my chocolate avocado truffles, these no bake chocolate mint bars, my silky bean fudge,  chocolate chia pudding, and homemade JELLO®.  But this recipes for Almond Joy® Bars has got to be one of our all time favorites.

This recipe is one of the first healthy desserts that I made after starting on my sugar-free diet a few years ago and it’s been one of our favorites.  I’ve shared it with sugar-free folks and non SFF (:-)) alike and everyone has loved it.  In fact, I just dropped a batch off to my best friend in celebration of her baby’s baptism.

My original post on Healthy Almond Joy Bars was just after I started blogging, and it was pretty good as it was.  But thanks to a reader’s alterations to my recipe (thanks, Liberty :-)) and another update of my own, I think it now is the best healthy almond joy recipe that you can find.  And a great healthy chocolate recipe for us chocolate and sugar loving folks!

Please note–there are affiliate links in this post. If you click on them and make a purchase, I might make a commission. Your support is oh-so appreciated and helps keep this free resource up and running!

Some notes on ingredients:

 

I use these stainless steel mini measuring spoons for all my stevia extract uses.  The 2nd smallest scoop is 1/32 of a teaspoon (which equals 1 scoop).  These are a MUST if you bake with stevia.

Norpro Mini Measuring Spoons

Whether you are

  • looking for healthy chocolate candies
  • wanting to make home made candy
  • looking for a way to get healthy coconut oil into your diet

this is the recipe for you.  Let me know what you think!

Other Healthy Sweet Treats

Do you have a candy or dessert recipe that needs a makeover?

I can’t promise success (my recent attempt at healthy tootsie rolls was a total flop), but I have taste testers willing to try :-)!

There are affiliate links in the post.  Please read my disclaimer.
Shared at Diet Dessert and Dogs, The Prairie Homestead, Skip to My Lou, Real Food Forager, Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free, Time Warp Wife, Chef in Training, Cooking Traditional Foods, and The Better Mom.

Comments

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  1. Oh wow…nothing beats coconut and chocolate!! I am making these with my sister who adores this combo too!

    • Hi Tessa.

      We feel the same way. I make them w/ carob and they are excellent. I am hoping to post another nice chocolate / coconut combo in the not-too distant future. :-).

  2. I just love how you lay out all the options. It makes it easy for people who are just starting out. This sounds yummy. I may have to work this into my holiday baking!

    • Oh thanks, Beth. It is hard for me to remember all the options. I always wonder if I am being “too healthy” for some readers. I want the good things to be do-able. Make extras – I made 2 batches the other day and they are gone :-)..

  3. Oh YUMMMMMMMMM! Picture is a great sell!

  4. Looks delish! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Adriene,

    These look really yummy. I will be making these with carob and stevia!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Blessings,
    Jeanie

  6. Oh Boy! Adrienne, my hubby loves Almond Joy, but so bad for him. This would be a sweet healthy version for him. I might even take a piece. Love coconut anything.

  7. I am assuming that you mean for the topping to say….. 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla? Just checking cause it was omitted. We loved your first version, can’t wait to try the new one!!

    • Yes, Amanda. That was an oops. Just reminding me and everyone else that I am not perfect (uh, I guess everyone knew that already :-)!) I hope you like this one better – I’d love to know what you think!

  8. You have the best recipes! Thanks again!

  9. OMG! They look like to die for. I’m keeping this recipe for sure. Now I need to gather those ingredients as they are not very often used in my kitchen.

  10. Sounds yummy, I love coconut oil! Thanks for sharing at Beyond The Picket Fence.

  11. Big. Fat. Yum. These look so incredibly fantastic. Thanks so much for sharing!

  12. Mmm. I love Mounds. This would be a great replacement that is healthier.
    Thanks for linking up to Making It With Allie this week! I can’t wait to see what you have for next week!
    AllieMakes.Blogspot.com

  13. I love these. Thank you for including options for all the substitutes. It makes it ultra easy to make based on whatever I happen to have.

  14. These look absolutely decadent. I can’t wait to try them on my kiddos (and husband)! And I love coconut. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Stopped over from Ekat’s Kitchen! As a TRUE coconut lover, my mouth DROOLED at the title and picture, but I just love, love, love that you made these health friendlier! what a treat:)

  16. These look wonderful and I appreciate all of the options you’ve given. I’m recently sugar free due to gestational diabetes and still trying to figure out a suitable substitute. I’m, unfortunately, allergic to stevia- I think I may need to do some research on some of the other alternatives you mentioned. Thank you!

    • Julie,
      What are your symptoms from stevia? I thought that I was allergic to it for quite awhile and it appears now that there were other things going on. Also, it can be really important which stevia you use as their processing methods can create allergic responses. Have you tried the NuNaturals or Sweetleaf that I mentioned in the post? I’d be happy to tell you more about the other options. Coconut sugar may work for you, but I would be more apt to try vegetable glyerine, yacon, xylitol or erythritol.

      • To be honest I only tried it once (@ 7 years ago) but my mouth and nose started tingling like crazy immediately- I was afraid to try it again. I didn’t try the brands you mentioned, it was a no name brand from the health food store. I’d love to hear about the other options… do you have any posts on them?

        • Julie, I haven’t written a post on this yet, but I need to. I was having what I thought were serious reactions to stevia. If I ate it I was waking up with puffy eyes and sometimes I would feel irritated just opening a bottle of it. I scoured the internet and made a lot of phone calls and turned up some compelling information about it being related to ragweed and pretty much hung up the gloves about it and thought that I was “doomed” to eating other more expensive and not so healthy alternatives (like xylitol and erythritol). I still do eat those others (I prefer mixing alternative sweeteners for better taste, texture and to offset any safety concerns about any one of them), but here is what happened. I talked at length w/ Sweetleaf about their stevia extract. They said that theirs is produced using only water and while they hedged themselves, they said that they had never heard of anyone having allergic responses. The practitioner whom I am working with said that my physical responses sounded more like aluminum detox and that she really thought that that is what was going on with me. Well, I went off of stevia for awhile, continued with my detox and now I am eating stevia all the time and don’t feel any different. I knew from my previous research that NuNaturals has a very clean processing method as well (I think it is only water as well, but I don’t recall) and I have yet to purchase Sweetlear, but I am going to soon.

          I’d be happy to share more about the detox if you think that would help you. There is a lot of aluminum coming out in my hair and a number of health issues are clearing up. Of course, you would have to be very careful about the stevia trial and if you are concerned that you might be anaphylactic, you should only try it in the presence of an allergist. My son has life threatening allergies to a number of foods so I know how serious they can be. Here are the links to NuNaturals and Sweetleaf. I hope that helps!

  17. My “Honey Bunny” is a great Almond Joy fan and he will just love this wonderful treat. My very best wishes to you and your family for a blessed Thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope to see you again real soon!
    Miz Helen

    • Thanks, Helen – hope he loves them. Seems like Almond Joy is a favorite of many husbands, from what readers have shared (and what my own husband thinks :-)!)

  18. You can’t go wrong with coconut! Thanks for the recipe!

  19. These sound fabulous! I would love for you to link up @ my blog hop!
    http://cookingwithkaryn.blogspot.com/2011/11/what-makes-you-say-mmmmm-2.html

  20. What?! Healthy Almond Joy Bars?! Oh my word! That sounds like heaven!

  21. These look good. Love Almond Joy and nice to have a way to get them lower fat and lower sugar. Awesome!

  22. oh man!! I definitely want to try these! They look delicious! Thanks for sharing

  23. I made these today…and they are SO delicious! WAY better than the original in my opinion!! Could I share it on my blog? Also…you might want to suggest being careful to not burn the chocolate mixture. I almost did…I had to re-cook it after i poured it as it was still very gritty from the sugar not being totally dissolved. I re-heated it slowly and whisked until smooth. I also toasted 1/2 of the coconut only b/c I LOVE toasted coconut flavor! I only had grated coconut on hand and figured it would be more popular with the kiddos b/c of the chewy texture of flakes. T=Really Adrienne…this was fantastic…thanks for inspiring me!

    • Yea – Tessa, I am so glad. I agree. Much better than the first recipe. I need to go and redirect folks from that older posts. You are right about watching for burning the chocolate base. It can happen quite quickly. I am so glad to hear this from you. I love it when readers let me know that what I’ve written has helped. :-). Of course you may share it. Thanks.

  24. These look incredible. Almond Joys are one of my favorite candies, but I rarely indulge. Thank you for sharing this with the Gallery.

  25. Thanks for linking up at A Little Nosh this week!

  26. These look and sound AMAZING!!!! I am making these this holiday season…even if I am the only person in my family who ADORES coconut :) More for me!

    Found you through Jill’s Fitness Friday :)

  27. Those look too good to healthy! I cannot wait to try it.

  28. The picture totally made me drool!! These sound so yummy and I love that they’re healthy – can’t wait to make some! Thanks for sharing! :)

  29. Yum! Almond Joy is our favorite candy bar in this house. I think this would go over smashingly well and be much healthier, to boot!

  30. Thanks for sharing on FF! Hope you have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Enjoy the family!

  31. That’s so great! I’d love it for you to add this to my linky party at {http://sassafrassalvation.blogspot.com/2011/11/sunday-salvation-show-1.html}.

  32. This caught my eye! Healthy treats are guilt-free! Looks delicious!

  33. I have been searching for healthier treat alternatives for Christmas and love anything that has coconut in it! I have these pinned and will be making them at a treat swap party. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  34. Hi, I loved this recipe so much I included it in my recipe roundup today ;)
    I hope you don’t mind. xo
    http://www.lifeologia.com/recipe-roundup-healthy-desserts/

  35. These look wonderful! I love how recipes evolve over the years – I often find that happens with my recipes too. Thank you for sharing your almond joy candy with the Gallery of Favorites!

    • Thanks, April! I hope you enjoy them! My recipes don’t evolve that much typically, except for allergy or dietary changes, but when a reader told me that she had made them better, I revisited the issue :-).

  36. Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. This was very interesting! Hope to see you next week!

    Be sure to visit RealFoodForager.com on Sunday for Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!

    http://realfoodforager.com/2011/11/fat-tuesday-novermber-22-2011/

  37. Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures’ Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Oh, yum, I will have to try these :)

    Check back later tonight when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! :)

  38. These look delicious! Thanks for sharing with the Hearth and Soul hop.

  39. Thank you for bringing your health savvy and culinary talent to Rook No. 17. I’m featuring your post on my Facebook page today!

    Jenn

  40. Yum, these sound really good! I’ve never used stevia before, but I’ve heard some good things about it so I may give it a try.

    • I think you’ll really like them – make sure you get a good brand of stevia, though. Check out the recommended brands on my post. I’ll have to do a whole post on that soon :-).

  41. These look great, I think my husband would love them.

  42. These look wonderful. My husband loves almond joys!

    Thanks for linking up for Friday Favorites! I’m featuring you this week. Come by and grab my featured button if you’d like one.

  43. Subhadra Hemphill says:

    OMG Almond Joys were my favorite candy bars when I used to indulge in that. When I saw the name of your post I was upset because I just went sugar free on New Years and started experimenting with xylitol! Thanks so much for this recipe…since upon reading it I was overjoyed to see that you are also sugar free and use xylitol as well as stevia. So happy to find your blog!

    • I am so glad that you stopped by! It is hard for me to share with others that all of my posts are almost completely special diet friendly. I guess I need to go back and make sure that I put “sugar free” in the title :-). I so hope that you like them! Hope to see you around!

  44. Adrienne-
    Made these tonight! I was so excited but I think I used too much stevia or something. I used stevia (nunaturals), veg. glycerin,and a xyliotol blend. Both the xylitol and stevia has maltodextrin in them so I don’t know if thats it or what? I’ve never had this problem before. I used cocoa too. They just came out funny. Almost bitterly too sweet and not satisfying. Anyway I can fix them so I don’t waste them? They seem too sweet but bitter at the same time!?

    • Hi Ariana – did you use the measurements as shared? I have never heard of xylitol w/ maltodextrin in it – and the stevia I recommended is the extract – not a blend. Did you use the same amount? How odd? If you used the same amount it wouldn’t have been as sweet I don’t think. Since I use NuNaturals I can’t imagine where the bitterness is coming from….Maybe if you try making another batch and this time just use the veg glycerine and mix the combination together – or just melt it all together to make a “blended” almond Joy bar (after adding another batch to the mix). That way you’ll know that the maltodextrin isn’t messing things up. By the way, maltodextrin isn’t the greatest thing if you are watching your sugar intake. It’s a starch sugar so I never eat it, especially as a filler for stevia since from what I understand the body will metabolize it as sugar.
      Hope that helps and let me know!

  45. Would these be a suitable treat for diabetics? My husband was just diagnosed last week. I cook fairly healthy meals, but am feeling a little overwhelmed with everything I’m reading about what he can and cannot have. He has a major sweet tooth, so this is a tough transition for him, and me too, I know nothing about artificial sweeteners and which ones are the best for him, or for different recipes. There is so much conflicting information.

    • Hi Dee! Any of the sweeteners that I use would be suitable for a diabetic. I don’t typically tell readers what sweetener to use b/c I want them to use what they think is appropriate for them. But key to your husband’s health is staying off sugars and carbs (especially refined (white) ones). There is debate on the healthfulness of different sweeteners, but seeing as his blood sugar is such a high priority I would go for stevia (pure extract – not the grocery store kind w/ the fillers), vegetable glycerine, xylitol and erythritol. Yacon is a pretty good option but it’s really expensive. Then some people think pure sucralose is OK but I haven’t used it for making treats.

      When I made these I used stevia and xylitol. Good luck and let me know if you have more questions. I hope to do a post on sweeteners soon so you can learn a little about interchanging in recipes. For now, xylitol can go 1:1 in recipes calling for sugar, but it may upset his stomach a bit if he eats too much and the kinds made w/ birch are preferable to those made w/ corn.

      Take care.

  46. Amy Carter says:

    I had a question. I have made this recipe 3 times and the coconut topping looks nothing like yours and is very crumbly and doesn’t want to stick to the chocolate base. You mention to let it thicken but there is nothing to thicken when I make it. Am I missing something. I did use sucanat not stevia as I don’t have any. Any help would be great!

    • Amy, It doesn’t always stick that well for me – it depends. But it does thicken a little. It’s the arrowroot / cornstarch that helps w/ the thickening. I made it myself with sucanat awhile ago and it worked great so I am not sure what is happening. Maybe try adding 1-2 T of coconut oil additionally to see what happens? Let me know or maybe some other readers can chime in…

  47. Wendy Inman says:

    I came here to look at the comments because i had the same problem as Amy. The coconut i used is very finely shredded and very dry and immediately absorbed all the coconut oil. I added 2 extra tablespoons of oil but the mixture never became a liquid. I went ahead and pressed it on top of the chocolate and it’s in the freezer, so we’ll see. I guess next time i will look for another brand of coconut that’s maybe not so fine and dry. I am sure it will still taste delicious, can’t wait to eat it! :)

    • Mine never becomes liquid, but it still sticks. Keep me posted!

    • I had the same problem. It didn’t stick together. I’m still waiting for the first layer to harden up before spreading the coconut mixture on top. But after that, I’m planning to melt some more chocolate to spread on top and I’m hoping that will help it all stick together. I guess we’ll see. Otherwise, I’m really excited to try the finished product!

      • Kristi – did you use all the same ingredients? I’m really puzzled by this. Thanks! I’m sure it’ll taste good but I’d like to sort this out. Thanks!

        • Yes, I used all the exact ingredients that are in the recipe (used honey granules/sucanat with honey for the sweetner), but when I added the coconut it soaked up all the oil. I ended up adding a little coconut milk (maybe a few tablespoons and then some more arrowroot powder. That seemed to do the trick – it stuck together after that. The melted chocolate chips on top were wonderful too, but almost too rich. Thanks for the great recipe and your help!

          • Hmmm..Well, I don’t know. I can fwd to another blogger friend to see what she thinks. But so glad you liked it! It never seems like it’s going to stick together for me, but it does. I’ve used xylitol and sucanat. Thanks and so glad you enjoyed it!

  48. Adrienne,
    Guess I thought your blogs were about whole natural foods. Xylitol, erythritol, vegetable glycerine, stevia, sucanat, maltodextin to name a few, are derivatives and not good on the body. They do all kinds of bad things to our system. All these give me and many other people migraines among other things. I have to stay with the natural and unprocessed sugars. Our bodies process whole & natural foods much easier. You do have some good recipes. I didn’t have time to read all the posts but did see some people having problems with concentrated sugars etc. Pure local low temp processed honey is the best way to go, helps with allergies too. I also use raw sugar. I’ll keep looking in. Thanks for all your hard work and time you put into this.

    • Hello Linda. I understand your concerns about sweeteners, but really that is something I hope to post about more. You see, I would LOVE to eat honey, and used to, but I have candida now and it is really bad so I suspect that I will never be able to eat is again. I can’t eat sucanat either. I have never recommended that anyone eat maltodextrin but I am not horribly concerned about it.

      Just like those who have issues with “concentrated sugars” (though I am not sure what you mean by that), I cannot have anything that feeds candida and there are a lot of others out there w/ similar issues since candida is rampant these days.

      Pure stevia extract is, from all of my research, actually quite safe. I just did a ton of research on it yesterday and will most likely be posting an interview regarding it soon. As for xylitol and erythritol, they are the best of the sugar alcohols and I don’t have a problem w/ glycerine either. I am a member of a candida blog and the holistic health counselor there is super particular about the sweeteners she thinks are good and she thinks that it is totally fine.

      I am doing the best I can with the hand that I have been dealt and hope to be a help to others. I should also mention that my current health practitioner thinks that the devastation on our health from “natural sugars” is far worse than anything from xylitol, erythritol, and stevia. She sees tons of diabetic cases and I am sure that you are aware of how epidemic that is in our world today. So….I hope that helps you understand where I am coming from. Overall, we should trim our use of sweets – but I hope you can see that I am trying to help those who would like to curb their use of sugars do so in as healthy of a manner as possible. Thanks for commenting and I hope to see you around again.

  49. I can’t wait to make these, but have a question. I’m not sure if I’m just having a blond moment or not. In the method for the base, it says to mix in the remaining ingredients, and later it says to mix in the liquid sweetener and vanilla. The only remaining ingredients were those two. Do i let it thicken before or after i add the sweetener and vanilla?

    • Wow, Leah. I have no idea why I wrote that. I just fixed it. You were the first person to catch that. Wish I had a prize to offer you :-). Thanks!

  50. Hi, Adrienne,

    Can you tell me how much one scoop of stevia powder would equal? Thanks! Really enjoying your blog!

  51. You probably meant to say in the Notes of the recipe: “1 scoop = 32 tsp of sugar rather than 1/32 tsp” ???

  52. Thank you for your recipe! These looked amazing but I could never bring myself to use up almost a cup of my precious coconut oil (I have to have it brought to Guatemala where we are missionaries). After a bit of a hard time during Thanksgiving (first one with no family) and a few months of doing well on Beyond Diet, I decided to make it as a surprise for my husband. It was wonderful! Very rich, so we ate too much, but am looking forward to having a bit with a cup of coffee in a few minutes with the hubby. Thank you again. I look forward to going through your recipes. It’s on my “list”… ;)

  53. P.S. I used the coconut left over from making coconut milk so it wasn’t nearly as pretty as yours, but it feels great to be learning how to make so many things from a coconut!! =]

  54. Thank you so much for all your wonderful recipes! I made these for Thanksgiving and it was everyone’s favorite.

  55. Melissa S. says:

    Hi Adrienne, this looks amazing and I can’t wait to make it! I use Sweetleaf LIquid Stevia…do you know how much I should use to make this recipe using liquid stevia? OR Sweetleaf Stevia in packets? Thanks!!

    • Kinda hard to tell. This is info from one chart I reference: A pinch to 1/16 teaspoon 2 to 4 drops of liquid stevia. I tend to never use the packets b/c they are so expensive! Did you see my liquid stevia recipe? I find it hard to gauge stevia and even recently I tested a new brand and it was a lot weaker than the one I use. Hope you like it!!! (I’m guessing…. 8-12 drops???)

  56. Where can one get stevia extract powder?

  57. This looks really good! I’m going to try doing it all in the dehydrator (melting the oil) and make them a raw bar! I’ll let you know! I belong to a raw food group, and we meet for a potluck once a month, so I’ll try these for that meeting!

    Thanks!

  58. Why are these not covered or drizzled in chocolate after they were cut apart? 8-0
    Also, maple syrup works fantastic for a sweetener and you would have a liquid to mix the arrowroot powder in..

  59. This recipe looks amazing! I included it in a round up of 25 gluten free desserts. Thanks for sharing. :-) http://www.creativegreenliving.com/2013/03/25-delicious-gluten-free-desserts-that.html

  60. I can’t wait to make these, and I have all the ingredients on hand. Where did you find a 1/32 tsp scoop? I have the nunaturals stevia extract in a spice jar.

  61. Making these right now – curious if there is supposed to be two separate sweeteners in the cocoa/carob base?

  62. Janell Hartman says:

    Niiiiiiice. Made these for Father’s Day. SO dang good. I added some sea salt to supercharge the yummy sweetness. Also, doubled the batch so that it would make thicker bars. Yehaw!

  63. Danielle says:

    This recipe is DELISH… On day 4 of Sugar Free and I am a dessert fanatic. Thanks for all the yummy recipes its making my life easier :)

  64. I recently found your blog and had a question about your recipes. Usually there are 2 different types of sweeteners listed. If I don’t want to use Stevia, but coconut sugar or sucanat, do I just add that extra. So this recipe would be 1/4 cup plus 3 TBS? Thanks!

    • Just add the two together :). I do that b/c it works better to use 2 different types of sweeteners together when using alternative non glycemic ones. But you can use what you like :)!

  65. I have to say this.. your site is just amazing… I can trail all over and find such good information. I end up losing the page I started on and have to find my way back… I can’t wait to try these Almond Joys.

    I would love to pick your brain sometime on the essential oils and how you use them for healing purposes. Is there a book you found that contains that information?

    Best Wishes
    Denise

    • sorry for the delay. There is one mentioned in my Thieves giveaway post and if you search Healing Intelligence on my blog you can find another. Working on a post right now. thanks.

  66. Yvonne Paterek says:

    How many carb are in these. please. Have a grandson with diabetes and would like to know. Thank-you

    • If you use an alternative sweetener and cocoa there should be very few carbs. Carob and a high glycemic sweetener would be a source of heavy carbs. Does that help?

  67. Hi, I too love this recipe. Thank you for sharing. I made my first batch last night and after freezing i had a hard time cutting out squares. Then i let it warm up and the chocolate was too soft even stick to the coconut topping. I did use palm oil which is a bit softer than coconut oil. I often make chocolat at home and what i have learned, when i want the chocolate to solidify at room temperature i use cocoa butter. The next time i make this i am going to use cocoa butter in place of coconut oil. This will make the bars easier to travel with.

  68. Charity Call says:

    I am making these, I am wondering if I did something wrong because my topping is not “thickening”. It more flaky. Did I do something wrong, or is it suppose to be that way. I guess I imagined it to be more of a frosting consistency.

  69. Going through you archives is dangerous ;) These look SO good! I love Almond Joys and a healthy option is perfect!

  70. Recipe:
    “1/4 cup granulated sweetener or appropriate substitute
    6 Tbsp carob or cocoa powder
    3 Tbsp sweetener”

    Sweetener is listed 2X – are both quantities included in the base?