I know I have already mentioned that we are going away at the end of this week for the SXSW Music Festival and Flatstock Rock Poster convention, and that I didn’t know how many recipes I would get up before we go. But I HAD to make time to share this recipe with you guys. I threw this together the other night when I was craving something a little sweet but I wanted something different. I made a small batch as I was almost out of coconut, but I knew I would be making them again VERY soon once I could get more coconut, so I could perfect the recipe and share it with all of you. I do hope to get one more recipe up before I go, then I have a group of lovely bloggers that will be guest posting while I am away. I can’t wait!
I had come across this lovely healthy “Mounds” candy bar inspired treat from Tessa the Domestic Diva and it inspired me to make my own version in the first place. I honestly had forgotten how much I used to love Mounds Bars until I saw her recipe on Kalinda’s weekly Vegetarian, Gluten-free Round Up on Wheat Free Meat Free. The combination of coconut and dark chocolate is perfection and it has always been a favorite of mine, I wish I had started making these sooner.
Like Tessa’s version, I wanted to make a healthy homemade version that wasn’t too sweet and I really wanted to make it with a good quality dark chocolate. I used Dagoba’s Organic Unsweetened Chocolate, which is so delicious, their chocolates are some of my favorites, but you can use whatever your favorite is. And as I mention in the recipe below, if you’d rather just melt some dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips to make it even easier, you can do that, too. I just wanted to make these refined sugar free and lightly sweeten it myself. If you taste either the coconut filling or the chocolate topping and find you want it to be sweeter, just add a little more maple syrup or whatever sweetener you are using. You could also add an almond or two at the bottom or top to make it more like an “Almond Joy” instead of a “Mounds Bar”.
I used a regular sized muffin tin to create these little “bars” but you could really use whatever you want, a mini-muffin tin would be really fun, and you’d end up with even more treats. I almost bought one just for this recipe, but hubby told me I am cut off. In his words I “officially have too much kitchen stuff”. Hehe! If you have a candy mold, that would probably also work. This simple dessert treat is so easy to make, it’d be perfect dessert to make and share at a party if you know there will be a vegan or someone with food allergies and everyone else will enjoy it, too.
Even with these not being too crazy sweet, these are wonderfully rich and satisfying, I love that about dark chocolate. You may even want to cut one of these in half and share it and make them last even longer. In an effort to not eat all of these myself, plus with some gentle begging from one of my yoga teachers on Facebook after she saw a photo I put up, I plan to bring some of these to my yoga studio tomorrow morning. This is good, I fear if I keep these around I will eat them up in a day, they are so good.
Something I wanted to mention and almost forgot, I have avoided using maple syrup as a sweetener in recipes for a very long time, since I assumed the maple flavor would be so strong and would over power whatever I was making. I don’t know what gave me that idea, but sometimes the flavor of maple syrup on it’s own or maple flavored foods, can be a bit too much for me. Honestly it is really amazing what a great sweetener it is and you don’t get any of the maple flavor. I am not sure why, but you don’t. Maybe in larger quantities you might, but it is perfect in a recipe like this. Plus, maple syrup has many health benefits, including being known for it’s anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties and being rich in trace minerals manganese and zinc. Of course sugar is still sugar, natural or otherwise, so don’t go consuming syrup or honey or other refined-sugar alternatives in huge quantities, but know that things like honey, maple syrup or coconut nectar are wonderful alternatives and much smarter choices then refined-sugars and synthetic syrups.Thought the bit about the flavor was worth mentioning though, in the event that you, like me, have been avoiding it for that reason.
[print_this]Dark Chocolate Coconut Treats – Vegan, Gluten-free + Refined Sugar-Free
Makes 12 cups
- 2 1/2 cups unsweetened organic coconut, finely shredded
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (you could use honey, coconut nectar or any other liquid sweetener)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 ounces 100% unsweetened organic dark chocolate (aka bakers chocolate) I used this
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/3 cup maple syrup (again any other liquid sweetener would work)
In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the coconut filling ingredients and mix together until well combined. Evenly divide up the filling between the 12 muffin cups, pressing it in very tightly, making sure it is even. Don’t worry they won’t stick. Place the muffin pan in the freezer make sure it is sitting flat, and freeze until hard, about 30 minutes.
While the coconut filling is cooling, melt the dark chocolate with the coconut oil. Either very carefully in a double boiler setup on the stove top or in small increments in the microwave. After the chocolate and coconut oil is melted and whisked together and well combined, remove from the heat (if you melted it on the stove), and add in the maple syrup. Stir well to combine. Give the chocolate topping a little taste to see if you want it any sweeter. Add more syrup, if you wish. Take the muffin tin with the frozen coconut mixture out of the freezer, and divide your chocolate mixture over it, spooning it on top and smoothing the chocolate out to make sure it totally covers the coconut.
Put the muffin tin back into the freezer, and freeze until the chocolate has set, about another 30 minutes or so. To get the treats out of the pan, slide a knife around the outside of the treat and it will very easily pop out.
After these are set, you could store them in the freezer and keep them really cold and solid or just in the fridge. I keep them in the fridge, myself. Just don’t leave them sitting out on the counter as they will get pretty melty.
*NOTE: if you aren’t worried about making this refined sugar free, you could just melt semi-sweet chocolate chips, I was just hoping to avoid the sugar, so I made my own chocolate topping.