by Carrie Saum
Truth: I once made these beauties to woo a potential future boss. And it totally worked. I got the job and my (now former) boss still requests these delightful bites of almond and coconut bliss when we have him over for dinner or head out to his house for a hike. I made them to share with a class a few years ago. The professor still reminds me that the almond joy bars put me on her radar in a good way, and hounded me for the recipe until I relented.
Mamas, food can be magic.
Of course these worked to woo friends and family over during the holidays, too. Last year, I made these because I was on a Total Elimination Diet for my nursling during the holidays. It was not the worst thing that has ever happened to me, but it was definitely not the best, either. On one hand, I was glad to have a very good reason to say no to all the seasonal treats. On the other hand? NOPE.
I had to adapt and change my original recipe (which you can get here) to stick to my TED. But I ended up liking these just as much, if not more than my original ones. Everyone else did, too. Nobody knew that they were eating a healthy treat, and nobody cared. They almond joy bars were gone in seconds.
This veer a bit from the traditional candy route. I love sugar as much as the next gal, but I try to limit my intake as much as possible. So, I opt for things that pack a punch and are legitimately satisfying without being cloyingly sweet or spiking my blood sugar. There are tons of benefits in coconut, which you can read up on here. Plus, it has a natural sweetness that shines on it’s own when handled properly. Combine this with a little flax to boost milk production during a stressful and busy season, and you’re pure gold. Well, your milk is pure gold at the very least.
Ingredients for bars:
- 2 eggs
- 3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 can full-fat coconut milk
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup sugar, (or coconut sugar if you’re looking for a low-glycemic option)
- 1/2 cup flour, sifted (I use Bob’s Redmill gluten-free blend)
- 1 Tbsp flax meal (optional)
- 1 Tbsp vanilla
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 20 drops liquid stevia, or 2 Tbsp honey (optional)
- a handful of raw almonds
Ingredients for chocolate drizzle:
- 3 oz 90% cacao chocolate bar
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil or butter
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
- 15 drops liquid stevia, or 2 Tbsp honey (optional)
- 1 tsp vanilla
Directions for bars:
- In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and mix well.
- In a smaller bowl, combine wet ingredients and stir.
- Mix wet ingredients into dry and pour mixture into 9×13 pyrex glass dish
- Evenly place almonds on top of batter
- Bake for 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, or until the middle is firm.
- Cool completely then cut into bars
Directions for chocolate drizzle:
- In a double boiler or microwave, melt chocolate and butter.
- Once chocolate and butter are melted, stir in cardamom, vanilla, and sweetener.
- Transfer chocolate to small ziploc bag and close.
- Cut a tiny piece of the corner of the bag off and drizzle over cooled bars.
Joy to you!
*Note: It’s important to point out that most women aren’t going to need to eat food with the intention of upping their milk supply, if everything is working the way it is supposed to, your baby will know how to up your supply just fine themselves. Skin-to-skin and feeding on demand are the best ways to increase breastmilk supply to meet your baby’s needs. (Concerned you have low supply? Read this to help figure out if it is something you need to be concerned about.) For those women, galactalogues just happen and they don’t need to think about it. But some women, like me, do need a boost. As a mom who ended up exclusively pumping and indeed having low supply such that I ended up on medication solely to increase my milk production, I know what it’s like to look for anything, anything at all that would help my body make even just a little more milk to help feed my baby. With the support of my health care providers, we tried everything. It becomes “I will eat all the cookies, I will drink all the shakes, I will eat all the parfaits!” if it even just makes me feel like I’m doing something to address the low supply struggle, it is worth it.