These bars were inspired by the Almond Joy candy bar, one of my favorite childhood treats. I adapted this recipe from one that appears in my book Flavorful, tweaking it by changing the formula for the brownie layer and subbing a few ingredients here and there. The fudgy brownie base of this indulgent treat is topped with a sticky coconut layer into which whole toasted almonds are embedded, arranged so that each portion gets an almond. The filling is then covered with a half dark, half milk chocolate glaze. If you’re a chocolate + coconut + almond kind of a person, this one’s for you!
- 2/3 cup (87 grams) all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons (21 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 5 oz (142 grams) dark chocolate (60-66%), chopped
- 2 large (100 grams) eggs
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (108 grams) light brown sugar
- 8 tablespoons (114 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
Coconut Almond Layer:
- 1 3/4 cups (150 grams) sweetened flaked coconut
- 1/3 cup (116 grams) sweetened condensed milk
- 16 whole blanched almonds, toasted (10-12 minutes in 350˚F oven)
- 2 ounces (57 grams) high quality milk chocolate, chopped
- 2 ounces (57 grams) high quality semisweet chocolate (60-66%), finely chopped
- ½ cup (116 grams) heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons (44 grams) sweetened condensed milk
Make the Brownie Layer:
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350˚F. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Line the pan with parchment paper or foil, letting it overhang by 2 inches on 2 opposite sides.
- In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Whisk gently to combine and set aside.
- Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat at 50% power, stopping to stir it every 30 seconds, until it is almost melted, about 1 to 1 ½ minutes. Stir with a silicone spatula until completely melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs at medium speed, and gradually add the sugars. Gradually add the melted butter and vanilla and beat at medium-high speed until light, about 1 minute. Reduce the speed to low and gradually mix in the melted chocolate. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and, using a rubber spatula, mix by hand until well blended. Fold in the flour mixture one-half at a time, just until blended. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing it into an even layer. Bake the brownies for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Set the pan on a wire rack and cool completely.
- Once cool, refrigerate the brownies while you make the next layer.
Make the Coconut Almond Layer:
- Place the coconut in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the sweetened condensed milk and pulse until the coconut is evenly moistened.
- Remove the brownies from the refrigerator and, using the parchment or foil ends as handles, lift them out of the pan. Invert the brownies onto a cutting board and peel off the paper or foil. Reinvert the brownies so they are right side up. Using a long, serrated knife, trim off about 1/4-inch from each edge of the brownie square. Using a metal spatula, spread the coconut mixture over the brownies in an even layer. Go over the coconut again with the spatula, make the layer as flat and even as possible. Arrange the almonds, evenly spaced in rows of four-by-four, on top of the coconut, pressing down on them to make them stick.
Make the glaze and glaze the brownies:
- Place the milk and semisweet chocolates in a medium bowl and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, bring the cream and condensed milk to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and gently whisk until the chocolate is melted and the glaze is smooth.
- Place the brownies on a cake rack set on top of a parchment-lined baking sheet. Slowly pour the glaze over the brownies, covering the top completely and allowing it to spill over to cover the sides. Tip the brownies up on one side to let any excess glaze that is pooling in the center slide off. The almonds should be covered with a light coating of glaze, but you should still be able to see them all. Refrigerate the brownies until the glaze is set, at least 30 minutes.
- Cut the brownies into 16 squares. Each square should have an almond on top. Serve the brownies at room temperature or chilled, as you prefer. Store the squares in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.