These paleo Almond Joy Lara bars are the perfect combination of coconut and chocolate and are super healthy. A filling and quick paleo snack, they’re also Whole30-compliant for emergency food. Very similar to chocolate coconut chew Lara bars.
It was a genius moment, really. I was tired of flipping back and forth between keyboards on my phone, always inevitably getting caught in some labyrinthine space between the U.S. alphabetic keyboard and the emoji numerical, pondering my frustration on a scale of “the mortgage on my brand new house is kinda high” to “they don’t have my favorite bread at Whole Foods and I’m going to tweet angrily about it” (frustration with the pumpkin spice latte recipe, your iPhone being slow, and Lauren Conrad in general are also, of course, on the scale). I just want to type a smiley face crying with laughter, dammit. In pretty much every text.
So, irritated with the trap I found myself in with swapping to an emoji keyboard just to type the graphic representation of a passé “lol,” I decided to create a keyboard shortcut for the emoticon. I use them for my email addresses, blog and portfolio URLs, for names, and more… why not for emotions? So, being used to Slack’s shortcode for ?, I named her “joy” and my life was forever changed.
Well, kinda, sorta. You see, the problem is that these keyboard shortcuts don’t seem to work when you really need them, like in WordPress or Facebook. Sure, you can shortcut a ¯_(ツ)_/¯ all day long in a text message, but Facebook? You better learn how to express your sense of entertained apathy with real words, my friends.
But if you want to use an emoji in a file name? NO PROBLEM. The only problem is that you don’t want to use an emoji in a filename, so you find yourself spending a lot of time backspacing and carefully, very slowly, retyping J-O-Y to name your Almond Joy Lara bars without turning it into a laughing matter. No one’s Googling “Almond ? Lara bars,” I can almost guarantee it.
So ever since I captured my family’s beloved Almond Joy Lara bars recipe on film, I’ve been hovering past the maximum on the spectrum of first world problems, beyond the irritation that PSL’s are just too sweet now and why don’t they use real coconut milk without cane sugar and is that so much to ask?! My laptop laughs at me when I try to name my Almond Joy Lara bars, and I don’t find it funny.
Also not funny? How freaking delicious these chocolate coconut Lara bars are. And how I’m using a bunch of trademarked names and just hoping that Lara doesn’t care. To be clear, these are not actual Lara bars but Lara-bar-like bars. Yes? We good? OK, moving on.
We make batches of these on a regular basis. We don’t snack on them too regularly, but when hunger pangs hit and you don’t have time for a “meal”? They’re perfect. And they taste weirdly like Almond Joys, which makes them especially popular in my household. Not only that, they’re super stinking easy to whip together and keep so well in the fridge.
There’s plenty of coconut and lots of cocoa, with sticky, sweet dates and crunchy almonds as your base. They’re a healthy version of Almond Joy and a cheaper version of Lara bars. What’s not to love?
If you prefer a smoother texture, rather than one with plenty of almond chunks, process your almonds before adding the remaining ingredients. Doing this will help really break up the almonds, especially if you’re using whole almonds. If you’re using slivered or sliced, it’s not as big of a deal.
If you’re on a Whole30, you’re not supposed to eat things like this unless it’s an “emergency,” so I’m not telling you they’re approved! They are compliant, but you should NOT eat them as a snack or dessert.
Almond Joy Lara Bars
- If using whole almonds, process them first. Put them in the bowl of your food processor and blitz until crumbled and pretty uniform in texture. If using slivered or sliced almonds, skip this step, and simply add the almonds with the rest of the ingredients in the next step.
- Add remaining ingredients, except for water, and process until smooth and well combined. Add water as necessary to create a texture that clumps together but isn't too moist.
- Line an 8x8" baking pan with parchment paper, leaving extra on two sides to act as handles. Press mixture into baking pan and use your fingertips or a mini roller to flatten and smooth. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes to firm up.
- Use your parchment paper "handles" to lift chilled mixture out of baking pan. Slice into bars and keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 week.
Cheryl Malik is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind the healthy, flavorful, family friendly recipes at 40 Aprons. She’s been a blogger for 10+ years and is known for her delicious recipes and detailed recipe instructions. Cheryl is a mom of three who lives in Memphis, TN.