Finally time for some Christmas treats. This is the only time of year that I let myself
over indulge in treats. I love Christmas cookies and goodies. And it’s not just a casual love affair, if I’m being honest…. It’s a full on, crazy in love, addiction to Christmas treats. I have a problem. In order to keep myself in-check this year, I made these dark chocolate coconut almond clusters. No added sugar, just 85% dark chocolate with unsweetened coconut flakes, raw almonds, and a sprinkle of sea salt. Pure indulgence.
Because I am trying to stay on track and conquer my sugar addiction, I consciously made the decision to cut back on my holiday baking. In the past I’ve made anywhere from five to ten different types of cookies and treats to give out as gifts at work, take to the neighbors, for family gatherings, or parties. This year, I am limiting myself to just a few of my favorites. So watch for some upcoming Christmas goodie posts!
These dark chocolate coconut almond clusters were for a cookie exchange party with a focus on paleo treats. Yes, I said paleo treats. Not all the cookies at the exchange were paleo but most of them were. I debated a long time between making Monster Cookies with red and green M&M’s or something healthy-ish… It was a real dilemma. But I finally decided to go with something a little more healthy.
One of my favorite treats is to have a few squares of dark chocolate with walnuts or almonds. The darker the chocolate, the less sugar. My favorite dark chocolates are Lindt 85% or 90% dark chocolate, Theo dark chocolate bars, and the Endangered Species Chocolate bars. I always keep a few bars stashed away in the freezer. These clusters are the very essence of my dark chocolate squares and nuts.
For most dark chocolate, two squares will have about 10 grams of carbs with six grams of added sugars. You want to keep your daily added sugars to no more than 25 grams of sugar a day. Four grams equals one teaspoon of sugar. Overall, the less sugar you eat the better.
Very dark chocolate satisfies my sweet tooth, and I love the flavor combo of nuts and chocolate. These dark chocolate coconut almond clusters are easy to make and only take four ingredients. I’m also classifying them as a healthier treat than my typical Christmas cookies.
Just some quick recipes notes. You can half this recipe. I made way more than necessary and had leftovers from the cookie exchange.
Also, I tempered the chocolate using a very basic, unprocessed controlled method. Tempering chocolate makes it look prettier. To read about tempering chocolate check out these articles from Epicurious and The Kitchn. I did use a candy thermometer, but I don’t think it was accurate because I wasn’t using enough chocolate. I used a double boiler to melt 2/3 of the chocolate, removed it from heat, then added the rest of the chocolate, constantly stirring until most of it melted. Then I reheated the mostly melted chocolate over the double boiler for about a minute, until all the chocolate was melted. And then I finally added in the almonds and coconut. The chocolate did cool down and start to harden before I could form all the clusters, so I just reheated the whole thing, chocolate, almonds, and coconut, over the double boiler.
- 5 cups of raw almonds (or walnuts or a mixture)
- 6 3.5 oz 85% dark chocolate bars - broken into small pieces
- 1 - 1.5 cups of unsweetened coconut flakes (look for Bob's Red Mill)
- Sea salt
- Line 2-3 large baking sheets with wax paper, set aside.
- Using a double boiler (medium sized sauce pan filled with 1-2 inches of water with a metal bowl placed on top of the sauce pan, just above the water), place over medium heat.
- Add ⅔ of your chocolate to the metal bowl (4 bars).
- Make sure that you don't get any water in the bowl with the chocolate.
- Heat the chocolate until it melts, stirring occasionally.
- Once the chocolate has melted, remove the metal bowl from the double boiler and set on a dish towel. Leave the sauce pan with the water in it on the burner, reduce heat to low.
- Add the remaining two chocolate bars piece by piece. Let each piece of chocolate melt before adding the next. Continue stirring. The chocolate might not melt completely, this is okay.
- After you have added the rest of the chocolate, place the bowl back over the saucepan on low-medium heat. Stir the chocolate until it is all melted.
- Once all the chocolate is melted, remove from heat and place the bowl on the dish towel.
- Add the almonds and coconut to the melted chocolate. Start with 1 cup of coconut and then add another ½ cup if desired. Stir so that all the almonds and coconut are well coated in chocolate.
- Then using a fork (and probably your fingers), scoop the almonds and coconut into clusters and place on the wax paper lined baking sheets. Make 3 to 5 clusters and then lightly sprinkle with sea salt. You can make the clusters whatever size you would like. Mine were just slightly smaller than a ¼ cup.
- If the chocolate starts to harden before you have time to make all the clusters, place the bowl back over the double boiler and remelt the chocolate.
- You can also make the clusters in batches. Just use a separate bowl and pour in about half of the melted chocolate, half the almonds, and half the coconut.