Paleo Almond Joy Cups & Goat Yoga
These vegan paleo almond joy-esque treats are a blend of raw almonds, coconut and vegan paleo chocolate and are absolutely divine. Bonus: they take a few minutes to make and only about 30-45 minutes to firm in the freezer. (If you'e in a rush, they can be eaten slightly soft with just as good yet messier results).
I just got home from a phenomenal Boulder trip (my twin and I were in one of our best friend's wedding–hey Elmo!). My hubby and I left the girls with his parents and spent a few days panting in the high altitude as we hiked, jogged, and did yoga (with goats–it's a real thing, and it's amazing!!). It was great–almost as amazing as Oregon–though I missed the babies tremendously, and also, being in my kitchen. Though avoiding desserts (even healthy ones) might net you a little slimmer waistline, it can be detrimental to your mental wellbeing. Anytime I am intentionally or unintentionally without a sweet treat for a period of time, I feel like I'm missing something. There's almost nothing I enjoy more than having a raw cookie with my afternoon tea or sharing a vegan paleo pumpkin bread with a friend. So long story short, I'm delighted to be home again, creating and developing recipes and of course, sampling them myself.
Real quick, though: Goat Yoga is yoga outside with goats roaming and cuddling with you. It's peaceful, funny and adorable. But if the thought of a goat sneezing at you or goat poop next to your mat freaks you out, you may be more comfortable in a studio. The Mountain Flower Goat Dairy in Boulder offers goat milk and goat yoga and while I didn't try the milk (the last time I had goat milk it was given to me fresh from the goat by a childhood friend on her farm served on sugary cereal and it wasn't my jam), the yoga was a blast!
I guess the makers of Almond Joy candies were clever in their combination of almond, coconut and chocolate. I'm pretty sure I've never eaten one though perhaps I enjoyed one from my Halloween stash as a child (doubtful though as I used to avoid anything coconut or almond–I lived for getting m&m's at Halloween). At any rate, the current ingredient list for Almond Joy is atrocious and terrifying, even if you are not vegan or paleo. (Seriously, the main ingredient is corn syrup. I repeat: it's mostly corn syrup!)
So if you liked Almond Joys (or still do), please give this easy, fast and energizing treat a try! The base itself is a yummy bite, and you can omit the chocolate for a healthier option, or make your own carob layer by whisking carob powder, maple syrup and coconut oil for an autoimmune-protocol-safe option and another paleo version without cocoa or cacao.
Paleo Vegan Almond Joy Cups
1 cup raw almonds
1 tbsp coconut oil
1-3/4 tbsp pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1/4 cup to 1/3 cup nondairy soy-free chocolate chips, melted
optional: sprinkling of sparkling sea salt
1. In a Ninja blender (they are amazing for reals) or a food processor (my favorite and most-used kitchen tool for going on 12 years. This little pink Cuisinart food processor is a perfectly sized version of my giant Cuisinart one), mix the almonds until they start to break down. Pulse in the coconut oil, and maple and vanilla, and then the coconut last. Mix until it's clumped together like a dough.
2. In a muffin tin, place little squares of parchment in 8 tin slots, filling each 1/3 to 1/2 full. (I ripped about 8 squares and pressed the dough onto the square and into the tin). This is great for easy removal and easier clean up though omitting the parchment paper also works; it will just be tricker to get them out in one piece.
3. Chill for at least 30 minutes. After about 10 minutes, sprinkle on a little sea salt if desired. This looks classy and adds a nice compliment to the sweetness, bringing out the flavor even more. Chilling for 45-60 minutes yields a firmer denser texture.