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Almond Joy · GF (about 18)

Lately I’ve had these cravings.

Don’t get the wrong idea— there isn’t a BraveTot on the way (sorry, Mom). It’s just that I’ve never had the chance to work up an appetite. In a restaurant, you spend the day grazing on little bits of everything, so you’re never quite hungry. After eight to twelve hours of sugary snacks, dessert’s the last thing on my mind.

Almond Joy: Almond Butter, Coconut & Chocolate

But now that I’m home, without a menu to maintain, everything sweet sounds good again. A craving hits, and suddenly I start throwing ingredients around in an indiscriminate whirlwind of sugar and flour. No plan, no purpose, no stress.

I don’t have to fret that something might seems too rustic for its price tag, or that it’ll clash with other flavors on the menu. I don’t have to worry about chocolate melting in the heat, or whether I made enough to last the night.

I’ve got nothing but my own cravings in mind, and that’s how these little cookies came about. They taste like Almond Joy, if Almond Joy had as much almond as coconut, a big hit of salt, and legit dark chocolate.

I love the look of drizzled chocolate over the top, but you could just as easily chop the bar and mix it into the dough.

Almond Joy, about 18 three-inch cookies
5 ounces all purpose flour (gluten free variation below)
5 ounces sweetened coconut flakes
5 ounces almond butter, creamy or crunchy both work well
1 ounce unsalted butter or virgin coconut oil, room temperature
5 ounces light or dark brown sugar
5 ounces white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
to garnish: 4 ounces dark or milk chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350°. Sift the flour and toss with the coconut flakes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the almond butter, butter, brown sugar, white sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, vanilla and almond extracts. Mix on low speed to moisten, then increase to medium and beat one minute.

Add the egg and continue creaming until smooth, pausing to scrape the bowl and beater with a flexible spatula as needed. Reduce speed to low, add the coconut/flour, and continue mixing until the dry bits disappear.

Use a large cookie scoop (2 1/2 Tablespoons) to portion the thick dough into 18 pieces. Roll each one smooth and round, and arrange on two baking sheets. For thick and chewy cookies, leave the dough-balls alone. For thin and crispy cookies, flatten with a drinking glass. You can see the hodge-podge of thicknesses below.

Almond Joy Cookies

If you like, sprinkle the dough with an extra pinch of salt. Bake until the cookies are puffed and firm around the edges, though their centers will still seem a little steamy and damp; about 15 minutes.

While the cookies cool, gently melt the chocolate (if you melt it over a water bath and keep the chocolate below 95°, it will stay in good temper). Transfer to a small parchment cone, snip the end and drizzle the cookies with melted chocolate.

The cookies will keep for a few days in an airtight container, with a sheet of wax paper between the layers.


Almond Joy: Almond Butter, Coconut & Chocolate

Gluten Free: replace the all purpose flour with 2 ounces kinako, 2 ounces oat flour, 1 ounce tapioca flour, and 1 ounce white rice flour. Plain soy flour cannot be used to replace the kinako.


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Any questions?

Feb 25, 2014 ·  9:26 PM

Oh these look delicious. Now I’m having a sweet craving…

Does it matter whether you use a stand mixer or handheld mixer? Or will the dough be too thick for a handheld?

 · Ria · 

Feb 25, 2014 ·  9:42 PM

Hi Ria! I haven’t tried making it with a hand mixer, but I don’t think you’ll have any trouble. In this case, the dough doesn’t need to be “light and fluffy” or any such thing, so a hand mixer should work just as well. The dough’s pretty thick after you add the dry ingredients, so it may need an extra minute to come together, but it should be fairly straight forward.


Feb 26, 2014 ·  5:58 AM

What is almond butter ?

 · Tay · 

Feb 26, 2014 ·  9:57 AM

Is Almond “Butter” also known as Almond “Paste”?
Cookies look delicious!

 · harriet ·

Feb 26, 2014 · 10:33 AM

Hi Tay and Harriet. Thanks for asking so I can clear up any potential confusion!

Almond butter is just like peanut butter, but made from almonds. You can find commercial almond butter in the same grocery aisle as peanut butter, or in the bulk aisle of natural/organic stores where it’s sold from a grinding machine. I used fresh ground almond butter for my version, but the commercial type would work just as well. You can even buy it in creamy or crunchy (which can be nice for adding extra crunch to the cookies).


Feb 26, 2014 · 10:41 AM

These look amazing Stella!
I have never seen sweetened coconut flakes here (in Germany), do you reckon I should slightly increase the amount of sugar in the cookies to make up for using unsweetened ones, or do you reckon they will be great a little less sweet as well?
Can’t wait to make these!

 · Franziska · 

Feb 26, 2014 · 10:50 AM

Hi Franziska! Unsweetened will work just fine. In the states, unsweetened coconut flakes can be extremely dry so I often prefer sweetened for their increased moisture content. The sweetness factor itself is actually pretty negligible.


Feb 26, 2014 · 11:00 AM

Thanks for the super quick reply Stella! Writing my shopping list now…

 · Franziska · 

Feb 26, 2014 · 12:15 PM

Hi Stella! These look fantastic. I made your chewy chocolate chip cookies. Wow. Those are amazing. Would you recommend refrigerating these overnight? Will they freeze as well as the choco chip?

 · QueenOfChile · 

Feb 26, 2014 · 12:28 PM

@Franziska, hope you like ‘em!

@QueenOfChile, if you wanted to, you could absolutely refrigerate or freeze the dough, but it’s not a required step. I’m sure it would help thicken them up even more, but if you skip flattening them they turn out decently thick on their own.


Feb 26, 2014 · 12:49 PM

Oh my word. These cookies look amazing. I also love any cookie recipe that allows flexibility in the thin/crispy vs thick/chewy texture. I can imagine these as a florentine-style sandwich cookie with the chocolate in the middle of two crispy cookies.

 · emily | nomnivorous ·

Feb 26, 2014 ·  2:32 PM

Oh these sound delicious Stella!!! I’ve been modifying recipes to be gluten free for many years now, and I’ve been doing so with my own mix grains, starches, and gums for an all purpose flour. I’ve succeeded with cakes, pies, bars, etc. but cookies…well cookies are another story completely. Often times they spread a ridiculous amount in the oven (despite my chilling them first) and for several recipes, they get overly crumbly. So my pertinent question: Is there a chance Kinako would resolve this issue? It seems with higher protein content it may “hold” better. I’ve never used it and wondered how you’ve applied it. Do you like the taste? I have used regular soy flour and do not like it in my desserts. Any thoughts and opinions are welcomed.

Thank you for your ongoing inspiration and sharing it with us!!!

 · CakeBakes · 

Feb 26, 2014 ·  2:43 PM

Emily, you miiiight try adding a splash of milk to the batter for sandwiching purposes. Even flattened and baked to a crisp, I don’t think these cookies are quite thin or crispy enough for sandwiching. But then again, maybe a hearty cookie sandwich is just what we need!

Hi CakeBakes! Yeah, cookies can be a bit of a balancing act. In general, I find my recipes need more GF flour than APF, so I always skew my blend an ounce or two higher in total volume. Oat flour’s a favorite cookie flour for me because it’s so highly absorbent, it really minimizes spreading.

You should give kinako a try! I absolutely despise plain soy flour, so trust me when I say they are nothing alike. Soy flour has been defatted, so it’s super lean and bland. Kinako is full-fat, and it tastes something like powdered peanut butter: nutty, rich and sweet. Kinako’s so good you can can eat it plain; in Japan it’s used as a garnish to sprinkle over other desserts. It’s also more finely milled, so it doesn’t have the same gritty texture that I detect with plain soy flour. It’s great in any dessert that needs a nutty boost, I like it in graham crackers and blondies, too.


Feb 26, 2014 ·  5:52 PM

I’ve never heard steamy and damp used to describe a cookie, and contrary to what I would expect, it actually sounds appealing, haha.

 · Rebecca  ·

Feb 27, 2014 · 10:01 AM

I may have missed this but are we supposed to line the baking sheet with parchment? (I’m expanding from only macarons.)

 · MacaronGuy · 

Feb 27, 2014 · 10:31 AM

Awesome! I just made an almond joy layer cake last week!

 · Sarah ·

Feb 27, 2014 · 11:12 AM

great healthy cookies!

 · dina ·

Feb 27, 2014 · 12:13 PM

@Rebecca, haha, right? These cookies keep cooking for a little while longer on the hot baking sheet, but when they first come out of the oven they do look a little underdone.

@MacaronGuy, no parchment paper required. Macarons are so lean they’ll stick to the tray, but these have enough fat for that not to be a problem.


Feb 28, 2014 · 12:03 AM

Ooh delish!

Is there any chance I can use fresh grated coconut instead of dessicated?

 · May · 

Feb 28, 2014 · 11:39 AM

Hi May! I definitely think you can use fresh coconut, but you may need to adjust the amount. 5 ounces of finely shredded coconut is pretty dense, but 5 ounces of fresh may be considerably more voluminous, which might change the bake time and texture of the cookies a little. If you give it a try, please let me know how it turns out!


Mar 23, 2014 ·  2:07 PM

Wow these were good! I found the dough extremely dry even before adding the flour (I suspect my almond butter had less fat in it) but easily corrected. I didn’t have kinako flour but found an ounce of teff and millet flours worked just fine.

 · Kacey · 

Mar 23, 2014 ·  8:33 PM

Hi Kacey! Ooh, I’m glad to hear about your alternate GF experience. Good to know! Out of curiosity, what sort of almond butter did you use? I made mine with freshly ground but creamy-style natural almond butter, so there was a good deal of free oil.


Apr 13, 2014 · 10:12 AM

I love this idea! I’m going to have to send this recipe to my Mom, she is GF and almond joys are her favorite!

 · Nicole ·

Apr 13, 2014 ·  9:15 PM

Hi Nicole! Ahh, you’re such a good daughter. Hope Mom loves the GF version!


Apr 29, 2014 ·  7:53 PM

I adjusted the sugar slightly, I think they were just a tab bit too sweet with the sweetened coconut. Fabulous!

 · ChristinaBakes · 

May 05, 2014 ·  5:16 PM

Good to know, ChristinaBakes! Thanks for the report, and I’m so glad you still enjoyed the cookies.


Jun 18, 2014 ·  4:14 AM

Hey Stella, these cookies — and therefore you by extension — are genius! I’m not even exaggerating when I say it’s the greatest cookie recipe in the universe. EVER. Took it to another group dinner last night & everyone about died of happiness eating them. I kid u not—even the health freaks. I’m still wishing I hadn’t taken all of them there. It’s almost as if they somehow caramelize, giving them a faintly toffee-like taste. AMAzing! And thanks for being ultra-precise about when to take them out. Large cookies can be hard to gauge.
Note to those making almond butter for the 1st time: it takes waay longer to grind almonds than peanuts or hazelnuts, so don’t give up.
Thanks again, Stella!

 · MA · 

Jun 18, 2014 · 10:51 AM

Hey MA, good to hear from you again! I’m so happy this recipe was such a success for you, but I can’t take the credit. Put that much coconut and almond in any recipe and it will become totally addictive, haha. High five on the homemade almond butter, and thanks for leaving the note on time. I’m sure that will be helpful for anyone wanting a DIY approach.



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