almond joyful Christmas cookies (no bake, paleo-friendly)

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It’s that time of year when it’s so  easy to be naughty. Cookies. Pies. Cakes. Candy. It’s everywhere. Sweet samples at the store. Santa shaped cookies with royal red icing at the coffee shop screaming to be eaten. We’re barely two weeks into the holiday season and, if you’re like us, starting to feel a little sausagey in our favorite jeans.

But we’re not willing to throw in the cards and see how many pounds we can gain before Christmas, just in time to resolve to lose weight in the new year.

So we challenged ourselves to create something tasty, nourishing and full of goodness.  Sweet enough that we can still indulge in the fun treats, but feel good about it while doing so.

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We landed on a no-bake paleo-friendly Almond Joy-like cookie ball that had the kids begging for more.  And as we’ve said before, if the kids like it… we know it’s good.

Almond Joyful Christmas Cookies

INGREDIENTS:

For the coconut balls:

  • 3 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 6-7 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup grade B maple syrup
  • 3 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds

For the chocolate sauce:

  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate (60 percent cacao)
  • 1/4 cup grade B maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • Pinch sea salt

To make coconut balls, combine all ingredients (except chopped almonds) in a food processor and pulse till combined.  If your coconut oil is solid this will take more than a few pulses (maybe 10 or 15).  Shape teaspoon-size bits of the mixture into balls, and roll them in the finely chopped almonds.  Put the almond crusted coconut balls in the fridge while you make the chocolate sauce.

For the chocolate sauce, combine all the ingredients in a double boiler and stir continuously until everything melts together and is luxuriously chocolatey.

We used a teaspoon to spoon chocolate over half of the coconut balls and then sprinkle with a little more of the chopped almonds.

One thing to note … this makes just a little too much chocolate sauce for two dozen cookies, but we like this sauce on ice cream … and at least one of the four children in our households would like to guzzle it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. 🙂

Makes about 2 dozen 1 to 1 1/2-inch balls

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