Gluten-Free Recipe of the Week #9: No-Bake Almond Joy Bars

ROTW 9 via Positively FreeIf you’ve read my Monthly Meal Plan posts, you know I like to experiment with new recipes. Sometimes these experiments work out really well…and sometimes they don’t. Whenever I modify a recipe, I take lots of notes so that I can recreate it in the future if it turns out well.

For my reference and yours, I’ve decided to post my recipe experiments on this blog. I plan to post at least one recipe per week. I will include a link to the original recipe as well as allergen/special diet information, notes about my changes and lessons learned, pictures from various stages of cooking, and my overall impression of the dish. Most recipes will be main dishes, but I may also include desserts or snacks as well.  

Leave a comment below if you think there’s a recipe I might like to try for a future post!

This week’s recipe is Detoxinista’s
No-Bake Almond Joy Bars (Vegan, Paleo)

*Please click HERE for a printable copy of this recipe*

Information for Top 8 Allergens

  • Contains:
  • Free From:
    • Dairy (make sure to use dairy-free cocoa powder)
    • Egg
    • Peanuts
    • Gluten
    • Fish
    • Crustacean Shellfish
    • Soy (check labels)


  • This recipe is NOT low-sugar—it is most definitely a treat. It is made with real ingredients, so it’s a cleaner dessert than you would get out of wrapper, but it is still dessert!
  • As the original recipe suggests, I highly recommend lining your pan with parchment paper (wax paper would probably also work)—it makes removing the frozen bars much, much easier!

Spray the Parchment via Positively FreeFrozen Whole Bar via Positively Free

  • I found it easiest to use wax paper (parchment paper or your clean fingers would also work!) to spread the bottom layers evenly around the pan (applies to the crust and coconut filling).

Crust in Pan via Positively Free Press the Crust via Positively Free Finished Crust via Positively Free

  • I elected to puree the coconut filling in my food processor for a more creamy middle layer. If you don’t own a food processor, these bars would taste just as good but would have more of a shredded coconut texture.

Coconut Filling via Positively Free Filling in Food Processor via Positively Free Pureed Coconut Filling via Positively Free

  • If your maple syrup is not up to room temperature by the time you need to make the chocolate topping, add it to the melted coconut oil to warm it up a bit. As long as they are warm, there should be no issues making the chocolate topping quickly.

Coconut Oil & Maple Syrup via Positively Free

  • I used the same bowl and same spatula for all three mixes. I simply rinsed them off or wiped them down between steps.


  • I didn’t have almond extract, so I substituted 1 teaspoon of vanilla in the crust. ‘Twas delicious! NOTE: I have since purchased almond extract because we have made these a few times now. I’ll let you know if there is a big difference in taste.

Additional Meal Components

The perfect ending to just about any meal!


GF Almond Joy Bars FI via Positively FreeThese bars are incredibly rich and decadent—you are truly satisfied after eating just one, which is my favorite kind of dessert. For me, these bars have the perfect amount of natural sweetness from the maple syrup and just enough chocolate to feel like you treated yourself without feeling sick or guilty. The coconut filling adds an extra oomph of creaminess not usually found in dairy-free desserts.

I happened to have just about everything needed for this recipe already in my pantry, and (though I did choose to use my food processor) no special appliances are required to make this wonderful treat.