I love re-creating the flavors of my favorite candies through desserts. Using a couple of ingredients and some creativity, it’s really simple to turn packaged snickers/twix/almond joy bars into delicious homemade pies, bars, or cupcakes!
For this recipe, I made a mini chocolate pie based on the chocolate, coconut, and almond flavors found in Almond Joy candy.
I started with a sweet chocolate shortbread crust and a thin layer of sweetened coconut at the base. Then I topped it off with a rich dark chocolate-almond cluster and a generous swirl of light almond-flavored whipped cream, garnished with a piece of Ghirardelli Intense Dark Sea Salt Soiree chocolate. The sea salt from this garnish accentuated the chocolate and added a nice finishing touch. Furthermore, this dessert contained various interacting textures, from the soft, crumbly shortbread and the crunchiness of the coconut and almonds to the light and airy whipped cream.
I admit that in the past I’ve always tried to find ways to avoid piping (whether it’s frosting, whipped cream, etc).
I tend to be a perfectionist so I always get worried that my swirls will not look pretty & well-centered which will then result in the need to start all over again. However, I definitely wanted to have whipped cream in this dessert to lighten it up as well as to give it a beautiful fluffy and snowy-white charm. In the end, I actually did a better job piping it on than I expected. It must have been because it was a stress-free night so I was able to take my time and make sure my hands were very steady while I was handling the piping bag…in any case, this small accomplishment has encouraged me to use piping bags more often now (disposable ones with my trusty star tips, of course) instead of always spreading frosting/whipped cream on with a butter knife.
While I was making the dough for the shortbread crust, the kitchen (actually almost the whole house) was already beginning to smell amazing even with nothing baking in the oven! (There was no need to light perfumed candles that evening) 🙂
~ Mini Almond Joy Chocolate Pies ~
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- sweetened coconut, approx. 16 tsp
- 6.5 oz dark chocolate, melted
- 3/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 tbsp granulated white sugar
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 16 pieces of Ghirardelli Intense Dark Sea Salt Soiree chocolate (or any chocolate bar of your choice)
1. For the shortbread crust, cream together the butter and confectioners sugar and add in the almond extract.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt.
3. Incorporate the flour mixture into the butter mixture until you get a crumbly dough.
4. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form a ball, then flatten it into a round shape.
5. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
7. Using 1-tbsp measuring spoon, scoop out about 1 1/2 tbsps of dough, roll it into a ball and flatten it with your palm.
8. Place the small piece of dough in a muffin liner and place the liner in a muffin tin.
9. Spread out the dough evenly in the liner to form a mini crust, making sure it is neither too thick nor too thin.
10. Repeat steps 7-9 until you use up all your dough.
11. Place the muffin tin into the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes then let the crusts cool to room temperature.
12. Place 1 heaping tsp of sweetened coconut in each crust.
13. Melt the dark chocolate and fold in the sliced almonds then divide the mixture as evenly as possible among the mini pies.
14. To make the whipped cream, whisk the heavy cream until it becomes a lot thicker.
15. At this point, mix in the granulated white sugar and almond extract and keep whisking the cream until it reaches stiff peaks.
16. Add a star tip at the end of a disposable piping bag and scoop in the whipped cream then pipe on swirls over the dark chocolate-almond cluster.
17. Break the chocolate bar into small pieces and place a piece on each mini pie.
18. If the liner feels too weak and unstable to hold the dessert, double it with a second liner.
This recipe yields 16 mini chocolate pies. In spite of their small size, having only one feels blissfully satisfying. It’s even better when accompanied by a warm cup of freshly brewed coffee or tea.