Like most kids, I grew up on sickly sweet store-bought chocolate bars and collected tiny versions at halloween. Bounty bars were one of my favourites. I tried one again a while back and couldn't finish because it was so intensely sweet. After trying a few healthier versions of bounty bars online over the past few years and not being pleased with how they turned out, I decided to come up with my own version. Coconut + chocolate = the best and homemade bounty bars need to knock my socks off. I thought about calling them something else (coconut chocolate bars? Honestly I just couldn't think of a catchy name), but I grew up with bounty bars and I'm basing this recipe off the memory of that. The big thing was that I wanted them to taste reminiscent of that childhood treat, minus the toothache, but I also wanted them to work for all of you.
These are filled with pure, natural, good for you ingredients and I promise that the coconut filling won't fall apart on you. I wanted to make a bar that didn't have to be pressed into a sheet pan and then cut into bars, partly because I just have gigantic pans that are the same size as my oven right now, and partly because I hate doing extra dishes. If you have kids they're going to love squishing the coconut mixture into bars, and if you've had a bad week you can use it as therapy.
These chocolate bars aren't like the ones you got in your treat bag as a kiddo. They're made with dark raw chocolate, filled with creamy coconut (in shredded, oil, and butter form), and topped with my fave superfood, bee pollen. I chose raw honey as the sweetener in this recipe because 1. it's super healthy, 2. it's locally and sustainably produced, and 3. it's stickiness helps hold everything together. If you're looking for a vegan option I would suggest a sticky, thicker syrup like brown rice syrup to help keep things from crumbling - see below the recipe for another note on that.
I made the chocolate with raw honey too, which can be a little tricky without clear directions because honey acts like water and doesn't like to bind with cacao butter. See the photo below for an idea of how it should look once they're properly mixed and you can add the cacao powder without worrying about separation. You'll have to use some elbow grease if you're whisking by hand, but just think of it as a workout (i.e. you're burning more calories which means more bounty bars).
Raw chocolate is fabulously healthy, and is high in magnesium, antioxidants, and vitamins - it will make you feel and look better if you regularly choose raw over a conventional chocolate bar. If you tend to feel some hormonal shift during certain times of the month, consciously snack on some raw chocolate! It can help with mood swings and make you feel happier in general. I feel a million times better if I have some before the communists take over every month. You can substitute coconut oil for some or all of the cacao butter, but the resulting chocolate will be less rich and melt more easily than it will with 100% cacao butter.
I originally tried to make these with minimal ingredients, but the coconut butter in particular is vital to keep the filling from crumbling, and helps add to the strong coconut flavour. If you're looking for a budget friendly option you can make your own coconut butter instead of buying it, and I've included instructions on that below. If you want them to be a little more room-temperature friendly, you can switch out the raw chocolate for melted dark chocolate and they won't melt as easily. If you go the raw chocolate route they'll need to be kept in the fridge and just taken out as you eat them. Even with making your own chocolate and the addition of coconut butter in the filling, you're only looking at 5 ingredients for the filling and 5 for the chocolate (including salt and vanilla) so it's not too bad.
I chose to make these bars mini size because I think they're more fun to make/eat that way and also because it's a little easier to do portion control if you're having one small treat instead of a full-sized chocolate bar. Because yes, these are a much healthier option, but of course you can overdo it. That being said, I totally ate four at once when I was in crave mode. The great thing about these is that I didn't feel sick even after eating too many at once. If you're having a halloween or holiday party these make a great little treat for guests, but I like to have them in the house just for us, too.
Mini Raw Bounty Bars
Makes about 12 small bars
200 grams / 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup coconut butter, softened*
1/4 cup raw honey*
1/4 cup virgin coconut oil, softened*
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
Up to 2 tablespoons water, if necessary
Mix all of the ingredients except for the water in a large bowl until thoroughly combined (use your hands). Once everything has been mixed, it should stick together easily. If it's a touch too dry, add a tablespoon of water and mix again. If it's still not sticking you can add one more tablespoon.
Take about two tablespoons of the filling and squeeze it into a rough bar shape. Place the bar onto a board or baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat until all of the filling has been shaped into bars, and then place the board in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before coating in chocolate. Wet your hands slightly after every 3-4 bars to keep it from sticking to your hands too much.
Once the bars have been frozen, coat them in chocolate. Use a fork to turn the bars over so that they're completely covered and then gently tap the fork against the bowl to help remove any excess. If you want to top the bars with extra coconut or bee pollen, do it before the chocolate has time to harden. Place the coated bars on a cooling rack or back onto the parchment covered board and let the chocolate solidify before placing them in a sealed container and storing in the fridge. You can put the bars back in the freezer for a few minutes first to speed the process up.
50 grams cacao butter
3 tablespoons raw honey*
1/3 cup cacao powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
In a glass bowl set over a pot of simmering water, gently melt the cacao butter. Once it's melted, remove it from the heat and whisk in the honey until fully incorporated (see above photo) and becomes a smooth golden colour and the consistency of soft butter. If you don't whisk it for long enough you risk separation.
Add the cacao powder, vanilla, and salt and whisk again until combined. Coat the bars before the chocolate hardens - you should have plenty of time if you freeze the bars before you start making the chocolate. If for some reason it becomes too solid to dip the bars into, just gently melt it again over the water. Don't get any water into the mix or the chocolate will seize.
You can also use a bar melted dark chocolate with a teaspoon of coconut oil in place of making your own chocolate if you're looking for a faster option, or one that doesn't melt as easily at room temperature.
• To make homemade coconut butter, blend unsweetened coconut (shredded or flaked) in a food processor for 7-10 minutes, or until you have butter. Scrape down the sides of the food processor as needed. For this recipe, 100 grams of coconut will give you the required amount, but depending on the size of your blender you might want to make a larger batch and keep the extra to eat on toast.
• You can use a small saucepan to make the chocolate, but only as a last resort. You can see that I did not use a double boiler here, but that's only because I didn't have a glass bowl. If you do make it in a pot watch it very carefully as cacao butter burns easily and remove it as soon as it's almost melted, stirring to melt any small pieces of the cacao that remain.
1. You may need to soften your coconut oil and butter over low heat so that they can be mixed in, depending on how cold your house is. If your honey is solid you can heat it slightly as well.
2. Honey can be replaced by a sticky sweetener like brown rice syrup if you don't eat honey. I'm not a big fan of agave or coconut blossom nectar because they're both very unsustainable, and maple syrup probably isn't sticky enough to work here.
3. Virgin coconut oil will help to bring out a more pronounced coconut flavour than refined oil will.
4. You can use maple syrup instead of honey for the chocolate recipe, especially if you've never made raw chocolate before as it is a little bit easier to mix with the cacao butter.