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It's true! These creamy little bark-like "crunchies" are seriously better than candy. No lie.

When this recipe was first published over 2 years ago it became an instant hit. Readers raved about the stuff. When I made it myself, I did too.

It is very simple and easy to make. The only really long part is waiting for the Coconut Cream Concentrate to warm up to a liquidy-ish state (see our video on how to do this) for proper measuring and mixing. After that, it's just a throw-it-all-together-and-refrigerate process. How much simpler can it get?

The first time I made this 2 years ago, the whole batch was gobbled up and then (it being Christmas and everything, with various other sweets lying around) was promptly forgotten. Now, at around the same time this recipe was first posted two years ago, we've finally gotten around to making another batch. At the first bite the taste of the salt turned me off, but on the second piece, I remembered why I liked this recipe so much. It's creamy, rich, versatile, easy, crunchy and low on sugar without sacrificing any taste. That is a nice thought considering how much one can overload on sugar this time of the year.

I like to cut down on the salt (not a big fan of the sweet and salty mix) and add a bit of vanilla extract. Chocolate is a great addition to this as well. Just melt and spread over the bark before chilling or drizzle. Use your imagination (this recipe will actually let you, it's next to impossible to mess it up), watch the video below for a step by step tutorial and mix up a batch to add to your Christmas cookie and candy plate. You won't regret it. I'm sure of it.

Better Than Candy Nut Crunchies Coconut recipe photo

Prepared by Sarah Shilhavy, Photo by Jeremiah Shilhavy

Better-Than-Candy Nut Crunchies

Process sugar in a food processor until very fine.

Spread nuts in a cookie sheet and toast very lightly in a low heated oven. Place Coconut Cream Concentrate jar in hot water to soften. In a medium sized bowl, beat desired amount of Coconut Cream, your choice of sweetener (see below), coconut oil, and salt with a mixer until creamy. Make sure the sugar and salt are mixed in well.

Fold the toasted nuts into the mixture and mix well with a large spoon until all nuts are well coated. Spread mixture evenly on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.

Sprinkle the coconut shreds or flakes toasted lightly if desired over the Nut Crunchies and place cookie sheet in the refrigerator.

When cold, break apart the Nut Crunchies into bite-sized pieces and store in covered containers in the refrigerator.

Note: all measurements are approximate and can be varied to suit your taste. It is pretty hard to mess these up.

Variations:

  • Use any nuts you prefer, and/or use stevia instead of sugar to taste.
  • Stir dried coconut toasted into the mixture before spreading out.
  • Add flavoring such as a tablespoon or two of lemon juice and some lemon zest for Lemon Nut Crunchies.
  • Melt some organic dark chocolate, and spread over the mixture before or instead of sprinkling on the coconut and refrigerating.
  • Stir bits of dried pineapple into the mixture for Pina Colada Nut Crunchies

Use your imagination!

Beware: They are addictive! But sooo healthy too. Enjoy!

Submitted by Carol, Palm Bay, FL

Thanks for stopping by!

Sarah

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Comments (Comment Moderation is enabled. Your comment will not appear until approved.)
The recipe looks good and I would like to make it. Just wanted to check as to whether Coconut cream concentrate is the same as "Cream of coconut". Also, should the dried coconut be sweetened or unsweetened? Thanks! :)
# Posted By Cyndi | 12/17/09 11:59 AM
Nope, Cream of Coconut is just a more concentrated form (higher fat content) of coconut milk. Coconut Cream Concentrate is actual ground up coconut meat (like peanut butter, only this is coconut). As for the dried coconut, I recommend unsweetened (see the hyperlink). If you make the recipe do let me know how it turned out for you. :)
# Posted By Sarah | 12/17/09 12:08 PM
I'm going to make this for New Year's Day party..........everything I have tried thus far has been beyond good!! I was a little dismayed with the coconut cream, but after finding how to re-mix it (that's so easy), I have been having a ball adding it to everything!!! It's delicious!!!!
# Posted By Connie | 12/30/09 1:09 PM
This recipe is awesome. My 16 year old daughter thought she was eating white chocolate. She began eating these "crunchies" with fresh raspberries. Absolutely delightful. I added 1 more tablespoon of sugar and vanilla. So healthy and good for you. Try this recipe ......excellent!!
# Posted By MaryJane | 1/8/10 9:20 PM
How many calories are in a batch? I would like to try this out it sounds delicious!
# Posted By Tasha | 1/23/10 9:58 PM
I think you may be missing the point of coconut oil based products. The calories don't really count. Coconut oil doens't seem to stick around (and since I have the "apple" shaped body, I know of that which I speak :)) I took coconut oil (Trop trad brand, of course) over the holidays, didn't change my diet and lost 15 lbs. By the way, I did make this recipe over New Year's Eve, and wow is it ever great!!! and easy!!! (I like that combo...great and easy)
# Posted By Connie | 1/24/10 12:52 PM
Has any one tried it made with the stevia, instead of sugar?
# Posted By Carolyn | 2/21/10 10:17 PM
Recipe fail for me. I followed exactly expect used honey for the sweetener. I could not get the mixture to get creamy. It was just a big gritty mess. Boo.... I really wanted it to work out.
# Posted By mary crow | 2/22/10 5:31 PM
Did you melt the Coconut Cream Concentrate down as shown in the video? A little bit of honey should work....but the sugar is really the best if you really want that "bark" like consistency.
# Posted By Sarah | 2/22/10 7:01 PM
I have made these numerous times. I love them. They are vey popular at social get togethers.Variations on ingredients (along with the nuts) are orange zest, dried blueberries, almond extract. I also add cashews for 3 different nuts. Lastly, for the sugar sensitive, I use agave and stevia for the sweetener. Take the melted coconut cream concentrate away from heat source before putting agave/stevia in. Otherwise, it turns gritty as mentioned above w/honey.
# Posted By Gelene | 3/1/10 6:02 PM
I made a version of this today and added cocoa powder, shredded coconut, pecans, almond butter and just a drizzle of Agave syrup. I melted the creme just like you said to but the minute I started adding ingredients, it sets up so fast, that I have a huge gritty bowl of stuff - no way you can pour it on a cookie sheet. I had to make it into balls, which is fine, but I would love to have it looks like yours. Any ideas?
# Posted By Alice | 3/14/10 10:39 PM
Hummm...that's strange. It shouldn't do that if the the Coconut Cream Concentrate was melted all the way down to a liquid. Were any of the ingredients cold? If so, then that's probably what caused it. Try warming some of the other ingredients next time, and at least keep everything at room temp. Like try warming the almond butter and melt the coconut oil down to a liquid, and do this all while the CCC is still warm from being melted down.
# Posted By Sarah | 3/15/10 12:08 PM
What I do when the ingredients start setting too fast I put my bowl in another bowl of warm water. This way the ingredients stay soft or melt depending on how warm the water is.
# Posted By carmen | 4/29/10 11:21 AM
Pretty good. I might up the sugar to 3 tbsp next time. I can see how this stuff would be addictive. Thanks for the recipe!
# Posted By Dakotah | 5/13/10 9:10 PM
hi....may i know if i need to refrigerate the coconut creme concentrate after opening??
# Posted By Kay | 5/31/10 2:00 AM
Kay: No, the Coconut Cream Concentrate does not need to be refrigerated. If you do, it'll be rock hard! :D
# Posted By Sarah | 5/31/10 12:14 PM
thanks Sarah! i just got my new coconut creme concentate, i definitely want to try this recipe! =)
# Posted By Kay | 6/2/10 3:09 AM
OMG I just made this recipe but instead of sugar I added equal amounts of Xylitol :) totally guilt free now! + I also added 1/2 tsp of keylime juice. My co-workers loved this, my Sister loved it, I frikin love it! Soooo good! Too bad I don't have 10 gallons of coconut cream concentrate :)
# Posted By Laura M | 6/25/10 6:44 PM
I just made this this morning. it's great! I think it's important to note that it won't be crispy like peanut brittle. It is soft it's the nuts that make it crunchy. I made sure everything was warm when I made it and followed the directions and it came out perfect. I imagine when you start substituting things like honey for the sugar it will change the texture considerably.
# Posted By Erin | 11/20/10 10:27 AM
i just received my coconut cream and want to make this so bad...I'm going to use coconut sugar instead of cane sugar...can't believe they don't sell it here. I just discovered it and I use it in everything...not as sweet as sugar but has a great taste.
# Posted By Mell | 12/2/10 10:19 AM
Mell, we don't sell it because most coconut sugar comes from the sap of the flower and prevents the coconut from growing, and is therefore not sustainable. Coconuts should not be sacrificed for the sugar that nourishes them. We are looking for a sustainable product that can be used instead, but our standards are very high.
# Posted By Brian | 12/2/10 10:27 AM
wow...i had no idea. i was just glad to find a sweetener to replace cane sugar that was low on the glymetric scale. maybe i'll try xylitol
# Posted By Mell | 12/2/10 10:38 AM
Mary & Alice, et.al. I just found tonight that both honey & maple syrup (and I am betting agave would too) make the coconut cream "seize" just like melted chocolate will do if any water gets in it. It makes it a gritty mess. The coconut cream was really creamy until I added in the maple syrup, & then tried a second batch with honey. Both made a seized gritty mess. Oh well.
# Posted By Thia | 12/17/10 10:38 PM
I have made this 3 times now and I really like it and so does my family. Thank you for a yummy recipe.
# Posted By Mary | 12/21/10 7:45 PM
I have made this recipe many, many times and absolutely love it as does anyone that I give some too. I make a couple of modifications to the recipe by roasting my nuts before hand and adding 1 t of vanilla (because I like the taste of vanilla). A word of warning, the vanilla typically causes the grainy "seizing" described in some of the other comments but I have found that once poured into the pan, it will set as normal (i.e. the graininess goes away and the batch is just as tasty and wonderful as ever)....yum, yum!!
# Posted By Diana | 1/24/11 1:20 PM
I made this today and LOVE it. I used 3 T of xylitol and a mixture of toasted almonds and pecans. It turned out great. The only problem I had was getting the CCC to stir up. After putting steaming water in it several times, I put it in the microwave on cooklevel 3 for 40 seconds and it was soft enough to mix. Hope that wasn't damaging to it.
# Posted By Carolyn | 8/6/11 10:55 PM
I have a question about traveling with coconut oil. I am going on vacation to a beach and I will be flying. I would like to take some oil with me because I have heard it is good for sunburns or to prevent burns. Besides the jar it comes in, what can I put the oil in and not have it spill??
# Posted By Carolyn | 8/6/11 10:59 PM
this failed for me! it was a liquid mess that never hardened in the fridge. i used light coconut milk, coconut oil, agave syrup, sugar, pistachio nuts, and a bit of salt and vanilla. what went wrong?
# Posted By grace | 2/14/12 10:56 PM
The recipe calls for Coconut Cream Concentrate, not coconut milk. It's a completely different product than coconut milk. Click on the hyperlink to learn more.
# Posted By Sarah:) | 2/16/12 12:36 AM
I followed the recipe, but It's not hardening. :-( Any ideas?
# Posted By Dione | 9/30/12 8:51 PM
Did you use CCC and put it in the freezer?
# Posted By Sarah | 10/1/12 10:33 AM
Does the finished product have to be kept cold? I make what I call "chocolate delight" with cocoa, coconut oil and stevia, put it in the freezer to set up, but have to eat it quickly as it will melt back to coconut oil. Does the coconut cream concentrate keep that from happening?
# Posted By Marilyn | 10/10/12 1:57 PM
Wondering about the amount of nuts... is it 1 cup pecans and 1 cup almonds? or 2 cups of each?
# Posted By Rebecca G. | 12/6/12 6:41 PM
Rebecca G.: One cup of each.
# Posted By Sarah | 12/7/12 10:54 AM
Love this recipe!! It was so easy and so good that my imagination is running wild. Next up is one without nuts. I think I'll use chow mein noodles and pumpkin seeds with dried cranberries on top. Thank you for the inspiration!!
# Posted By Ann | 12/19/12 7:53 PM
I recently bought coconut butter and was very happy to find that video about melting it !!! cuz I thought it looked just like my coconut oil on top :)
Any "candy" I've made with coconut oil has to stay in the fridge, and melts all over my kids' hands in about 5 seconds.
Does this final product have to be kept in fridge?
Does the candy melt to the touch or become too soft to handle when left at room temp? just wondering how messy an ordeal it is when eating or if you took it to a potluck or something in a candy dish.
# Posted By Trisha | 2/4/13 2:38 PM
I just received my first jar of CCC and decided to make this recipe first. Is the CCC supposed to have a "gritty" texture? It's like there is coconut flour mixed in with coconut oil. I was expecting it to be "creamy". I love all the recipes listed on the site.
# Posted By Debbie | 5/22/13 10:45 PM

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