Can I spend just a second to discuss how much I love food that’s layered in pretty little jars and glasses?
It’s just way more fun. Something about a bunch of yummy ingredients with contrasting flavors and textures coming together in one dish is way more exciting than if you were to eat each thing separately. Although, if you were one of those kids that got freaked out about your peas touching your mashed potatoes than you may disagree with me on this. As much as I hate to say it, I don’t think we can work out as friends because there’s simply no way I’m backing down on my position here. Jar food is the best people!
It all has to be eaten with a specific, and more importantly, little spoon so that you can spend more time savoring each delicious bite. Oh, and another key component for the perfect parfait is a special dish or cup because, of course, that somehow makes it taste better, you know?
When I was younger I had a huge thing for eating out of the unique kitchen items that everyone else disliked or considered obsolete. For example, I used to have this little red bowl that had a lip all the way around the edge for catching drips and crumbs that I’m sure was designed for helping toddlers not make a mess. Then there was this skinny, metal, mickey mouse spoon I had that I may have been a little obsessed with. Even when I was clearly too big for said bowl and spoon though (try middle school age), I still loved using them because they were my special items and they were unlike any of the other generic ones in the cabinet. Now that I think about it this is so in tune with the individualistic streak in my personality that still gets me into trouble today. (Also, shhhh, don’t tell but I still like eating with undersized silverware and dishes.)
All right, so this recipe was inspired (obviously) by the classic candy bar, which ironically I didn’t start to like until I got older. In fact, I remember every year when my siblings and I opened trade in the very distinguished annual event known to kids everywhere (The Halloween Candy Exchange Market), the poor almond joys had a value of next to zilch because we all hated them. They’d go to Mom as payment for acting as judge in our bartering disputes, such as whether smarties were worth as much as bottle caps.
Anyway, these parfaits are fairly simple to make and what’s even better is that they are completely dairy free and vegan. I’m not gonna lie, these are kind of everything! The coconut cookie sticks are simple and have the perfect sugary crisp that helps them keep texture even when they are softened in the pudding. I used a brand of unsweetened dried coconut that is extra fine but I think larger shreds will work as well. Then you add a sprinkle of crunchy almonds and chocolate chunks along with your cookie crumbles for layers of sweet, sweet happiness. As for the pudding itself, it’s so creamy and silky smooth that I promise you won’t know it doesn’t have dairy. Plus the almond milk gives it a subtle nuttiness that is divine. Actually, that’s part of the reason I’m sharing these parfaits today, to tell you about this new product that I love!
I don’t always like to promote products here on the blog, but when I do it’s only the ones that I truly feel are worth it. That’s why when I was asked to tell you about DREAM Ultimate Almond I felt no hesitation because we use their regular almond milk daily so I knew this upgraded product wouldn’t disappoint and it didn’t. It’s extra rich and has way more flavor than your typical almond milk so if you’ve previously tried other almond milks and sworn them off for being bland than you should at least give it a try. You can find it at most grocery stores and it’s currently available at Whole Foods / Sprouts. You can also check out the new Dream website for a coupon and they’ve got some great recipe inspiration too.
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 3 1/2 cups almond milk
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 6 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut shreds
- 1 cup semi-sweet dark chocolate chunks or chips
- 2/3 cup raw almonds
- Whisk all ingredients, except vanilla extract, in a medium saucepan until completely smooth. Place over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil. Stir for 6 to 8 minutes or until it's thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and cool for about 20 minutes, then pour through a fine mesh strainer into an airtight container and place in fridge for at least 2 hours until completely cooled. (You can whisk in some water if it gets too thick once cooled.)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C) and line 1 or 2 baking trays with parchment. Combine sugar, salt, and coconut oil in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until combined. Add the milk and vanilla and mix until creamed. Mix in flour and coconut shreds just until the dough comes together.
- Divide the dough in half and roll out each half on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 1/2 x 4 inch sticks (or any desired shape) and place them about 1/4 an inch apart on prepared tray. Place in oven and bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes just until they are slightly browning on edges. Remove and cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.
- Once your pudding and cookies have cooled, layer desired jars or bowls with pudding, broken cookie pieces, chocolate, and almonds. If making ahead you can store parfaits in fridge until ready to serve. Use the extra cookies for dipping into pudding!