Almond Joy Cookies

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Almond Joy Cookies start with a brownie cookie base that gets loaded up with creamy coconut frosting, a roasted almond, and a drizzle of chocolate — what’s not to love?!

Love Almond Joys? Us too! So we channeled the flavors from that candy bar into one of our favorite breakfasts — give these Almond Joy Overnight Oats a try next!

Up close overhead image of an Almond Joy Cookie

The Best Almond Joy Cookies

My husband’s favorite candy bar is an Almond Joy, so naturally, I had to channel the elements of that candy bar into a cookie recipe! (Almond Joy is a trademarked brand of candy bar sold by Hershey.)

And these cookies turned out even better than I imagined. They start with a thick, chewy, and deeply chocolatey cookie that is ridiculously soft and chewy. We load the cookie up with a light and fluffy coconut frosting that is fully loaded with soft and sweetened coconut. Then we press in a roasted almond and drizzle the whole of the cookie with melted chocolate — do cookies even get better than this?!

Yes, these cookies are a project to make, but overall each element is fairly simple to execute and the result is beautiful bakery-style cookies that taste incredible. Dare I say, even better than the candy bar that inspired them!

Process shots-- images of the cream cheese and butter being whipped together, then the vanilla and egg being added

What Are The Ingredients In Almond Joy Candy Bars?

The candy bars consist of a coconut-based center, and then they’re topped with one or two almonds and coated in a layer of milk chocolate.

So for these Almond Joy Cookies, we’re starting with a milk chocolate cookie base, filling it with a coconut center (coconut frosting), adding an almond, and topping it with another layer of milk chocolate. It’s the perfect conversion from a candy bar to a cookie! 🙂 

QUICK TIP

Coconut comes in many different forms, but the most common are shredded and desiccated coconut. Desiccated is ground coconut–it’s more finely chopped than shredded. And shredded coconut comes in sweetened and unsweetened varieties.

Process shots of Almond Joy Cookies-- images of the cake and pudding mix being added to the dough

Let’s Chat Brownie Mix

Brownie mix: I have tested these cookies with several different brownie mixes and taste testers agreed the Betty Crocker® Delights Brownie Mix (Supreme Chocolate Chunk) was the absolute best (Not sponsored, just sharing taste test results). Whatever brownie mix you opt to use, check to verify that the ounces (18 ounces) and/or grams (510) are congruent with the recipe in order for these cookies to turn out right.

What Pudding Mix To Use

While it would be nice if any boxed pudding worked in these Almond Joy Cookies, this part of the recipe is very specific.

We’re looking to use chocolate instant pudding mix and not the cook-and-serve type. We also want to make sure the pudding mix is not sugar-free or reduced-calorie — those varieties won’t work the same.

The other thing to keep an eye out for is the pudding box size. There are typically two sizes — a larger and a smaller one. We want to get the small 3.9-ounce (110g) box.

When using the pudding mix in these cookies, use the dry mix — don’t prepare it according to package directions.

Process shots-- images of the dough being rolled out and baked and the centers being pressed in

Remaining Almond Joy Cookie Ingredients

Beyond the brownie mix and pudding mix that were discussed above, here are the remaining base cookie ingredients, plus a few notes:

  • Butter: I recommend unsalted butter since brownie mix and pudding mix both have salt in them– and you don’t want salty cookies. Room temperature or slightly softened butter is best for these cookies.
  • Cream cheese: For optimal flavor and thickness, I recommend full-fat brick-style cream cheese. Avoid Neufchâtel or reduced-fat cream cheese.
  • Large egg
  • Vanilla extract: Vanilla adds both flavor and vibrancy to the cookies, but isn’t entirely necessary. If you don’t have it, feel free to leave it out.
  • Flour: Since we aren’t adding chocolate chips to the dough, we need the flour to slightly thicken the dough so it isn’t too wet.

Process shots of the Almond Joy Cookies-- images of the frosting being whipped together

Coconut Frosting

The frosting that fills the thumbprint in these Almond Joy Cookies is sweet and fully loaded with coconut! Below are a few notes:

  • Set out the butter about an hour before baking to get it to room temperature. If the butter is cold, it won’t combine smoothly with the shortening. Here are some tips for how to bring the butter to room temperature quickly.
  • Add coconut extract gradually. Not all coconut extracts are made the same, so start with a little and add slowly, remembering it does intensify after sitting.
  • Use sweetened coconut flakes. There are a lot of varieties of coconut products in the stores these days. The most important thing to look for is that you are getting sweetened instead of unsweetened flakes– the frosting won’t be sweet enough otherwise. Also, be sure to get flakes– not desiccated coconut (dried and shredded), coconut flour, or coconut in a different form.
  • Add milk slowly. The milk ensures the frosting is not too stiff, but too much milk and the frosting won’t have the right consistency. Add very slowly until the frosting is a perfect consistency — soft, but sturdy.
  • Use all the frosting. While the thumbprint diameter isn’t huge, be sure to add enough frosting to thoroughly fill each cookie which will ensure enough frosting in each bite. We use all of the frosting between the cookies so there shouldn’t be any leftovers!

Process shots of Almond Joy Cookies--images of the frosting filling the centers and coconut being added

The Finishing Touches on Almond Joy Cookies

Now that we’ve covered the cookies and the frosting, it’s all about the finishing touches.

  • Almonds. We love to get dry roasted and lightly salted almonds to put in these cookies — more flavor, no additional work! It may sound like overkill, but we made these once with chocolate-covered almonds and they were incredible!
  • Chocolate drizzle. After the almond is secured on the frosting, we drizzle the cookies with melted chocolate. We like to use milk chocolate (like the candy bar), but if you’re worried about sweetness use semi-sweet or dark chocolate. Use either a baking bar, chocolate melting wafers, or good quality chocolate chips for best results.

Process shots-- images of the almonds being placed in the center and chocolate being drizzled over everything

Up close overhead image of an almond joy cookies ready to be eaten

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Almond Joy Cookies

5 from 3 votes
Almond Joy Cookies start with a brownie cookie base that gets loaded up with creamy coconut frosting, a roasted almond, and a drizzle of chocolate -- what's not to love?!
Print Recipe

Almond Joy Cookies

5 from 3 votes
Almond Joy Cookies start with a brownie cookie base that gets loaded up with creamy coconut frosting, a roasted almond, and a drizzle of chocolate -- what's not to love?!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword almond joy cookies
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chilling Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 22 -24 cookies (depending on brownie mix)
Calories 280kcal
Author Chelsea
Cost $7.96

Ingredients

Cookies

  • 4 oz. (113g) cream cheese full-fat, brick-style
  • 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup; 113g) unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 package (3.9 oz.; 110g) instant chocolate pudding & pie filling mix, dry
  • 1/4 cup (38g) white flour
  • 1 package (18 oz.; 510g) fudge brownie mix (we like Betty Crocker Delights Brownie Mix, Supreme Chocolate Chunk best!)

Coconut Frosting

  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup; 56g) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (50g) vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon coconut extract, optional (Note 1)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (180g) powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk (coconut milk if you have some, if not dairy works great!)
  • 1-1/2 cups (100g) sweetened shredded coconut (Note 2)

Finish them off

  • 20-24 whole almonds (Note 3)
  • 1/2 cup (90g) milk chocolate melting wafers, baking bar, or high quality chips (Note 4)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut or vegetable oil

Instructions

Cookies

  • PREP: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone liner and set aside. Bring the cream cheese and butter to room temperature by either leaving out for 1 hour or by microwaving the (unwrapped) cream cheese in increments of 5-10 seconds until soft and then separately microwaving the butter for 5 seconds, flipping to the other side, and microwaving for another 5 seconds. Be careful to not melt or overly soften either ingredient -- we want them both at room temperature. (If either get too soft or melty, you'll need to chill the dough for about an hour.)
  • CREAM BUTTER: In a large bowl fitted to a stand mixer, or using a hand mixer, cream together the cream cheese and butter until completely smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Beat until smooth and creamy.
  • DRY INGREDIENTS: Add in the dry pudding mix, flour, and brownie mix (make sure this mix is 18 ounces!). Beat to combine. (The dough will be extremely thick and takes a while to get a dough to form. This is intended. Just keep mixing and it will all come together, even though it seems like it won't.) Cover the dough tightly and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • FORM DOUGH BALLS: Measure each cookie dough ball to be a full, packed 2 tablespoons of dough (40 grams). Roll dough into a ball and slightly flatten to a wide disc shape. You should get about 22-24 cookies from this batter. Place 6-8 cookies on the prepared cookie sheet, giving cookies ample room to spread.
  • BAKE: Bake for 9-13 minutes. Slightly under-baking these cookies gives them an awesome taste and texture like ultra fudge-y brownies so err on the side of slightly under-baking.
  • INDENT: When the cookies come out of the oven, press the back of a 1-teaspoon measuring spoon into the center of each cookie. Let cookies stand on the baking sheet for 5 minutes; then remove to a cooling rack to allow cookies to fully cool.

Frosting

  • BEAT: In a large bowl, beat together the room-temperature butter and shortening until completely smooth. Beat in the extracts, a pinch of salt, and powdered sugar until smooth. Add coconut and beat to combine. Add the milk, starting with less (you can always add more), and mix to get a smooth and thick (not stiff, but not floppy/wet) consistency.

Finish them off

  • ADD FROSTING AND ALMOND: Transfer the frosting into a resealable plastic bag and seal without air. Cut off the top of the bag (to get a 1-inch diameter) and pipe the frosting to overfill the indent of each (completely cooled) cookie. All of the frosting should get used in these cookies -- frost an equal amount in each one. Press an almond into the frosting in the center of each of the cookies.
  • CHOCOLATE DRIZZLE: In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate and the oil. Microwave in bursts of 15 seconds, stirring in between each burst for 10 seconds until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Transfer the melted chocolate into a plastic bag and cut off the very tip. Pipe that melted chocolate generously over the top of the cookies. Allow to set.
  • STORAGE: Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days; after that they lose texture. Frosted/decorated cookies don't freeze and thaw well, but you can freeze the unbaked brownie cookie base for up to 3 months. No need to thaw just add 1-3 minutes to the bake time!

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Coconut extract: Not all coconut extracts are made the same, so start with a little and add slowly, remembering it does intensify after sitting. We use and love McCormick® coconut extract (found near vanilla and other baking extracts in the store). If you don't have coconut extract, the cookies are still tasty without it-- not worth a separate trip to the store!
Note 2: Coconut: Use sweetened coconut flakes (1-1/2 cups is 3-1/2 oz.). There are a lot of varieties of coconut products in the stores these days. The most important thing to look for is that you are getting sweetened instead of unsweetened flakes– the frosting won’t be sweet enough otherwise. Also, be sure to get flakes– not desiccated coconut (dried and shredded), coconut flour, or coconut in a different form.
Note 3: Almonds: We love to get dry roasted and lightly salted almonds to put in these cookies -- more flavor, no additional work! It may sound like overkill, but we made these once with chocolate-covered almonds and they were incredible!
Note 4: Chocolate drizzle: We like to use milk chocolate (like what's used on the candy bar), but if you're worried about sweetness use semi-sweet or dark chocolate. Use either a baking bar, chocolate melting wafers, or good-quality chocolate chips for best results.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 280kcal | Carbohydrates: 34.3g | Protein: 2.4g | Fat: 15.2g | Cholesterol: 27.8mg | Sodium: 247.6mg | Fiber: 0.8g | Sugar: 26g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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16 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made these tonight for a family gathering. They were amazing! I can’t wait to make them again. They’re perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing! Sooo many compliments. Thanks for sharing.

  2. These look amazing!! How long do they stay good for? I’m hesitant to bake them too far before Christmas if they don’t hold up.

  3. Planning to make these for a cookie table this weekend! Can you replace the shortening in the coconut layer with butter?

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