Monday, May 24, 2010

Almond Joy of Cooking

Nice photobomb @hoverkitten!I love Almond Joys and wanted to try my hand at making candy, so I thought Food & Wine's Coconut Chocolate Candy Bars sounded great. There was no photo provided, but the recipe popped up as a staff favorite, so I thought I'd give it a try.

WARNING. Heed the following bits of advice before attempting these tricky treats yourself

1. Unsweetened coconut is hard to find. I found it at Gelson's after going to Ralph's, Bristol Farms, Pavillions & Trader Joe's.

2. You're gonna stir that coconut milk for more than 45 minutes. Nonstop. It can be hard to find too, but I found it in the Asian foods section of Ralph's.

So I started with two pots cooking, but wait to melt the chocolate. It takes less than 5 minutes to melt, while making the coconut filling takes about an hour.

The best part of making this recipe? Toasted coconut smells heavenly. Don't be tempted to buy the sweetened or it will taste WAY too sweet. This is just shredded coconut spread on a sheet, in the oven for 4 minutes and done. After making the devil's brew that is the coconut/coconut milk/corn syrup/butter concoction, I let it cool in the fridge. This is when you should melt the chocolate and spread a thick layer of it on a cookie sheet w/ wax paper. I patted the filling onto the cooled spread out dark chocolate, then drizzled the rest of the chocolate on top.
You can see I didn't make a thick enough base. It's top heavy, but it tastes like a yummy almond joy or Mounds I guess, since there aren't any Almonds in it! Sprinkling almond slices on top would not only make it prettier but tastier too. (It's so tasty too! Vitameatavegamin anyone?)

Here's the recipe with my notes in italics:

1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
One 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk, stirred
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
11 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped and melted


1.Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the shredded coconut on a baking sheet and toast until lightly golden, about 4 minutes. Let cool completely.

2.In a medium saucepan, combine the coconut milk with the sugar, corn syrup and 4 tablespoons of the butter. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until thick as jam, about 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and the toasted coconut. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.

3. Now begin melting the dark chocolate. I used a bag of dark chocolate chips. Cover a baking sheet with wax paper. Using an offset spatula, spread half (or more) of the melted chocolate on the wax paper in a 10-by-7-inch rectangle. Refrigerate until firm, about 10 minutes. Spread the coconut mixture over the chocolate and refrigerate until set, about 10 minutes. Spread the remaining melted chocolate over the coconut (and add almond slivers if you like while it's still wet) and refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes. Trim the edges of the rectangle, then cut into 40 squares. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Another link to the recipe

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