Bring Joy Coconut Chocolate Candies 18.000

Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post; food styling by Bonnie S. Benwick/The Washington Post

Apr 1, 2019

Here, a familiar joyful candy is rendered easy enough to get the kids involved. Its no-bake filling is less sweet than the store-bought version and the chocolate coating does not need tempering. Placed on the prettiest plate, they are a delightful ending to a springtime meal.

You’ll need a 9-by-4 1/2-inch baking dish or loaf pan. The filling may be chopped by hand, but it’s easier to achieve the sublime texture with either a high-speed blender or full-size food processor, not a mini-processor.

Make Ahead: The filling mixture needs to be refrigerated for 1 hour. The finished candies need to be refrigerated for at least 1 hour before serving, and can be kept cold between layers of wax paper in an airtight container (ideally, a cookie tin) for up to 2 weeks.

Where to Buy: Organic, unsweetened coconut flakes are widely available at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and MOM’s, as well as other outlets.


Servings:
18

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 18 servings; makes 1 1/2-inch squares

Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup hickory-smoked almonds
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/3 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons shortening or unsalted butter
  • Flaked salt, for decorating

Directions

Line a 9-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan with aluminum foil, letting excess hang over the short sides; it will be used to lift the candies from the pan.

Use a food processor or a high-speed blender to whir the coconut flakes until chopped but not pulverized. Work slowly, checking frequently. The chopped coconut should yield about 1 1/4 cups; transfer to a mixing bowl.

Grind the almonds until finely chopped. Reserve 1 tablespoon for decorating, then add the rest to the coconut. Add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla extract to the almond-and-coconut mixture, stirring to incorporate.

Pour the condensed milk into the coconut mixture and use your hands to combine the ingredients until stiff. If this filling mixture is not cohesive, very judiciously add more condensed milk, 1 teaspoon at a time. Knead and press firmly, pushing the mixture away from you, folding, and repeating until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Press the filling into the prepared pan, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Place parchment paper on a wire rack. Lift the foil holding the block of filling and unmold it onto a cutting board, top side down. Score the filling into 18 squares of equal size (3 across, 6 down). Use a sharp chef's knife to cut the chilled filling; you might have a little trim, which is your cook's snack. Place the filling squares on the parchment paper and let them dry out a bit while you melt the chocolate. (This drying step will help the chocolate adhere more readily.)

Fill a small saucepan with about 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat so the water is barely bubbling at the edges. Place half of the chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl that fits over the pan without its bottom touching the water), creating a double boiler. Melt the chocolate, whisking until smooth. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of the shortening or butter until melted; take the bowl off the heat.

Working with one piece at a time, dip a cold filling square into the chocolate, turning it over and over to coat completely, and then transfer it to the parchment-lined rack. (I use a table fork and a soup spoon, lifting with the fork while spooning the chocolate over the top.) Let the chocolate fall back into the bowl through the tines of the fork, and then gently slide the candy onto the parchment.

After coating 9 candies, repeat the process, melting the remaining chocolate with the remaining shortening or butter, and then coating the remaining candies. (There may be leftover chocolate; use it to coat pretzel rods, dried apricots or Saltines.)

Sprinkle the top of the candies with the reserved chopped almonds and a small pinch of flaked salt.

Before eating, refrigerate the candies, uncovered, for about 1 hour, until the chocolate is firm and cold.

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Recipe Source

From Bring It! columnist Cathy Barrow.

Tested by Cathy Barrow.

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