Posts Tagged ‘candy’

Chocolate Coconut Candy Bars

November 3, 2011

I always do this.  I always post recipes just a little bit after they are most relevant.  I posted cookie recipes immediately after the holidays last year, I wrote about a great football-watching snack exactly one week after the Superbowl, and now, here I am, posting a candy recipe just days after Halloween.  I can’t stop.

In my defense, though, no one ever gives out homemade candy to young trick-o-treaters.  In fact, if I remember correctly, kids are taught to never open those homemade treats (isn’t there some kind of rhyme for that?).  And you are probably so sick of the store-bought orange and black wrapped generic candies anyway that you’re probably ready to turn to something homemade.

Well, these are homemade and delicious, I must say.  This is unlike any candy I’ve ever made: nothing to boil, no candy thermometers, no risk of burning sugar…or burning yourself.  This is more like an amped up blondie that tastes, well, just like candy when it’s all said and done.  Spectacular, homemade candy.  Actually, spectacular, homemade candy that takes less than 30 minutes to make.  I would even go so far as to say that these are even time appropriate, maybe even a bit early – everyone makes candy during the holiday season!  I knew I’d come through eventually.

Chocolate Coconut Candy Bars (recipe from Saveur)

If you are like me, you will take one look at these ingredients and think that these bars are going to turn out way too sweet.  But then, if you think about it, candy bars usually don’t have much salt in them; they are 100% sweet and that works out just fine.  So, going again my instinct of adding just a 1/2 tsp of salt, I followed this recipe exactly.  And these were wonderful.

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1⁄2 cup melted butter
1⁄2 cup sugar
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1  14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp. creamy peanut butter
1 tbsp. shortening

1. Heat oven to 350°.   Stir together graham cracker crumbs, butter, and sugar in a medium bowl. Transfer crumb mixture to a 9″ × 13″ baking pan and press down with your fingers to form an even layer. Bake until just golden around the edges, 10–12 minutes. Set aside.

2. Put coconut and condensed milk into a bowl and stir well. Transfer the coconut mixture to the baking pan with the prepared crust and spread it out evenly over the hot crust. Return pan to oven and bake until golden brown around the edges, 15–17 minutes more. Set the pan aside to let cool completely.

3. Put chocolate chips, peanut butter, and shortening into a medium pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until completely smooth, 3–4 minutes. Pour chocolate mixture over coconut layer in the pan and use a rubber spatula to spread out to the edges to form a thin layer. Set aside in a cool spot to let cool completely.

4. After the candy has come to room temperature, stick the pan in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes.  This will make cutting the bars easier.  Cut the bars unto 48 squares.

Vanilla Almonds and Coconut Candies

March 22, 2011

Spring’s here!  Which leads to the obvious question of: Is it too early to start thinking of holiday treats?  I understand that the weather is getting warmer and that we have all been craving this time of year, but I recently made two yummy things that epitomizes holiday food gifts: small, portable, easy to make, delicious and holiday-flavorly.  Yes, that’s a word.

The genius, just-thought-of thing about holiday treats is that they also double as picnic foods!  Try them now, make them again in December and you have yourself a win/win.  The almonds are these sweet salty, crunchy goodness that smell amazing like those sold on the street.  No, really.  A-mazing.  And these coconut candies were so good that my mom actually split all of them in half and had them once a day just to make sure that they last longer.  And if that doesn’t convince you to make these treats, then you’re simply a Grinch.  So with that, I wish you and yours a very happy spring!

Vanilla Almonds (adapted from Kelsey’s Essentials)

Ingredients

  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whole almonds
  • 5/8 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Beat the egg white with the vanilla extract.  Add the almonds to the egg white mixture and stir to coat.  In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, salt, and cinnamon.  Mix into the almonds.  Spread the almonds in a single layer on a greased baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove and cool completely on wax paper.  Break into clusters and store.

Coconut Candies (adapted from NY Times)

  • 1 cup condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1.5 cups finely shredded unsweetened coconut

In a medium-size heavy saucepan, combine condensed milk, coconut milk, butter, honey, and 1/2 cup shredded coconut.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Reduce heat to low and whisk constantly until fudge-like, 15-20  minutes.  When mixture is ready, it will pull together.  Pour mixture into a bowl and let cool to room temperature; refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.  Scoop out teaspoonfuls of the mixture and use your hands to roll into balls, about 3/4-inch in diameter. Set aside on a baking sheet.   Place remaining 1 cup coconut in a wide bowl.  Roll 4 to 6 candies at a time in remaining coconut, covering surface completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days, or refrigerate for up to 1 month.  Serve chilled.

Chocolate Bark with Almond Brittle

December 8, 2010

I don’t make candy.  I just can’t handle it.  It’s intimidating.  You need thermometers and huge oven mitts and to know terms like, “soft ball stage.”  And then, to top things off, the candy needs to look pretty at the end.  Inviting, even.  Talk about pressure.  It’s really not for me.

Do I even need to say it?  Of course I tried to make candy!  With the holidays just around the corner, I just figured that some homemade chocolates around the house would be nice to share.  So I picked the most no-brainer recipe I could think of: chocolate bark.  This isn’t really supposed to be that hard.  Mix melted chocolates with nuts or crushed mints or dried fruit, and ta da!  You have homemade chocolate bark!

I prepared myself for what I thought would be an easy candy making experience: I chopped the nuts, prepared my chocolate for the melting process, and lined my pan with foil.  Then.  I finally read the recipe.  This wasn’t a normal bark recipe.  It was a bark with homemade almond brittle!   As in…homemade candy.  What.  Was this really necessary?!

Of course it was necessary!  Who wouldn’t want a smooth chocolate with a crunchy, salty almond brittle to break it up.  What a tasty little (impressive) treat that would be!  The lucky part for me (and for all of you homebakers-that-do-not-make-any-kind-of-candy-at-all), this recipe did not have temperatures to follow, or “stages” to watch out for.  The only instruction was to cook the sugar and water until it reached a shade of  “dark amber”.  Colors!  Awesome – totally doable.  So I followed the color directions and suddenly had almond brittle!  And then I mixed it with the melted chocolate (what I was set out to do in the first place!), and I had the best tasting chocolate bark…ever.  It was like two candies in one!  Double the success!

A few words that are not intended to scare you off from making this: You don’t have a lot of time!  You might think you do, but, really, you don’t.  Don’t step away when making the caramel for the brittle.  It looks all pale and sad for the longest time, and then bam!  It’s dark amber in no time.  It will fool you.  And then, the trickiest part of all: the spreading of the brittle in order for it to cool.  Really, to be honest, the brittle does not at all need to be spread to be brittle-like.  It crystallizes instantly.  And then it will become impossible to spread.  Be as speedy as possible and try to get the brittle as thin as you can, which, as it turns out, will make the chopping of the brittle a lot easier…which will make the the mixing with the melted chocolate a smoother process.  It all comes full circle at the end.  Which is when you get to enjoy delicious homemade candy!

Chocolate Bark with Almond Brittle (from Fine Cooking magazine)

The recipe says that after breaking the brittle to eventually put in the chocolate, you should filter out the smaller pieces and the “dust” that falls from cutting the brittle, because it will make the bark too sweet overall.  Although I thought that this was an unnecessary step, I did follow it, and was glad that I did.  First of all, the bark was just the right amount of sweet at the end.  And second of all, more importantly, the ensuing leftover “dust” would be an incredibly delightful and welcome addition to any ice cream or yogurt, I would imagine.

Ingredients

1 cup + 2 tbsp. granulated sugar

1/4 cup water

9 oz. Marcona almonds, coarsely chopped

1 lb. bittersweet chocolate

Method

1. Line a baking sheet with foil.  Place the sugar and water in a 2 quart heavy saucepan.  Swirl (do not stir!) to moisten the sugar.  Heat on high until the mixture starts boiling, stirring occasionally.  Keep boiling until the mixture turns a dark amber color.  Turn off the heat and mix in half of the almonds.  Quickly spread the mixture on to the baking sheet to 1/8 inch thickness.  Cool completely, to room temperature.  This mixture will be quite hot for some time.  Break or chop into bite size pieces, saving only the pieces, and filtering out the sugar dust.  Put aside.

2. Heat about 2 inches of water in a saucepan.  Chop chocolate and place in a glass bowl that is bigger than the saucepan, in order to create a double boiler.  As the water simmers, place the bowl on top of the saucepan, stirring occasionally until the chocolate is melted. Be sure that none of the water gets into the bowl with the chocolate.

3. Turn off heat and mix in reserved almonds and almond brittle.

4. Line a 9×13 pan with foil.  Pour chocolate mixture into prepared pan, making sure that the chocolate covers all the almond pieces.  Shake the pan to level the chocolate and place the refrigerator.  Cool for 45-60 minutes.  Take out to break into pieces, and then place back into refrigerator until ready to serve.