August 19, 2010
Growing up, my grandmother was lovingly known for, among many other things, her candy bar stash. After dinner my brothers and I could always count on our pick of the loot, which usually included an assortment of full size Kit-Kats, Three Musketeers, Chunky Bars, Mr. Goodbars, Raisinettes and Almond Joys. I think we were always a little awed by the fact that one person could have such an assortment of candy at any given time. We were probably also stunned by her ability to resist consuming it all in one day. I mean, hello! there’s like 20 candy bars in there! But to be honest, I don’t remember Grandma eating a candy bar. I don’t think it was really her thing, and I can say with a fair amount of certainty that she got much more pleasure out of giving them away.
For a while I wanted nothing to do with nuts or any other distraction crowding my chocolate, so Three Musketeers was my go-to for a long time. Then I matured and, you know, realized nuts were pretty much made to be mixed with chocolate, so Chunky Bars became my pick of choice (they inspired this recipe, posted back in January), followed by Raisinettes. Then I warmed up to Almond Joys. There was something so enticing about that creamy coconut filling topped with a crunchy almond, covered in silky smooth milk chocolate. The combination of coconut and chocolate has since been a favorite, and I wondered for a long time about how difficult it would be to recreate that candy. After glancing at the back of an Almond Joy wrapper and scanning the hefty list of ingredients, many of which I wasn’t too fond, it became my mission. And so I came up with what I consider to be a “healthier” version containing a mere five ingredients. Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, caramel color and sodium metabisulfite need not apply.
- ¾ cup dry unsweetened flaked coconut
- ¾ cup sweetened flaked coconut
- 3 T light corn syrup*
- Whole unsalted roasted almonds (about 12)
- 6 oz bittersweet (60% cocoa) chocolate, coarsely chopped
In a medium bowl, combine unsweetened and sweetened coconut. Stir in light corn syrup and mix to combine (tip: use your hands to ensure even mixing). If mixture appears dry (or has trouble sticking together) add additional corn syrup, 1 tsp at a time. Shape coconut mixture into 1-inch balls, then flatten to form ½ inch x 1 ½ inch logs. Transfer to a parchment or waxed paper lined tray. Top each log with one whole almond, pressing gently into the center to adhere. Loosely cover tray with foil and freeze logs for 20-30 minutes.
In the meantime, melt chocolate over a double boiler. Using two spoons, carefully dip each log in the melted chocolate, being sure to cover completely. Transfer to a parchment paper lined tray. Once all logs have been covered, transfer tray to refrigerator. Allow the candies to chill at least 30 minutes (or until chocolate hardens). Transfer candies to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week (if they last that long).
Makes 1 dozen.
*NOT the same as high fructose corn syrup, a modified corn syrup used in commercial food products.