by Stephanie Zonis
3 to 3-1/2 dozen candies
Many candy recipes tend to be complex, and I know people shy away from making them if they don't own a candy thermometer. By contrast, the centers for these aren't even cooked; the only "cooking" involves melting the butter and corn syrup. Once made, the mixture for the centers must chill for at least several hours (overnight is fine, too).
The type of chocolate in the coating can be adjusted to suit your preference. If you'd prefer an all-milk or all-dark coating, you can adjust the recipe accordingly. Whatever you use, make sure it is of good quality and very finely chopped. If you use milk chocolate, be aware that it can be stubborn about melting (even good-quality milk chocolate). If small lumps of milk chocolate remain in your coating mixture, simply turn it into the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, and process just until the coating is smooth.
The finished candies will keep in the fridge for at least 10 days, if stored airtight, and they freeze well (defrost in refrigerator, still in wrappings). These make a nice holiday gift for a coconut-lover.
3-1/3 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
1-3/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup instant nonfat dry milk powder
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into bits
2 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. pure almond extract
5 ounces good-quality milk chocolate, very finely chopped
3 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, very finely chopped
1 Tbsp. solid vegetable shortening
Few tablespoons sweetened, shredded coconut
Place sweetened coconut shreds in the work bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Process at highest speed in 2 or 3 "bursts" of about 10 seconds each, just until coconut shreds are finely chopped. Chopping the coconut shreds this way makes the centers easier to work with and the bonbons easier to eat. Place coconut in medium heatproof bowl.
Combine sifted confectioners' sugar and nonfat dry milk powder in small bowl. With spoon, mix well. Set aside.
In 1 quart pot, combine butter, water, and corn syrup. Place over low heat; stir often until butter melts. Remove from heat. Gradually, in 3 or 4 additions, add confectioners' sugar mixture, stirring in well. Add vanilla and almond extract with last addition. Mixture may appear to have small lumps—OK.
Pour mixture over coconut. With large spoon, mix very thoroughly. If desired, transfer to smaller bowl. Chill at least 3 hours, covering tightly when cold. During the chilling time, chop chocolate(s) for the coating; place in small heatproof bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
To form centers, line a baking sheet with a doubled length of wax paper and place it near your sink. Using a teaspoon or 1 inch diameter cookie scoop, form balls of the coconut mixture about 1 inch in diameter. Roll between your palms into smooth, round balls, then place onto wax-paper-lined baking sheet, pressing down slightly on sides to give the balls a flat bottom. The coconut mixture will be sticky, even after chilling, so keep your hands damp (not wet) and re-moisten them frequently. Allow centers to stand at room temperature while you prepare the coating.
Add shortening to chopped chocolate(s). Place bowl of chocolate over hot water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl). Stir frequently until most of chocolate has melted. Remove from heat and hot water; dry bowl bottom and sides well. Stir chocolate mixture until melted and smooth. Allow to cool until just slightly warm, stirring occasionally. While chocolate cools, line a baking sheet with foil, shiny side up, or wax paper. When chocolate is just slightly warm, turn into a small heatproof bowl; ideally, the bowl will be on the narrow and deep side rather than flat and shallow.
Pick up one or two centers and place them into the melted chocolate. With a dinner fork (longer tines are better than shorter ones here), scoop up one center at a time, flat bottoms on fork tines. Allow excess chocolate coating to drip back into bowl; gently pull fork across edge of bowl to remove excess chocolate from bottom of center. Gently maneuver coated center onto baking sheet. Repeat with other centers. After dipping every four centers, before coating sets, place a small pinch of the additional coconut on top of each candy for garnish. If you notice a large pool of melted chocolate at the base of the candies, your chocolate is too warm or you're not scraping off enough excess coating from the centers.
While you're working with it, the chocolate will cool. If it becomes too thick to work with easily, place the bowl of coating over hot water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl), and stir frequently just until warm and melted again.
When all centers have been dipped and garnished, refrigerate until coating is set. Using a piece of paper towel, remove candies from baking sheet and place into airtight container. Store in refrigerator for up to 10 days.
To serve, bring to room temperature, covered, before serving.
Copyright © 2000 Francesca Chocolate Productions. All Rights Reserved.
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This page created 2000 and modified November 2006.
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