DARK CHOCOLATE-DIPPED ALMOND COCONUT BARS
The message inside the cover of the new "Hand-Crafted Candy Bars" by Susie Norris and Susan Heeger says it all: "Be happy. Eat candy." The former pastry chef and the newspaper feature writer help you remake the favorite candy bars of your youth. I tested these Almond Joy-inspired ones and they are absolutely delicious.
1 cup whole almonds
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 batch tempered dark chocolate (follows)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, for decoration
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Place the almonds on 1 baking sheet and bake 10 to 15 minutes, until they are aromatic and lightly brown.
In a medium bowl, combine the powdered sugar and cream with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until you have a paste. Stir in the coconut and salt. Shape into 2- inch, firmly packed logs, each with a slightly flattened top; put the logs on the second baking sheet. Put 2 almonds on top of each log and push them gently but firmly in the coconut mixture. Refrigerate about 20 minutes.
Remove logs from refrigerator. Have tempered chocolate at 90 degrees. Dip each log into the chocolate. Use two dinner forks or chocolate dipping forks to fish out the log. Shake the logs carefully with the forks until excess chocolate drips off, then slide them onto the baking sheet originally used to toast the nuts, after brushing it off or relining with parchment paper. Using a sifter or tea strainer, dust each bar with a little cocoa powder while the chocolate is still moist, Let the chocolate set at room temperature or refrigerate about 10 minutes. Once the chocolate sets, serve the bars at room temperature. Bars can be stored in an airtight container, plastic bag or wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature up to 3 days or in the refrigerator about 2 weeks, or in the freezer about 2 months.
Makes about 16 bars.
The former pastry chef and the newspaper feature writer help you remake the favorite candy bars of your youth.
TEMPERED DARK CHOCOLATE
3 cups ice
3 cups chopped high-quality dark chocolate
Put the ice in a large bowl and set aside.
Reserved a handful of the chopped chocolate, and melt the rest gently in a stainless steel bowl set over simmering water until it reaches 115 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove the bowl from the heat. Wipe the bottom of the bowl with a dry cloth to prevent water from splashing onto the work surface.
Sprinkle reserved chocolate into melted chocolate and stir. Cool chocolate by placing over the bowl of ice for a few seconds at a time, removing it, stirring until smooth, and repeating until the temperature drops to 82 degrees.
Heat the chocolate again by placing the chocolate bowl back over the simmering water for 30 seconds to 1 minute at a time. Once its temperature rises to 90 degrees the chocolate is ready to use.
A note from the authors: "It's important to keep tempered chocolate at 90 degrees. But as we begin to dip our candy bars in a bowl of tempered chocolate, the chocolate cools. When this happens, set the bowl of chocolate over a pan of hot water for about 30 seconds at a time, until it returns to the 90 degree mark. And be careful not to overheat your chocolate because all the stable crystals will melt and you will have to start over. It shouldn't rise above 91 degrees."
-- "Hand-Crafted Candy Bars" by Susie Norris and Susan Heeger (Chronicle, 2013, $24.95)