The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! We were challenged to make one chocolate candy that required tempering the chocolate, and one non-chocolate candy.
I love to make candy. During the holidays, I tend to go wild making everything from nut truffles to chocolate pecan pralines to brittle. And while I take care to melt my chocolate in a double boiler (well, actually, a stainless bowl set over a small saucepan with simmering water, but it does the job), I’ve never actually tempered chocolate. But after reading instructions in our Daring Bakers’ Challenge, I was sure I was up to the task. And since I’ve been craving coconut, I thought it was high time I try to recreate one of my favorite candy bars – a Mounds bar. I already had a lot of various candy molds, since I purchased them to make peanut butter cups (the desire to make candy extends to other members of the family too), so I put them to work.
I was worried I wouldn’t be able to temper the chocolate properly, as you’re supposed to bring down the chocolate to around 80 degrees F to get it to temper properly. It’s been a miserable 100+ degrees F here for over 60 days so far this summer. This means our house is hot too – many times, the kitchen is around 80 in the afternoon. However, I happen to have a marble slab, and so I snuck it into the freezer for a bit so I could be sure my chocolate would cool down as needed. Worked like a charm. In fact, the heat had no real bearing on the whole project, except that in spite of the chocolate being tempered, during the photo shoot, I still managed to get fingerprints on it. Whoops. They’re tasty enough though, that I hope I’m forgiven.
If not, there’s always peanut butter fudge. I chose to adapt the recipe that our hostesses chose to be dairy-free and refined sugar-free. I have some co-workers that are peanut butter fans, so I thought this would go over well at the office. (Or else I’ll be in trouble for bringing too many treats…we’ll have to see!) Even though I used coconut sugar in place of the brown sugar and powdered sugar called for in the recipe, it still was quite sweet – a truly rich treat for a peanut butter lover.
This was a wonderful challenge – as always, I am up for candy making. Now, it’s time to promptly get rid of this
evil, overly-tempting candy share the fruits of my labor before I indulge in any more though!
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Chocolate Coconut Candy (a.k.a. “Mounds” candy)
4 oz high-quality dark chocolate, chopped
2/3 c shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 c coconut milk
1 T coconut oil
2 T raw agave nectar
1 t coconut manna (optional, but gives an additional punch of coconut-y deliciousness)
pinch of salt
Prepare a double boiler. Once water is simmering, add chocolate to the top bowl/pot. Allow to melt and come to about 113-120 degrees F, stirring occasionally. Scrape chocolate onto a cool marble slap, and using a bench scraper, smooth out the chocolate and move it around the slab to help it cool. Once it’s about 80 degrees F, scrape the chocolate back into the double boiler. Allow to come to about 90 degrees F, stirring occasionally. Chocolate is now ready for the mold.
Using a small paintbrush, paint chocolate into the molds of your choice. Allow to dry. (I had to place the molds into the fridge for 10 minutes or so to set) Meanwhile, prepare the coconut filling by stirring together remaining ingredients in a small bowl. When your molds are ready, spoon a small amount into each mold, being careful not to overfill. Your filling shouldn’t come all the way to the top. Paint more chocolate on top of the filling, making sure you “seal” the edges and smooth it out. Allow to dry (or stick in fridge again for 10-15 minutes). When ready, turn molds over and carefully pop each chocolate from the mold.
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Fudge
1/2 c vegan buttery sticks
2 1/4 c coconut palm sugar
1/2 c coconut milk
3/4 c smooth peanut butter (natural, no sugar added)
1 t vanilla extract
3 1/2 c coconut palm sugar, powdered (you can find out how to powder coconut palm sugar at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free - I used tapioca starch instead of cornstarch)
Place buttery stick into a medium saucepan and melt it over medium heat. Add coconut palm sugar and coconut milk, stirring. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, then remove from heat. Mix in peanut butter and vanilla. Place powdered coconut palm sugar into a large mixing bowl. Pour hot peanut butter mixture over powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Pour fudge into an 8 by 8 inch pan. Chill until firm, about 1 hour. Cut into 1-inch squares.