Chanukah is just around the corner. Luckily this year it falls later on in December (some years it hits mere days after Thanksgiving), which gives me a bit of time to start getting elbow-deep in chocolate.
Um ... isn't Chanukah food traditionally of the fried persuasion? Well, Dear Reader, it usually is. But I don't have the energy or equipment to mass-produce the amount of fried treats necessary to supply theHubby's bestest clients. Plus fried foods taste much better fresh; cold or reheated sufganiyot (fried dough balls filled with jelly or some other sugary substance) just don't quite make it. Unless you are in college and it's 2am. So I instead get elbow-deep in chocolate and other sugary confections over the course of several weeks. Then lovingly place the candy in boxes and on trays, carefully wrapping everything in ribbons and tying on bows. Then theHubby hand-delivers it all and gets all the compliments.
Over the next week or two I will be posting the recipes for this year's creations. I try not to make the same ones every year. Some get passed over (sorry, wrong holiday) so as not to bore
Others, such as Mounds Wannabees, are requested year after year. Because even non-coconut lovers like them. I used to follow a complex recipe with many ingredients, but last year I tripped over the one below over from Chow and embraced it with both (chocolate-covered) arms. It uses less ingredients and doesn't even need an electric mixer to whip up. It's really an Almond Joy clone, but I prefer them naked (of almonds, not clothes).
Since I can't seem to get the hang of tempering, the process of heating, cooling and heating the chocolate again to specific temperatures so that it will stay firm at room temperature, I cheat by using (chocolate snobs, now's the time to cover your eyes) melting candy, which solidifies all by itself, or plain ol' chocolate chips mixed with a little Crisco, depending upon the recipe and whether or not I run out of a particular type of chocolate.
You can use a standard fork to dip the bars into chocolate. I prefer to (TIP ALERT!) take a disposable fork and remove the inner 2 tines to create an easier-to-use dipping fork.
Based on chow.com
Yield: 50-60 mounds bars
1 (14 oz.) bag shredded sweetened coconut
8 1/2 Tbl. light corn syrup
1 (12-14 oz.) bag melting chocolate (dark or milk), divided
Line a large baking sheet with wax paper and set aside.
Add coconut and corn syrup to a food processor.
Pulse 8-10 times, or until corn syrup is evenly distributed and mixture clumps up.
Wet hands with cold water, then squeeze and shape a heaping teaspoon of coconut mixture into a compacted rounded-edge rectangle. You want it a little smaller than a normal-sized bar ... it will be larger after coating with chocolate. Continue to wet hands as necessary when coconut starts to stick to you instead of itself.
Set coconut bars on the baking sheet in a single layer (do not let them touch) and place in the fridge until firm, at least 10 minutes.
Pour 1/2 of the bag of chocolate into microwave-safe 1-quart bowl. Microwave at high power to 1 minute. Stir, then microcook again for 30 seconds. If necessary, microcook for an additional 30 seconds until chocolate is completely melted.
Remove coconut bars from fridge. With a dipping fork, dip a bar into chocolate, turning bar as necessary to make sure it is completely enrobed.
Lift bar up and tap fork several times on inner edge of bowl to allow excess chocolate to drip off.
Carefully slide bar off fork onto baking sheet. If chocolate starts to harden, reheat in microwave for 20 seconds, then stir and continue. After coating half the bars, return baking sheet to fridge to allow coating to harden. Eat or discard remaining chocolate (it probably has loose coconut mixed in and will not coat smoothly). Wash, then completely dry the bowl (moisture can possible ruin melted chocolate; it might be safer to have a second bowl handy). Repeat with remaining chocolate and coconut bars.
Store completely hardened bars in a tightly covered container or freezer bag at room temperature up to a day or two, in fridge up to a week or in freezer up to a month.
Allow bars to come to room temperature, still in container (to prevent moisture from forming on bars) before serving.