Friday, December 7, 2012

Coconut BonBons

I know... I've been away too long. As an apology, I will be sharing the holiday recipes that I make every single year. These are tried and true, and sure to win you a legion of fans every holiday season!

This time of year calls for candy. Lots of it. (You know you agree.) So, I have a few of my mom's candy recipes to share with you this month, starting with today's: Coconut BonBons! (Full recipe at the end of this post.)

Making candy can take a while, but there is a fair amount of inactive time if you're only making one type at a time. (I'm crazy and make at least two batches each of three varieties at once, which means that I spend the entire evening in Candy Town. You don't have to be crazy like me.)

So, let's start with the basics - the filling. Grab a box of powdered sugar, half a stick of butter (softened), some shredded coconut, and a dash of salt. Toss these into your mixer (or hand mix, although a stand mixer is ideal for this process). Once combined, add some vanilla and sweetened condensed milk. (If you want to cut down on calories, you can use low fat or fat free - the change in taste is not really noticeable.) Continue to mix until combined. You'll end up with a sticky mixture that looks kind of like this:

Then comes the messy part. Unlike some of the other candy I make, this mixture is a bit tougher to work with. You'll want to roll it into small balls - it may stick to your palms, so feel free to put some powdered sugar on your hands as needed. (You can also try using a cookie scoop.) Place the balls on a cookie sheet or other flat surface covered in wax paper. (I end up using every flat pan I own - again, you don't have to be crazy like me.)

Once you've created an army of coconut balls, place these babies in the freezer:

Let these freeze for an hour. In the meantime, melt some chocolate chips on the stove. How much you need will depend on how thick you coat the bonbons. You may need to melt more chocolate halfway through - if so, you can always pop the bonbons back in the freezer while you do that. (My foolproof method? Chocolate chips and shortening in the double boiler. Don't judge. I grew up on shortening.)

Remove from the stove and get ready for the next messy part...

Once your balls are frozen (hehe), you'll dip them in the chocolate one at a time, and then place on wax paper to cool. (You'll have to play around a bit to find a method that works for you - you can use a candy spoon, but I generally use a slotted spoon or fork/spoon combo as I dip and shake off the excess chocolate. You could also try toothpicks, but the candy might fall off while you're dipping it. It's all about trial and error. But don't worry - they're tasty enough that what they look like is almost a secondary concern.)

(If you want to neaten them up a bit, use a toothpick to draw a line between the bonbon and the excess chocolate on the wax paper. When you remove the bonbons later, the excess chocolate will remain on the paper instead of attached to the ball.)

Let the chocolate harden for a while - eventually it will be hard enough for you to transfer to storage containers lined with wax paper, using wax paper to divide the layers as well. If the chocolate remains tacky, you can stick the sheet of covered balls in the freezer to speed the process along. (A word to the wise - if your house is really warm, the chocolate will take a while to set. I once made the mistake of placing them on the counter near a heating vent. That also was a bad idea.) Store refrigerated and enjoy, or divide into treat bags to give to friends and family.

Coconut Bonbons
(Adapted from nowhere - they're mine!)

1 box (1 lb.) powdered sugar
1/2 stick butter, softened
8 oz. shredded coconut
Dash of salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 can of sweetened condensed milk (each can is about 14 oz.)
Chocolate chips (I like dark chocolate, but to each her own)

Combine powdered sugar, butter, coconut & salt in mixer. Once combined, add vanilla extract and sweetened condensed milk. Mix until combined.

Roll mixture into balls (or use cookie scoop to create balls) and place on wax paper lined cookie sheets. (Make sure these will fit in your freezer.) Freeze balls for at least one hour.

In the meantime, melt chocolate chips on stove with shortening. Use 1 tbsp. shortening for each cup of chocolate chips you melt. Once chocolate is melted, let it cool slightly.

Remove balls from freezer and dip in chocolate. Place on wax paper to harden (or transfer to freezer to speed the process along). Once hardened, transfer to storage containers lined with wax paper. Enjoy!

Makes 2 dozen... or more... or less... depending on how big your bonbons are.

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