I don't drink, I don't smoke, I am not addicting to shopping, but I do confess to overindulging when it comes to chocolate. I have always loved chocolate and I pretty much need it everyday. I do admit to being addicted and it isn't an addiction I care to break.
Sees candy was my first love. It was always the same selection; California Brittle, Scotchmallow, and Almond Royal. A trip to Sherman Oaks Fashion Square wasn't complete with out a visit to Sees. Bess, an elderly lady with short white hair, was always behind the counter and as she saw me opening the door, she would start filling a little bag with all of my favorites. Bess was one of the special ones. I was blessed to have found her and would have loved her even if she didn't work behind the glass counter at Sees.
Other favorites included Honey Comb at Little Johns in The Original Farmers Market, the perfect melt in your mouth truffles from Kron and now, as an adult I treat myself to Recchiuti caramels, and anything from Fran's.
With Valentine's Day around the corner, I am thinking about what to give to all of those that I adore. Last year I made caramels, heart shaped butter cookies, and a rocky road fudge(originally chocolate covered marshmallows that turned into a disaster). Truly, I am not there yet, but I wanted to start with one of M's childhood favorites - Almond Joy.
I found a few recipes on the Internet, but I am starting with one I found on Epicurious.com. I liked how simple the ingredients were, it didn't require too much of my time, and I had everything in the pantry. Eli loves helping in the kitchen when the task at hand requires using the tempering machine, I enlisted him in melting the chocolate.
I swapped out milk chocolate for bittersweet, only because I prefer that and the end results were incredibly addicting. I am going to make another batch, using silicone molds. Hopefully, my next batch will taste just as good, but be a tad prettier!
Adapted from Epicurious
Yield: 36 pieces
7 fluid oz. sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
14 oz. sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup whole, raw almonds, toasted
16-20 oz. bittersweet chocolate (I like Callebaut)
Line a 9 x 13″ baking pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. In a large bowl combine the condensed milk, vanilla, and salt. mix to combine. Add confectioners' sugar, 1 cup at a time, mix until smooth. Add the coconut and mix well.
Pour into prepared baking pan and press it firmly into the pan. Press the almonds, firmly, in even rows into the coconut mixture. Chill in the fridge for an hour. Remove from fridge and cut into desired shapes. Freeze while you are temper the chocolate.
If you don't have a tempering machine, see here on how to temper chocolate.
When the chocolate is ready, take candies out of the freezer, 10 at a time, and dip into the tempered chocolate. shake off excess and place on silpat mats or parchment lined baking sheets.
Once chocolate has set, place candy in an airtight container. they will store for a week, but they won't last two days!
- By Susan Salzman