I think this might be a case of saving best for near the last, except that I didn’t know they’d be so dadburned good when I made them last night. I didn’t even really plan on making them, but I had to play with some coconut I had in the pantry. My sister’s kids have some serious dietary restrictions and I was trying to come up with a really decadent Christmas treat that I could give them. My aunties plied me with sweets and I’m nothing if I’m not a slave to tradition. Corn syrup was out so I boiled honey for long enough to begin caramelizing it, threw my bag of unsweetened dried coconut in, stirred vigorously, pressed it into a pan and waited with baited breath. Actually I waited with pizza breath, but really, that just doesn’t sound good.
I’m not usually a real coconut lover so I figured if I found it palatable the kids would lurve it. I sliced the slab-o-coconut and honey caramel into blocks that were roughly one inch by two inches. I melted dark chocolate, dunked away and stashed the tray in the fridge for an hour. The peanut gallery hovered around the fridge waiting to see if the candy was even edible. (This from my six year old, Ty, who said, “Do people even eat this stuff?” while dangerously waving my open bag of flaked coconut.) They were hopeful because, as Ty also said, “If it’s in chocolate, it can’t be half bad, right Mom? I can at least lick off the chocolate even if the inside’s nasty.” Such a ray of sunshine, this child.
The tray came out of the fridge and before I could blink it was half emptied. Two candy bars were in each little set of hands hand and three were in the big mitts that belong to The Evil Genius. And the ultimate testament to this candy? They ate it slowly. They actually savored it. I will repeat myself. They ate it slowly because they enjoyed it. so. much. Normally, Hoover has nothing on my family for sheer speed of food consumption. It is a wonder they ever taste anything at all with the vitesse with which they ingest. This candy made them slow down and make happy noises. I’d say that’s danged good for a couple minutes of work.
The honey caramel is chewy and sweet and perfect and the coconut gives it wonderful texture and nutty flavor. And topping it with dark chocolate? Shave my legs and call me smoothie. They’re good enough to make your tongue slap your brain silly.
Make a tray of these and pop them on a cute little plate from the local dollar store or in a pretty cellophane bag closed with ribbon.
Honey Caramel and Coconut Chocolate Bars: Foodie Gift #20
Consider this fair warning. These are extremely addictive and horribly simple to make. Filled with honey and coconut these might almost be health food, though, so go for it. But, for the record, I did warn you.
- 12 ounces dried coconut flakes (I used unsweetened, you can use sweetened if that’s your only option)
- 1 1/2 cups honey
- 16 ounces good dark chocolate, chopped or dark chocolate chips
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
Line a cookie sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Set aside.
Put honey in a heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil. Allow to boil for exactly one minute and thirty seconds. Turn off heat and stir in coconut until evenly moist. Scrape contents onto the lined cookie sheet. Use wet hands to firmly press the coconut and honey mixture into a square that is about 1/2′- 3/4″ thick. The shape is not something to fret, just approximate the square and thickness. Part of the charm of homemade candies is that they’re not always uniform.
Stash the cookie sheet in the freezer for an hour or two, just make sure it’s really firm and cold before proceeding. Scooch the parchment onto a cutting board and cut into desired sizes. I cut mine into bars that were about 1″ x 2.5″ but do whatever floats your boat. Separate the bars, re-line your cookie sheet with parchment and turn your attention to the chocolate.
In a microwave safe bowl, add the chocolate chips or chunks and the butter. Microwave on HIGH for about 45 seconds. Remove bowl, stir well, and return to microwave for another 15 second burst. Repeat until the chocolate is melted and smooth when you stir it.
Use two dinner forks to lower one bar at a time into the chocolate. Flip the bar so it’s completely coated, scrape across the lip of the bowl to remove excess and place on the parchment paper to set up. Repeat until all bars are coated or you run out of chocolate because little fingers keep dipping into your bowl.
Place pan back in fridge for one hour for the chocolate to firm up. Share with friends or hide in the bathroom and eat several of them yourself. Your call. I won’t judge.