It is so rainy today. I’m wearing gumboots out of the house, so that there is no need to avoid the puddles, I’m going to stomp on through them. This time of year in Melbourne I become almost paralysed with fear with each warm Autumn day, wondering if it will be our last warm day before winter finally falls. The last beach day, the last drive to the country and frolic in creeks day, the last bare arm, drinking outside evening. And maybe this is it, winter is here? In Victoria Easter is usually beautiful weather (in the north it pours rain without fail), but even if it’s not beautiful this year these pretty, little chocolate covered coconut squares will taste of hot days. They’re so deliciously tropical.
Sarah and I were obsessed with coco con leche in Mexico – coconut ice-creams that were so good, when Sarah wouldn’t share hers, (a stressful, late night, roadside moment) it threatened to ruin our friendship. Now, these coconut squares aren’t ice-cream but they definitely satisfy our coconut cravings, they taste like Bounties. Surrounded by bitter dark chocolate, the coconut center is soft, creamy, with a little bit of chew. They’re not too sweet and the taste is evocative of swaying palm fronds and beachside heat haze. Perfect for a not so perfect Easter Sunday. Package them for friends as a pretty Easter treat.
chocolate coconut squares
250ml coconut cream, or 250ml cream
50g unsalted butter
1tsp vanilla extract
250g moist shredded coconut flakes (or you can use dessicated coconut, but as it is drier, use much less, 100g or so)
2 tbsp demerara sugar
200g bitter dark chocolate
In a saucepan heat the coconut cream, butter and sugar, until the sugar has dissolved. Make sure not to boil the coconut cream. Stir in the vanilla. Take of the heat. Stir in the coconut. There should be no liquid, and it should have a dough like consistency. Add more coconut if it’s still too wet.
Pour into a greased and lined tin. Press with the back of a spoon so that the mixture is compact in the tin. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or for at least a couple of hours. When quite firm cut into cubes and place back into the fridge.
Now, temper your chocolate:
You could skip this tempering process and just melt the chocolate but the tempering gives your chocolate crack and shine and helps it set. In a saucepan put 3cm of water onto the boil. When boiled turn off the heat. Place a metal bowl over the now hot water and put the chocolate into this bowl. Stir with a metal spoon until it melts. Make sure it doesn’t burn. When melted take it off the heat and put the bottom of the bowl into another bowl of ice water. (We don’t want any water to get together with the actual chocolate!) When the chocolate has cooled turn the hot water saucepan back on, and with the heat on this time, place the chocolate bowl over the saucepan. When the chocolate is hot again, (but before it burns!) turn off the heat. A candy thermometer really helps here, but we don’t have one, we just did it by feel. It is now ready to use.
Dip your coconut squares into the chocolate. This is a little messy. Shake a little of the chocolate off and place on a piece of baking paper until set. They should be beautiful and shiny.