Coconut Bars With Almonds and Dark Chocolate

Makes about 4 dozen (if 2 1/2- by 2-inch).

Note: Plan ahead, as the filling needs to be chilled and later frozen. From Noelle Carter.

• 2 (14-oz.) cans sweetened condensed milk

• 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

• 2 lb. powdered sugar

• 2 (14-oz.) bags sweetened shredded or flaked coconut

• About 4 dozen toasted unsalted almonds

•2 (12-oz.) bags dark chocolate chips

• Coconut oil, if needed

Directions

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat together the condensed milk, vanilla, sugar and coconut until combined. This makes about 8 cups filling. Cover and refrigerate until very firm, preferably overnight.

Once chilled, dust the filling well with powdered sugar and place it between 2 large sheets of parchment or wax paper. Roll the filling to a thickness of about a 1/2 inch. Dust a cookie or biscuit cutter with powdered sugar and cut the filling into shapes, making sure to cut through all of the coconut so the sides are smooth. Top each shape with a toasted almond.

Reroll the filling and cut again as needed. Place the shapes on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet or pan (place a sheet of parchment between each layer of cutouts), wrap the sheet in plastic wrap and freeze until the cutouts are frozen solid, preferably overnight.

Melt the chocolate chips in a large microwave-safe bowl, stirring every 20 to 30 seconds until evenly melted. If the melted chips feel a little too thick, stir in a little coconut oil to thin the melted chocolate.

Remove just a few cutouts at a time (keep the rest of the filling frozen), and dip them, one at a time, in the melted chocolate. Tap the candy a few times to remove excess chocolate and place on a parchment- or wax paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat, removing a few frozen fillings and coating with chocolate, until all of the patties are made. Refrigerate the trays, uncovered, until the chocolate is hardened before serving.

 

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

Makes about 4 1/2 dozen miniature peanut butter cups.

Note: Plan ahead as the filling needs to be chilled and later frozen. This recipe requires candy or truffle paper cups. From Noelle Carter.

• 1 (12-oz.) jar peanut butter

• 1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, softened

• 2 c. powdered sugar

• 6 c. crisped rice cereal

• 2 (12-oz.) bags semisweet or milk chocolate chips, or as needed

• Coconut oil, if needed

Directions

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the peanut butter and the butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth.

Place the crisped rice cereal in the bowl of a food processor and crush to a very fine meal. Add the cereal to the peanut butter mixture and beat to combine. This makes about 3 cups filling. Cover and refrigerate until very firm, 3 to 4 hours.

Once chilled, divide the filling into generous 1-tablespoon scoops. Very quickly, roll the scoops into balls, then flatten slightly to form patties about 1 inch wide by 1/2 inch thick. If the dough begins to warm and get sticky, freeze the scoops until firm enough to mold. Freeze the formed patties, uncovered, on a parchment-lined baking sheet until solid, preferably overnight.

Melt the chocolate chips in a large microwave-safe bowl, stirring every 20 to 30 seconds until evenly melted. If the melted chips feel a little too thick, stir in a little coconut oil to thin the melted chocolate.

Remove just a few patties at a time (keep the rest of the patties frozen), and dip them one at a time in the melted chocolate. Tap the candy a few times to remove excess chocolate and carefully drop each piece into a candy or truffle paper cup, adjusting the sides as needed so the patty sits level in the cup. Repeat until all of the peanut butter cups are assembled.

Place the cups in the refrigerator until the chocolate is hardened before serving.

 

Peppermint Patties

Makes about 4 dozen (2-in.) candies.

Note: Plan ahead, as the filling needs to be chilled and later frozen. From Noelle Carter.

• 1/2 c. plus 2 tbsp. coconut oil, plus extra for thinning the chocolate, if necessary

• 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

• 1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. peppermint extract

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• 1 lb. powdered sugar, plus extra for dusting

• 1 1/2 lb. chocolate chips, more or less as needed

Directions

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat together the 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut oil, lemon juice, peppermint extract and salt until combined. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar to form a thick, crumbly filling. If the filling feels too dry and will not clump together, add water, a tablespoon at a time, to moisten.

Form the filling into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough is firm, 1 to 2 hours.

Once chilled, dust the filling well with powdered sugar and place it between 2 large sheets of parchment or wax paper. Roll the filling to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Dust a cookie or biscuit cutter with powdered sugar and cut the dough into shapes. Reroll the filling and cut again as needed. Place the shapes on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet or pan (place a sheet of parchment between each layer of cutouts), wrap the sheet in plastic wrap and freeze until the cutouts are frozen solid, preferably overnight.

Melt the chocolate chips in a large microwave-safe bowl, stirring every 20 to 30 seconds until evenly melted. If the melted chips feel too thick, stir in a little coconut oil to thin the chocolate.

Remove a few cutouts at a time (keep the rest of the filling frozen), and dip them, one at a time, in the melted chocolate. Tap the candy a few times to remove excess chocolate and place on a parchment- or wax paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat, removing a few frozen fillings and coating with chocolate, until all of the patties are made. Refrigerate the trays, uncovered, until the chocolate is hardened before serving.