Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sweet Treats - Coconut, Chocolate & Popcorn

I have a new found love for coconut. Coconut water has now become a staple in my fridge, and I have been keeping an eye out for recipes featuring this versatile product. Not only can you use coconut milk for delicious curries, but shredded coconut is perfect for sweet treats.

I came across these (vegan) Dark Chocolate Coconut Treats and had to make them. 

I used my mini muffin pan to make more of them instead of having them be larger. This worked out well for me because these turned out pretty sweet and I can only handle about two at a time (which is strange, because there was a time in my life where I could probably eat the whole batch in one sitting.

Besides changing the size of the treats, I actually followed this recipe. It was easy enough, only seven ingredients total. I did have to make more chocolate sauce in order to cover all of my mini's.

Here is the recipe from Tasty Yummies. I used dark chocolate mini chunks (70% cacoa). Strangely enough, I couldn't find any %100 unsweetened organic. I also used agave nectar instead of maple syrup. 

Coconut Filling:
2 1/2 cups unsweetened organic coconut, finely shredded
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup (you could use honey, coconut nectar or any other liquid sweetener)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate Topping*:
6 ounces 100% unsweetened organic dark chocolate 
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/3 cup maple syrup (again any other liquid sweetener would work)
I started by mixing all of the coconut filling ingredients together in a large bowl. Just make sure it is well combined and then press the mixture into each of the muffin cups. I used a small tablespoon to evenly divide the mixture into the cups. Don't worry about these little things sticking, the coconut oil helps prevent that. 
Put these in the freezer while you are melting the chocolate. I recommend melting using a double boiler (or a makeshift one), but make sure you are stirring and keeping an eye on your chocolate to prevent burning. For a makeshift double boiler, find two pans, one needs to fit easily on top of the other. Fill the bottom pan with about an inch of water and put the dark chocolate and coconut oil in the top pan. Turn on your burner to medium-high and watch as the chocolate melts. Keep stirring until almost all the chunks are gone. I typically take the top pan off the other at this point, and stir till the chocolate is completely melted. Add in the sugary syrup last. 
Get your muffin pan out of the freezer and spoon the chocolate mixture over the coconut bites. Like I said, I had to make more chocolate, this also depends on how thick you want you chocolate vs coconut layers to be. Once you have covered the coconut with chocolate, put the muffin pan back in the freezer for about 30 mins, or longer. Once cold, I transfered my bites to a plastic container and put them back in the freezer to store. Once you want a coconut sweet treat, just be careful to let it sit a little while after you take it out of the freezer because they are pretty hard. I am sure storing them in the fridge would work just as well. 
Peanut-Butter Chocolate Popcorn
After my coconut bites, I had a lot of left over dark chocolate. I looked in my pantry and realized I had a bag of popcorn. Salty & sweet is always a good combination so I thought I would give chocolate covered popcorn a shot. Typically, any sweet popcorn is made with plain popcorn, but mine was just your typical buttered bag kind. (still turns out great, promise). Pop the popcorn as instructed, let it cool in a bowl and make sure you remove any leftover kernels. 
  • 1/4 cup of peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup of chocolate (or to taste)
  • a little less than 1/4 cup of coconut oil
Melt the chocolate using the same method as the chocolate above. It will take a little longer because the peanut butter is a thicker consistency. Once the chocolate is melted, throw in the popcorn and stir. Every piece won't be completely covered, but no need to worry. Put the chocolaty popcorn on a baking sheet and put in fridge. Once cool and hard, transfer popcorn to a container. Keep the popcorn stored in the fridge (if you don't plan on eating the entire batch) because it will melt otherwise. I also added some graham cracker crumbs on top, you could also use powdered sugar or crumbled up cookie or candy pieces or even coconut! I took my leftover popcorn to a little get together and it was definitely a hit. 
Both of these sweet treats are good solo or for parties. They both can easily be eaten in one sitting, but if you don't feel like being a fat kid, the good thing is they will store in the freezer/fridge. Another good thing about these sweet treats is that they are refined sugar free and vegan, and yet I bet you no one would be able to tell. 

No comments: