Monday, June 23, 2014

Delightful Coconut Dream

There's more to life than your favorite candy, isn't there?

(I mean, except for chocolate. That isn't candy. Chocolate is its own food group.)

Here's a confession: One of my favorite candies is the Mounds Bar. Or Almond Joy. There's just something about that chocolate covered coconut goodness that calls to me.

But when I'm trying to cut sugar out of my diet, there goes my occasional chocolate/coconut treat.

Or does it?


When we were at my favorite store in May, I bought this huge bag of coconut. This is dried, flaked coconut, but it's unsweetened. My thought was that I'd use it for a chicken recipe we like in the summer (coming soon!), but that really is an awful lot of coconut. So I started looking for another recipe...and guess what? Chocolate covered coconut bars!!!!

You know me. I fussed and fixed and experimented, and changed the recipe to what I call my Delightful Coconut Dreams.

A great thing about these is that you can make them with or without sugar.

Without sugar they're a low-carb treat (an S in the Trim Healthy Mama world!)

So here we go.

You'll need one cup flaked coconut. If you can find it, use the unsweetened. Look in health food stores or places like Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. Or if you're near Shipshewana, I know E&S Sales has it!

Measure the coconut into a medium sized bowl. To make it without added sugar, add 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream and 1 teaspoon Truvia.

If you aren't too concerned about added sugar, you can use this:


I used a Tablespoon of this sweet coconut syrup (used to make Pina Colada's and such) to 3 Tablespoons heavy cream for hubby's version.

Mix the coconut and cream/sweetener together. It should be a nice, sticky mess. Put it in a dish, shaping it into a rectangle roughly 4 inches by 6 inches, and between 1/2 and 1 inch high.


Stick it in the freezer for an hour or so. That makes it easier to handle!

A few minutes before you take the coconut goodness out of the freezer, you need to make your chocolate coating.

Use coconut oil for your base. Coconut oil melts at 76°, so it's perfect for this application. (This mixture also makes the perfect - and healthy - chocolate "shell" for your ice cream!)

Mix 3 Tablespoons liquid coconut oil (if your kitchen is less than 76°, you can melt it in the microwave for a few seconds), 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon Truvia (or sugar) in a small bowl.


Now take your coconut bar out of the freezer, and cut it into 8 pieces. Since it's frozen, it's much easier to cut.


Take the pieces, one at a time, and dip them into the chocolate mixture. As each one is dipped, transfer them to a piece of wax paper to cool. The chocolate hardens almost immediately.


These might not look as finished as the commercial product, but they sure are tasty! 

And guilt free! :)

Here's a recap of the recipe:

Delightful Coconut Dream 

Sugar Free version:

Ingredients:
1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon Truvia

3 Tablespoons coconut oil, liquid
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon Truvia

Version with sugar:

Ingredients:
1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1 Tablespoon Cream of Coconut (optional)
3 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon sugar

3 Tablespoons coconut oil, liquid
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon sugar

Mix coconut, cream and sweetener together. Shape the mixture into a 4" x 6" slab. Freeze for 1 or 2 hours. Remove from freezer and cut into 8 pieces.

Stir coconut oil, cocoa powder and sweetener together. Dip the coconut pieces into the chocolate and let cool.

Store in the refrigerator, and try not to eat it all at one time!

*If you can't find unsweetened coconut, go ahead and use the sweetened coconut flakes you can find in any grocery store. There is a lot of sugar in that coconut, so don't add any more to the coconut mixture. Add just enough cream to make the flakes stick together, and continue with the recipe as written.

The town of Deadwood, South Dakota today.

And in between chocolaty treats, I'm working hard on "A Home in Deadwood", my newest Love Inspired story. I don't have a final title yet, and I don't have a release date, but I do have a deadline!

One thing I love about writing historicals is the research. Deadwood is a fascinating place. It splashed onto the stage of history with a gold strike in 1875, a gold rush in the spring of 1876, and earned its notorious reputation with the murder of Wild Bill Hickok in August, 1876.

By the time Wild Bill arrived in Deadwood, his reputation was wide-spread. Everyone in the country knew the legends - true or not - that surrounded him. He and his companions - Calamity Jane, the Utter brothers (Colorado Charlie and his brother, Steve) and Bloody Dick Seymour - rode into the mining camp in mid-July, 1876, "mounted on good horses and clad in complete suits of buckskin," according to eyewitness Richard B. Hughes in his book, Pioneer Years in the Black Hills.

Wild Bill soon took up his current profession of gambling (poker was his game of choice), while the Utter brothers started laying the ground work for a pony express mail service between Deadwood and Ft. Laramie, Wyoming. The brothers' plans were put on hold, however, when Jack McCall shot Wild Bill in the back while their friend was playing poker in the Number 10 saloon on Main Street.

I won't go on - I could talk about history all day (just ask my family!) - but I have to share this picture with you!


You're looking at the Beaver Creek Valley in Weston County, Wyoming. That trailing road there at the bottom is the route of the Cheyenne-Deadwood Stage Line...and the Utter brothers' mail route between Deadwood and Ft. Laramie. (They got the line started after Jack McCall's trial).

There is history all around you, wherever you live. You just need to look for it. Your local library is the best place to start :)

Meanwhile, enjoy chocolaty goodness!

26 comments:

  1. have you tried sticking almonds in the coconut for almond joys? :-) I'm not sure where to find coconut oil...I think whipping cream is over by the dairy (and what do I do with the leftover whipping cream?! that's not half and half is it?
    I wanna live there (except in winter) One of my exercise hikes is in that area though I think I'm in love with the Pacific Northwest scenery - British Columbia's hie was beautiful too but was a sea to sky hike and it was a bit dizzying being up so high LOL - one mountain had chains on it to hold onto! so guess virtual will be the ONLY way I hike that mountain! Houston is UGLY - flat and ugly even Galveston has brown water
    susanna

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    1. I need to add almonds to the next batch.... :)

      And you'll find coconut oil with the other oils, like olive oil and vegetable oil. You can buy the expensive organic kind, but Walmart sells LouAnn brand - the same people who make peanut oil - and it works great in everything.

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  2. Oh my word. *sobs quietly for a moment* I want these SO BADLY and it's 1AM.

    And Susanna, PN is beautiful countryside. Just gorgeous. And agreed on Houston. But I know some very nice people, so that makes up for the brown water. :)

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    1. yep I have some great friends here but the land is ugly - a friend of mine adores Galveston though has said she'd be in Oregon in a heartbeat if she could -but I was really super tired one day and we went to Galveston for an art festival and were on the beach resting and I decided to go wading a little bit and told her the sound was nice so maybe it wasn't such a bad place - though blue water would look a lot better - and maybe smell better too. I'd rather be in the Pacific Northwest- that's been the prettiest dvd hike so far along with the one called Trinity Mountains - think the PN one was Crater Lake and some national parks that were gorgeous
      susanna

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    2. LOL, Virginia! I couldn't sleep last night, and guess what was calling me from the refrigerator at 2AM???

      And I agree with both of you about the PNW. Gorgeous country! But I can't compare it to east Texas - I've only been as far east as Dallas. We had plans to go to Padre Island when we lived in Abilene years ago, but then SOMEONE (my dear husband) was transferred. Again.

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    3. east Texas is totally different from Houston - I grew up near LongivewTyler area and every trip home it's taken until past Livingston to look good - some actual hills
      Susanna

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  3. Yum. We don't have all the same chocolate bars as you guys do but we have one called Bounty which is coconut and chocolate and sounds just like this recipe. Now I have a craving!

    I didn't know you could get coconut any other way than unsweetened! But then I always by mine in bulk at the health food store -- way cheaper -- so I've never looked at the packaged stuff in the grocery store. Can't imagine why you'd want it sweetened since you'd be adding it to a recipe that would obviously have sugar in it...or some other sweet alternative.

    I have a great little coconut cake recipe -- a simple white cake but you drizzle a melted butter, brown sugar, coconut concoction over the batter before you put it in the oven. It's called a Lazy Dazy Cake. Think I'll make that today since I don't have all the ingredients for your dream bars and now I'm craving coconut.

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    1. LOL our Bounty is a brand of paper towels! :-)
      Susanna

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    2. Well then mine is definitely tastier! That's funny!

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    3. I'm addicted to this unsweetened coconut! It's so much better than the sweetened - which is basically coconut candy in a bag.

      Hey, wait a minute. That doesn't sound so bad :)

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  4. YUM!!! I'm going to try this!! And I'll definitely give your chocolate sauce a try as well. I just made some the other day with butter. Love the coconut oil idea!

    What gorgeous photos, Jan! It's a beautiful part of the country I've never seen. Look out! I may show up on your doorstep someday. :)

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    1. You're welcome to show up on my doorstep anytime, Missy!

      And that chocolate is addicting. Super addicting. You can let it cool in a slab and break off big pieces to eat whenever you need a chocolate fix.

      Chocolate with no carbs....sounds a bit like heaven, doesn't it?

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  5. Mounds, that and Peppermint Pattie. Favorites all time. This looks absolutely delicious.

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    1. Maybe it's Peppermint Pattys?

      Did you see that they sell bite-sized ones in a bag?

      I avert my eyes at the grocery check out, which means I end up reading tabloid headlines instead. I learn all kinds of stuff that way.

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  6. Mounds... there is a 36 count box (-12) in my cupboard, they're Dave's favorite and Dave never eats sweets, but he loves Mounds bars. These look wonderful, Jan!!!! I've never tried truvia, so much get a small amount and see if I like it. Right now I'm plenty hungry and chicken sounded good, coconut clusters sound BETTER!!!! :)

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  7. Peppermint or Wintergreen patties. Another downfall. And Orange creams or Raspberry creams.... And salted caramels. No wonder we're not skinny chickies, but small enough to be healthy fit/trim Mama's is good!!!!

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    1. I just had another one for dessert with my lunch. So stinkin' delicious :)

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  8. Yooo hooo, Mindy!!! Are you going to share some big news??? Or will we have to wait until tomorrow??

    :) :) :)

    Tina, too (if she's around again).

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    1. Are we going to have to make the announcements ourselves?!?!?

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    2. That's up to y'all, though I will be doing some celebrating tomorrow. :)

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  9. Jan, this recipe makes me very happy. I love Mounds and Almond Joy, too. Probably Almond Joy more because of the different textures, but nonetheless...

    Tomorrow I'll be sharing a little bit about life without sugar and some startling realizations.

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    1. What surprised me - and it shouldn't have - is how sweet this is without the added sugar.

      Hmm, I think there might be one left in the refrigerator....

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  10. Hi, Jan! I heard over in Seekerville that you were making delicious treats. Looks so good! I will try this recipe. BTW, love your new profile picture. And YAY to Mindy, Tina, Melissa, and all the finalists!

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    1. Yes, Sherida, you'll have to try these! The recipe is pretty easy, too.

      And I'm glad you like the new picture! I know I do :)

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