cookie swap for the nonbakers

Friday, December 13, 2013

I could kiss the person who started the first cookie swap. I mean really, an excuse to get together with friends, eat, drink, and be Merry Christmas-ish. That's what Christmas is all about right, eating and drinking? Well maybe a few other things too. (wink) 

As much as I love the idea, except for my grandmother's chocolate chip cookies, I just don't have a foolproof cookie recipe. And something tells me a food blogger shouldn't show up to a cookie swap with chocolate chip cookies.

So I deviated from the name a bit and made these Homemade Almond Joys. I make them every year. They are simple, delicious, and easy to make for a crowd. People have begun to expect them. Much like they expect Aunt Betty's tuna jelly mold. (wink, wink)

So go ahead and take the road less traveled. Whip up these Homemade Almond Joys for your next cookie swap. People will begin to expect them, and maybe even start to "save room" just for them.  

30 or so almonds 
2 1/2 cups unsweetened flaked coconut 
7 ounces sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar 
about 20 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips 
pinch of salt 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. 
Spread almonds onto a separate (unlined) baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes. Be careful they don't burn! Remove from oven and cool. 
In a medium bowl, mix together sweetened condensed milk, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Stir in the unsweetened coconut until combined. The mixture will be thick. Place mixture in the freezer for about 30 minutes. 
Remove the coconut mixture. With clean hands shape one tablespoon of coconut into a ball. I make mine slightly smaller than 1 tablespoon.
Place the balls on the lined baking sheet and continue until you've gone through the remaining coconut mixture. 
Press an almond on top of each coconut ball. Place baking sheet in the fridge to chill while you melt the chocolate. 
Add about 2 inches of water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Place chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl and place the bowl over the simmering water. 
Make sure the bowl is about 1 inch from the boiling water. Stir the chocolate as it melts. Turn the heat off once the chocolate has melted. Keep the bowl of melted chocolate over the hot water. 
Remove candies from fridge. Place one coconut almond ball on a fork. Use a spoon and cover the candy in chocolate. Place back on lined baking sheet. Repeat until all coconut balls are coated. 
If chocolate gets thick, just turn the stove back on and heat slightly.
Let dipped candy harden in the fridge for 45 minutes. 


{Recipe adapted from Celebrations at Home}


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