The snow is thawing in my neck of the woods, just in time for a little Valentine revelry, my first valentine and I ate heart shaped fried eggs for breakfast (butter a tin cookie cutter well and set it on a frying pan then plop your egg in there), while the little valentine enjoyed his oatmeal arranged in a heart shape with the cinnamon carefully shaken on top in a heart shape and drizzled with a heart of honey. For lunch the little valentine had red rice (rice cooked in tomato juice) also arranged in the shape of a heart, this was a great cause of concern for Lu who needed his heart reshaped after every bite. . .it was a long lunch!
With the toddler safely for a nap (or so we thought ) I set about preparing a valentine tea for 2, featuring a Tuscan Salad (arugula topped with white beans, Parmesan, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar), Pear and Gorgonzola tea sandwiches, the Gougères from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, deviled eggs, and Almond Joys which I discovered last fall are a cinch to make at home. But, as is apparent by the rest of our V-day fare, they have to be heart shaped and so they were.
About three bites into our little feast a shout from the vicinity of the bedroom was heard “mama, I want to come out and eat with you!” So much for nap time, but hey the food was still delicious.
To make your own Almond Joy or Mounds Bars simply combine 1 c. shredded unsweetened coconut, 3 Tbl. Raw coconut oil, 2 Tbl. honey, 1/8th tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. vanilla in the bowl of a food processor (I suspect a blender would also work here, if you try it that way let me know).
Process the mixture until a thick paste forms and then shape your candies and place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet that can fit in your freezer. If you want a traditional joy shape, scoop out level tablespoons (you will get about 11 but I suggest doubling the recipe) and then press and roll into logs. If you want a more creative shape you can press the dough out to 1/3 inch thickness and then use a 1-inch cookie cutter to cut out your candies. If desired top each candy with a toasted almond and then place the baking sheet in the freezer for 15-30 minutes.
Melt 4 oz dark chocolate chips (or a bar broken into pieces) in a bowl over nearly simmering water stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth. Remove chocolate from heat, take your candies out of the freezer, and dip the candies in the chocolate. I find it easiest to set the candies in the chocolate, spoon chocolate over the top, and then slide a fork underneath the candy and give it a good shake before sliding candy off the fork and onto your parchment lined baking sheet. Place pan in fridge or freezer to speed hardening of the coating and then store in the fridge.*
*While the coating sets at room temperature, depending on how warm you keep your home the candies tend to melt rapidly when not refrigerated due to the coconut oil used in the coconut paste.
Love from CO,