The Get Your Chef On (GYCO) challenge is back for round two, and this time the secret ingredient is coconut! I was so excited to see that Julie and Jen chose coconut this go around, because it is one of my favorite sweet treats. I'm excited to collect some new wonderful coconut recipes from my fellow participants. You can also check out the lemon souffle I made for the last GYCO challenge.
I was scrolling through my Pinterest boards looking for inspiration for a new coconut recipe when I found Red Couch Recipes' recipe for Grandma Utahna Felix's English Toffee. I love toffee (maybe even more than coconut - blasphemy, I know), so I knew I had to give this a try. I substituted toasted coconut for the toasted pecans, and dark chocolate for the milk chocolate. I didn't change the toffee itself at all though.
My first attempt at this was less than successful. I poured the hot toffee over the coconut (as you would with the nuts), and the mixture did not set up at all. I think this was a combination of the sugar on the coconut causing the mixture to sugar and crystalize, and of me not cooking the mixture for long enough. I went back to the kitchen and started a second batch; this time I layered the chocolate in between the toffee and the coconut, and all was well again.
Making candy can be intimidating (at least it is to me), and this was my first time making toffee. I was surprised at how quick it was to make this (not counting the cooling time). It is a recipe that requires some finesse and a great deal of attention while the toffee is cooking, but it is not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be.
Toast the coconut until it is golden, crunchy, and delicious.
Boil the sugar, butter, and water together until it becomes golden, thick, and delicious
Pour the toffee into your pan, then allow it to set for several minutes before sprinkling the chocolate chips over the top. After fighting to get my first batch out of the dish, I decided to use the spring form pan for easy removal.
The heat from the toffee will melt the chocolate chips. Once they are soft and gooey, simply spread them out with a butter knife or spoon (I forgot to take a picture of this step with my second batch, hence the sudden transformation from a spring form pan to a pyrex dish).
1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 cup shredded, sweetened coconut flakes
1 cup chocolate chips (I used mini semisweet morsels)
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees f, and spread the coconut evenly across a baking sheet. Toast the coconut for 8-12 minutes, stirring every two to three minutes. The coconut is ready when it is golden brown and slightly crunchy.
2) Prepare your pan by greasing it; I used a spring form pan for easy removal, and that is what I recommend. The original recipe calls for a pyrex dish, but I had a very difficult time trying to remove my first batch from the dish.
3) Cut the butter into small chunks. Combine butter, sugar, and water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Stir gently with a wooden spoon for the entire cooking time. Use a wet pastry brush or cloth to wipe down the sides of the pan in order to dissolve any sugar crystals (this helps prevent sugaring/crystallization). Cook the mixture until it reaches an amber color, it starts to pull away from the sides of the pan, and it is smoking slightly (about 10 minutes on my electric stovetop). Do not undercook the toffee.
4) Pour the hot toffee mixture into your prepared pan. Do not scrape the saucepan out into the candy, as this can cause sugaring. Allow the toffee to set and cool for about 10 minutes, then sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top. Allow the chocolate chips to melt for a few minutes, then spread them out evenly across the mixture with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle the toasted coconut over the top, and gently press it down into the chocolate.
5) Allow the candy to cool completely before removing it from the pan (this will take several hours to overnight). Since it's warm out, I had to refrigerate mine to get it to set up completely. Remove the candy from the pan, and break up into bite sized chunks (I just used my hands to break it up).
Enjoy the fruits of your labor (but don't forget to share!).
This is how my first batch came out... putting the coconut and the toffee together caused the toffee to sugar, and prevented it from setting up fully. It still tasted good, but the texture and appearance left a lot to be desired.
As I mentioned at the start, I am submitting the recipe to the Get Your Chef on Challenge hosted by Jen from Four Marrs and One Venus and Julie from White Lights on Wednesdays. I am also submitting it to the Unique Sweets party. Additionally, I am linking up to the normal parties. Also sharing at Mom on Timeout: Iron Chef Chocolate