Friday, December 17, 2010
This here? This is my favorite new discovery. These are amazing. I'm pretty sure I didn't even make them quite right, and I'm still in love. They make the three-day search through NYC to find coconut oil totally worth it. This is one of R's family holiday recipes, which his sister sent to me. She's the one who's in charge of them every Christmas, so admittedly R had no idea what we were doing. But he was impatient to start popping them in his mouth. These were the treats he used to steal from his parents' basement, where they were kept cool before Christmas. He has pretty much not changed at all.
These candies are basically balls of chocolate, the chocolate melted with coconut oil, and then mixed with marzipan, bits of licorice and tiny balls made from cutting up gumdrops. It sounds cloying, but somehow all of those bits of candy totally work together. One thing that makes Norwegian Konfekt so unique the use of coconut oil in the chocolate. Normally when we make a ganache, we mix chocolate with heavy cream, but the coconut oil adds a wonderful flavor that you shouldn't miss just because it can be a bit hard to find.
Whole Foods is supposed to carry it, but was out when I went. I ended up finding my jar at a kind of health food store on the Upper East Side called Health Nuts (on 2nd between 63rd and 64th, if you need to know). Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so look for it in a jar in the US, although it comes in sticks the way butter does in Norway. It's also less expensive than butter in Norway, but we're not so lucky here, and a jar can run up to $12 in NYC at least. Also, do not confuse coconut oil with coconut butter. Coconut butter is made from both the oil and the meat of the coconut, and will not at all work in this recipe. At Health Nuts I discovered there are various version of coconut oil, much like olive oil, and it comes in virgin and extra virgin varieties. I used the virgin variety, which is meant for medium heat.
I say that I didn't quite make this recipe correctly because the coconut oil separated a bit from the chocolate. But that doesn't really matter, at least if you're not a purist, because the oil turns white as it cools, which is festive with the chocolate, and it still tastes wonderful. So, I mean, you could worry about it if you wanted to, but I don't. One last note on ingredients, R's sister called for candies that when translated from the Norwegian are called 'jelly tops.' I'm pretty sure we would call them gumdrops, but R and I used Swedish Fish. Swedish Fish, aside from the fact that they aren't actually Swedish (I don't think) are not recommended because although delicious, they're far too sticky to chop and just want to glop together. If you find that your jelly candy of choice is having the same problem, spread the bits out on a cutting board or plate and refrigerate/freeze them so they can be added to the chocolate without sticking together.
You're going to cut the marzipan, licorice and jelly candies into really small pieces. We found that it was actually quicker to just pull them apart with your fingers into tiny pieces, because everything tended to stick to the knife. You want the pieces small enough so that each ball of chocolate will have several pieces of candy in it.
A Family Recipe
250 grams bittersweet chocolate (we used part bittersweet part semisweet, which you could also do)
4 tablespoons strong coffee
250 grams coconut oil
2 tablespoons sugar
A tube of marzipan, cut into really small pieces
A large handful of liquorice, chopped into teensy tiny bits (actually, it's easier to just break them apart with your fingers than to chop them, since they tend to stick to the knife)
Another large handful of gumdrops or other such jelly candy, also cut or pulled apart into really small pieces
Yet another handful of almonds, blanched and ground
Beat together the egg and sugar until the mixture is foamy and the color is light yellow. Set aside.
Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan over medium heat. As soon as it melts remove from the heat and let it cool to room temperature so it will hopefully not separate from the chocolate.
Melt the chocolate together with the coffee, either in the microwave or over the double boiler. Add the egg mixture and mix until combined. Slowly add the cooled coconut oil (which will still be liquid) and mix.
Add all of the candy pieces and mix to evenly distribute them throughout the batter. Arrange mini candy paper cups on a cookie sheets, and using a teaspoon fill each cup. Sprinkle the ground almonds over the top. Transfer the cookie sheet to the refrigerator and refrigerate until the chocolate sets.