I used to wonder where I got such a passion for food from. It consumes my daily thoughts, and when I am upset, food is the source of comfort I go straight to. But lately, I’ve realized it’s obvious where my obsession stems from: Mother Cookie. Like mother, like daughter, right?
You see, last week was a stressful one here in the Smart Cookie household. When Mother Cookie was having a particularly rough day, she slouched over to me and asked,
“Can I have some of your Almond Joy Poke Cake, or were you saving it for something?”
I looked up and replied,
“Have as much as you want.”
“I’m going to stick my whole freakin’ face in it,” she declared and trotted off.
That’s my mom!
Mother Cookie knows the healing powers of food, and after a hard day, she wasn’t afraid to embrace a big old pan of my Almond Joy Poke Cake. Considering that cake has “joy” in its name, it should come as no surprise that it has unparalleled mood-lifting powers in every heavenly bite.
Light little cups of fluffy chocolate goodness, that’s what these are.
My Chocolate Mousse Coconut Cups are the perfect bite: creamy, light chocolate mousse cradled by golden toasted coconut nests and sprinkled with crunchy macadamia nuts. The variety of textures compliment one another, as do the flavors; the mousse is chocolatey and sweet but the coconut is savory and nutty in comparison. Even Mother Cookie, who has a vendetta against all-things sweet, loved these bite-sized treats because they weren’t overly sweet or rich. They’re light and perfectly portioned, just enough to satisfy your sweet cravings without sending you overboard into a sugar rush sea.
Don’t let those pretty swirls of chocolate mousse fool you; these Chocolate Mousse Coconut Cups are surprisingly simple to make. In fact, you can do so in less than 30 minutes. They look and taste quite fancy, so nobody will know that you only need the culinary skills of a kid making playdough food to put them together. And since you can hold these miniature desserts in the palm of your hand, they’re great for parties and get-togethers. Everyone will rave, and you won’t break a sweat.
Take a break from the typical heavy, rich desserts that weigh you down like a brick and opt for these light and refreshing cuties instead. Chocolate and coconut are a can’t-go-wrong combo, and these cups showcase the best of both. You only need a couple of ingredients and half an hour to whip some up. Can you really say no to such a sweet deal?
Look, I’m sorry. I’ll stop talking about how easy these are to make so as not to give away your secret when you serve these to impress your dinner guests. Forget I said anything!
A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:
Add a chocolate drizzle to make these extra chocolatey.
Don’t like macadamia nuts? Any nut will be delicious.
These 2-ingredient coconut cup crusts are super versatile. You can even make it into a full-sized pie crust.
Speaking of which, you could turn this whole recipe into a full-sized pie.
If you’ve never used mascarpone cheese before, it’s kind of like cream cheese, but a much better version and less tangy. You can find it in the specialty cheese section.
Chocolate Mousse Coconut Cups By The Smart Cookie Cook
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tbsp. vanilla
½ cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
2 cups shredded coconut
6 tbsp. butter, melted
Make the crusts: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a a medium bowl, combine the coconut and butter. Press about a tablespoon into each ungreased mini muffin cup so it shapes to the cups. Bake 5-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool completely then use a fork to gently remove from tins.
Make the mousse: Use a hand mixer to beat the mascarpone for 30 seconds, just to soften it up more. Add the cream, cocoa powder, vanilla, and sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Stir well with a spatula to make sure the ingredients are well blended.
Transfer mousse to a large ziplock bag, working it down to the bottom of one corner of the bag. Snip off the corner and twist off the top, thus creating a pastry bag (if you have your own pastry bags, feel free to use them instead). Pipe the mousse into the cooled coconut cups. You can also use a spoon if you don’t feel like piping, but piping is quicker. Sprinkle each cup with mousse. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Sometimes, you need a little bit of joy in your life.
Last week, I needed some joy. It was one of those weeks when the world was against me. And when I have weeks/days/months like that, I realize something: food is the only constant in life. Pathetic as that sounds, I actually find it comforting to know that no matter how hard it gets or how many obstacles stand in my way, food will always be there to cheer me up once more. Even after a long, gruesome day when my butt has been handed to me on a silver platter, the thought of a good meal can keep me going through the rough spots.
I found out why Almond Joys are called Almond Joys this weekend. After I stumbled through that long week, I had one delicious Friday to look forward to, knowing full-well what I wanted to make. I stepped into my kitchen and whipped up this Almond Joy Fudge in the hopes that it would live up to the candy’s name. And you know what? It did.
With the magical trio of chocolate, coconut, and almonds, there really is no wonder they’re called Almond Joys. And when you take those complimentary components and turn them into decadent fudge, you get something even more joyous.
This fudge requires only a handful of ingredients to make, and I’m betting you’ve got the necessary goods waiting in your pantry as we speak. And the best part? No candy thermometer required! Honestly, it doesn’t get any easier than this when it comes to fudge-making, or tastier for that matter.
This is some seriously creamy and dreamy fudge. It melts right in your mouth; you barely need teeth for this sweet stuff! Plus, that luscious chocolate fudge is blanketed by a creamy coconut topping and crunchy toasted almonds. Talk about a beautiful blend of flavors and textures! It definitely evokes memories of your favorite Almond Joy candies, but this fudge is, dare I say, even better.
Join me in the kitchen and see just how easy and delicious this fudge is. Let’s almond rejoice!
A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:
Make sure you watch the video to catch the step-by-step how-to and hear all my best tips for fudge making!
You must stir constantly, especially once the fudge starts boiling, or it will burn.
You don’t have to toast the nuts, but it makes them extra crunchy & intensifies their flavor.
This fudge is much easier to get out of the pan if you line it with parchment paper.
To make Mounds Fudge instead, leave off the almonds and use dark chocolate chips instead of semisweet.
I’ve never seen a 12 oz. bag of chocolate chips like in the recipe. I bought 11.5 oz, which is close enough, and that worked just fine.
Almond Joy Fudge Adapted from the Fluff jar; Coconut topping adapted from Joy the Baker
For the topping
1 7-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups shredded coconut
1/4 tsp. salt
16 almonds, toasted*
For the Fudge
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 stick butter (4 tbsp.)
1 5-oz. can evaporated milk
1 Jar (7.5 oz.) Marshmallow Fluff
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 12-oz. package semi-sweet chocolate pieces
Make the topping: In a large bowl, mix the condensed milk, powdered sugar, vanilla, coconut, and 1/4 tsp. salt until well-combined. Cover and refrigerate while you make the fudge.
Butter a 9-inch square baking pan and line with parchment paper; set aside.
In large saucepan combine the sugar, salt, butter, evaporated milk, and Fluff. Stir constantly over low heat until blended.
Increase heat to medium and bring to a full-rolling boil while stirring constantly, being careful not to mistake escaping air bubbles for boiling. Make sure you’re scraping down the edges to prevent burning.
Boil slowly, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and chocolate until chocolate is melted and mixture is completely smooth. Use a whisk if you need to break up the chocolate better.
Turn into greased pan and let cool. Once the pan is cool enough to touch, refrigerate until completely set.
Once fudge is set, pour the coconut mixture on top and gently spread out in an even layer. Top with toasted almonds and refrigerate until coconut is firm enough to cut. Slice fudge into squares and enjoy.
*To toast almonds, line a baking sheet with foil. Spread almonds out in an even layer and bake at 350 degrees F for 5-10 minutes or until aromatic. Let cool.
There is one thing that I truly associate with the holidays. It’s not eggnog or peppermint or gingerbread, although all of those things carry their holiday nostalgia as well. No; for me, the most Christmasy thing I can imagine is my late grandmother’s Hello Dollies.
Once a year, every year, when Christmas rolls around, I break out her handwritten recipe on a faded note card and bake up a batch of these nostalgic treats. Like most handed-down recipes, the instructions are rather vague. And yet, I’ve never once messed them up. It’s almost as if I have her spirit to guide me through.
It’s strange how that little note card seems so fragile. It is from another time and place entirely, and to hold it in my hands feels slightly surreal. It is as if I must handle it with the greatest care or risk it shattering in the palm of my hands. Every time I look at it, I envy my grandmother’s perfect, dainty handwriting (mine is all over the place). Unlike a recipe from a random cookbook or website, it feels as if she’s actually speaking to me. I can see her in her kitchen, many years ago, preparing these beloved cookies for my father and his brother, who to this day cannot get enough of them. It’s slightly eerie, but a special experience indeed. No matter how fancy or impressive a cookbook is, it will never come close to the special feeling of following a hand-written family recipe.
I always though fudge was one of those things that everybody likes. It’s sweet, decadent, chocolatey, and generally unoffensive. Of course, when you have preconceived notions like this, it’s not uncommon that someone comes along and proves you wrong.
Enter: my mother.
As you may have heard when reading about my White Chocolate-Walnut Blondies with Maple Butter Sauce, my mother is not a big fan of sweets. It took those delicious blondies to truly thrill her. And when it comes to fudge, she finds it repulsive. “It’s too sweet,” she says. I say she’s nuts. Nuts like this fudge. (Get it? It’s Nutty Coconut Fudge!…yeah, sorry).
Now, when you come across disagreements such as this, my little cookies, there is good news. So-and-so doesn’t like a food you find to be delicious? That’s totally okay, and I can give you three words that explain why: