It may come as little surprise that my mom is my #1 source for all tips, tricks, and secrets that make me wonder, ‘Why doesn’t every one know about this?!’ (Pinterest is #2 – sorry, I am a cliché.)
Throughout the years, she’s imparted enough miscellaneous knowledge on me to fill an issue of Real Simple. Here are a few stand-outs:
· Float a ring of lemon rind in a vase to corral a bouquet of long-stemmed flowers.
· Leave a Sharpie + clothespins in the bathroom so guests can keep track of their towels.
· When shopping for a dress (especially vintage), look for the bra strap clasps inside the straps – it’s a sure sign of a quality garment. (Adios, all of my male readers!)
· Costco really, truly has the most phenomenal steaks.
As thankful as I am for all of this wisdom, she had been holding out on me. Holding out on one big, VERY important life lesson. Ready for it… Almond Joys are the BEST candy bar in the entire planetverse. Every year, for the 364 days leading up to Halloween, she would persuade my brother, sister and I that the little bundles of coconut, almond and chocolate were for refined, adult palates only. Clearly, we’d better stick to our juvenile Reese’s and Snickers. Then, when October 31st rolled around, she would happily scoop up all of our discarded Almond Joys.
Mom, you are one deceptive, brilliant woman.
Fittingly, I made these for Mother’s Day this year. After a quick Google search, I came across Joy the Baker’s recipe and made a few adjustments to set them apart from store-bought Almond Joys. Make a double batch, so there’s no reason to hide them from your loved ones ;)
[Original recipe from Joy the Baker]
-I doubled the recipe below to use up the entire can of sweetened condensed milk. If you’re going through the steps anyway, might as well double up!
-Mine ended up a little larger than I would’ve liked. If you make your bars a bit smaller, keep in mind you may need more chocolate to cover them.
-If you don’t have fleur de sel, any coarse salt will do.
Ingredients (Makes about 20 candy bars)
7 oz sweetened condensed milk (half of a 14 oz can)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2.5 cups unsweetened, flaked coconut
about 20 whole, dry roasted almonds (~.75 oz)
about 10 oz dark chocolate (I used one 10 oz bag of chips)
Fleur de sel
-In a bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, powdered sugar and vanilla until a thick paste forms.
-Add coconut, and stir to combine. Refrigerate filling for at least 30 minutes.
-Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove filling from fridge, and scoop out ~1 tbsp. Use your hands to form a compact log, place on baking sheet, and repeat with the rest of the filling. (Wet your hands periodically if they get too sticky.)
-Firmly push an almond onto the top of each bar. You want it indented slightly so it sticks. Refrigerate bars for at least 30 minutes.
-Meanwhile, create a double boiler by placing an empty, heat-proof bowl over a pot with an inch or so of water. Make sure bowl is not touching water. Turn flame on high.
-Once water is boiling, turn heat down to low so water just simmers. Place chocolate in the bowl, and stir frequently until it’s completely melted.
-Remove bars from fridge. One at a time, lower a bar into the chocolate. Turn it around a bit until it’s completely covered in the dark chocolate. Gently shake some of the excess chocolate off. Place the coated bar on a fork, and scrape the bottom of the fork along the edge of the bowl. This will remove excess chocolate. Return covered candy bar to the parchment paper. (I used a small rubber spatula to coax it off the fork.)
-Every few bars, sprinkle the tops with fleur de sel. You want to do this while the chocolate is still wet so the salt sticks.
-Once all the bars are coated and salted, place baking sheet in fridge until chocolate hardens.
-Store in fridge so chocolate doesn’t melt. When ready to eat, let come to room temperature or enjoy cold!