Monday, September 4, 2017

Homemade candy bars -- this winner may make it to holiday sweets platters


Last Thursday, I did a major shopping at Cash & Carry. While I knew my flatbed cart was full, it still shocked me that I went over $100, but did not buy meat or any super-large bags of staples. So, I was feeling like I needed to keep the remaining spending for at least a day or two to nothing (or less, if that could be possible).

Later in the afternoon I had a serious craving for a candy bar. I even thought about getting in the car and driving to the nearby drugstore just for a candy bar. Then it hit me, why not just make some candy bars? I went online in search of a good recipe and found one for homemade Almond Joy. The recipe calls for minimal cooking (just melting the dipping chocolate and toasting the almonds). In addition, the ingredients could all be found in my pantry and fridge. "This could be a winner," I was thinking. And it proved me right. I had a daughter as a partner in crime, to share in the fun of making these.


My total cost was just under $2 for a batch that made 12 good-sized pieces, at least as large as 6 full-size candy bars. The chocolate coating is much thicker than a real Almond Joy bar, and the flavor of the filling is better in this homemade version compared to the commercial bar. They smell amazing. Even the next day I could smell them in the kitchen.


Here's a link to the recipe that I followed Copycat Almond Joy.
This recipe is double what I made -- just to emphasize, I made a half-batch, as I really didn't want a full batch sitting around for me to consume.

I used real butter (a must for favor, IMO), and toasted some whole almonds in the oven on a tray at 350 degrees F, until lightly toasted (if you can smell the almonds in the oven, they are done). For the chocolate coating, I used the Kroger brand of what I think is Candiquik, a dipping chocolate that is typically found in grocery stores during the fall/winter baking season.  Wilton chocolate melting wafers would also work, as would any other dipping chocolate. Although the package of chocolate did not say to add Crisco shortening, I found I needed it to keep the chocolate thin enough to coat well. (When melting chocolate pieces for drizzling or dipping, I add a tiny amount of Crisco shortening to the chocolate. It makes the melted chocolate a bit thinner, but hardens up when the chocolate is cooled.)

For future batches, I'd like to try adding a couple of drops (like 2 or 3 drops) of almond extract to the coconut filling. As an alternative, a couple of drops of vanilla extract would also be a good flavor enhancer. I also think 2 almonds per bar (instead of 1) would be nice.

After forming the coconut filling, the bars needed to be kept chilled to hold their shape, until dipping in the melted chocolate. I dipped 4 at a time, and kept the rest in the fridge while dipping those 4. After the chocolate hardens, they can be kept in a cool pantry, in a tin for probably a week or two, with no problems with remaining firm. These were delicious and gone in 3 days in my house.

16 comments:

  1. I love the coconut filling in Almond Joys, so it's hard for me to imagine the homemade filling tasting better.I am very interested in this recipe, but I keep none of the ingredients on hand and it would be a big outlay to buy them initially. But even then, these would be a nice holiday treat. I'll have to give this some more thought and see if in the meantime, I can avoid buying an Almond Joy or Mounds at the store.

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    1. Hi live and learn,
      I was fortunate that I happened to have all of the necessary ingredients. If you do find yourself buying these ingredients, for other baking, you might enjoy making a partial batch.
      As for taste, the homemade filling has the little bit of butter flavor, which I think makes it better than a commercial version. Anyway, if you make them let us know what you think.
      Enjoy your day, live and learn!

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  2. Good Morning,

    Someday I will try these since I love both Almond Joy and Mounds!

    Lili, back to total spending for August. It was bad--$616 for food and $694 all inclusive. Had all 5 people home.

    I made spaghetti sauce from a lot of tomatoes from my dad but I had frozen a lot of peeled tomatoes diced up earlier in the week. Made a beef/bean wet burrito casserole. Combined lots of things that could be combined.

    We have a store called Daily Deals that has wonderful deals but it certainly is NOT an all inclusive store. We got a huge deli ham but we needed to slice it ourselves. I'm not good at slicing thin slices but I did the best I could and got a lot of that in the freezer for sandwich slices this fall. We got a couple of pork tenderloins that were called apple bourbon. I did those in my pressure cooker yesterday and they were delicious. We also got thick sliced bacon for the freezer. All at Daily Deals. Their prices are good.

    Hubby cleaned the porch out for me because I tend to get bad allergies from the pollen that has settled in there. WE sat out there for a good part of Sat. and Sun. and I'm feeling no allergy symptoms.

    Tomorrow is our anniv. so MIL will take us out for dinner tonight. We are going for a morning walk today since it will rain later and we all the day off due to the holiday.

    Alice

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    1. Hi Alice,
      what a wonderful hubby to clean out the porch so you don't have to suffer with allergies out there! This time of year, the grass pollen gets to me. Allergies are awful. I feel for you.

      Daily Deals sounds like an amazing store for you! Are they a chain in the upper midwest? We have a chain named Grocery Outlet, in the west, that can have some pretty good deals.

      Well, so August's spending was more than you'd like. At least you know that September will be less, with fewer adults in the house, now. Wishing you well in grocery shopping for this month!
      Have a lovely day off, Alice.

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  3. Oh my gosh, those look so good, Lili. I love an Almond Joy. I may have to make these for Christmas too. Hope you are doing well and feeling better. Keeping you in good thoughts and prayers. :)

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    1. Hi Belinda,
      First of all, thank you. I am making progress.
      The candy bars are/were really tasty. I think they'll make a wonderful treat at the holidays. If you make them, let us know what you think.
      Have a lovely day off, Belinda!

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  4. Yum! Those sound absolutely delicious. They may have to go on my holiday baking list too!
    Mary

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    1. Hi Mary,
      They were really yummy. And now that I know how to make them, and how relatively easy they were/are, I'll be making them again, when I can afford the calories! Let us know if you make them, and if you come up with any improvements.
      Have a lovely day, Mary!

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  5. Hi Lili,
    They look yummy. I wonder if you could use a bit of coconut oil instead of Crisco, as that will harden up when cold.
    The recipe reminds me of one I copied a few years ago (but have never made) for homemade peppermint patties:
    1/2 cup warm mashed potatoes (mashed with milk ONLY)
    1 TBS shortening
    3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
    7 drops peppermint extract
    melted dark sweet chocolate
    Beat all ingredients EXCEPT chocolate, until smooth.
    Add extra powdered sugar if needed to reach desired consistency. Shape into patties & freeze. Coat with melted chocolate while frozen.
    JoAnn

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    1. Hi JoAnn,
      Yes, I think you can use coconut oil in melting chocolate. I think I've seen that in recipes online before. The two things that adding a fat to melting chocolate need is the ability to firm up when room temp, and no water content (margarine has water added). Water will cause the chocolate to seize up and won't work well for dipping.

      Thanks for the recipe for the peppermint patties. Really good peppermint patties are a favorite with me. I bought peppermint extract with the intention of making some a while ago, and never did. So, I'll give these a try this winter! With the potatoes in the filling, do you know if they need any special storage or do they have a short shelf-life? (Do the potatoes affect shelf-life is what I'm asking.)
      Have a great day, JoAnn!

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    2. Lili,
      I had copied the recipe onto a recipe card and never made them, so I really don't know. I think I would only make them in the winter and keep them in the fridge just to be safe. I think they would be great for gifting and holiday entertaining.
      JoAnn

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  6. Thanks for this recipe, I have about a dozen bags of coconut that I got at a super sale with coupons. I think they ended up being 3/$1.

    I used to work for an employment office. One of the most memorable applicants I processed had worked at a PeterPaul factory in the East. She told me the best things ever was eating fresh, right off the line Almond Joys while they were warm in the center.

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    1. Hi Rhonda,
      Oh, what a deal you got on the coconut! I see a lot of Mounds/Almond Joys, 7-layer bars, and coconut cream pie in your future!!
      Wow, you met someone who had worked in a candy factory. As a kid, of course this would have been my dream job. Have you seen the episode of I Love Lucy, where she works on an assembly line at a candy factory? Very funny episode.

      Have a wonderful day, Rhonda!

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    2. Lili, we must think alike because the Lucy-Ethel scene is exactly what I pictured when I first read her application. But she told me it was nothing like that. Too bad I thought because the way Lucy did it looked fun.

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  7. OK... I'm NOT going to follow that link. In fact, I'm going to use all of my earthly powers to try to wipe this post from my memory banks because otherwise I may as well just adhere the things to my hips. Seriously, I have zero self control with this sort of thing, especially when it involves my very, very favorite candy! (Well... without the almonds since I'm allergic.)

    Really does sound delicious though!

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    1. hahaha...Yes, that is why I would make them only for the holidays. I would eat them all if I didn't make them when having a larger gathering to help with the consumption!
      Mary

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I'm so glad that you stopped by today. Please comment, and let me know what you're thinking.