Almond Jays


For the filling:

10 ounces finely shredded sweetened coconut (about 3 1/4 cups)
6 tablespoons light corn syrup
54 whole roasted and salted almonds (about 2 ounces)

For the chocolate coating:
1 1/2 pounds milk chocolate couverture or coarsely chopped milk chocolate


For the filling:

Line a baking sheet with waxed or parchment paper; set aside.
Combine coconut and corn syrup in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade. Pulse until coconut is finely ground and mixture holds shape when squeezed into a ball, about 30 (1-second) pulses.

Divide coconut mixture into 27 (2-teaspoon) portions. Work each portion between hands until it is compact and smooth. Shape each portion into a 2-1/2-inch-long, 1-inch-wide rectangle (when forming filling, it helps to rinse hands often with water).
Set rectangles on the baking sheet and place in the freezer until firm, at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile, temper chocolate.

For the chocolate coating:

To temper chocolate, fill a large bowl with 2 inches of cold water, add 3 to 4 ice cubes, and set aside.
Bring a medium saucepan filled with 1 to 2 inches of water to a simmer over high heat; once simmering, turn off heat. Place 18 ounces of the chocolate in a dry heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over the saucepan and stir until chocolate is completely melted and reaches 118°F. (Make sure chocolate does not come in contact with water or exceed 120°F. If either happens, start over, as the chocolate is no longer usable.)
Remove the bowl from the saucepan. Add remaining 6 ounces chocolate and stir until all chocolate is melted and cools to 80°F. To speed the cooling process, after all chocolate has melted place the bowl over the reserved cold-water bath.

Return the bowl to the saucepan and stir until chocolate reaches 86°F; immediately remove from heat. Do not remove the thermometer from the bowl; check the temperature periodically to make sure it stays between 85°F and 87°F. (Chocolate must remain in this temperature range while dipping or it will not set up properly.) Keep the saucepan over low heat and use it to reheat chocolate as necessary.
To test if chocolate is properly tempered, spread a thin layer on parchment paper and place it in the refrigerator for 3 minutes to set. If chocolate hardens smooth and without streaks, it is properly tempered. (If it is not properly tempered, you need to repeat the process.)

Remove coconut pieces from the freezer. With a dinner fork, individually dip almonds into tempered chocolate, tapping the fork several times on the edge of the bowl. Scrape the bottom of the fork against the edge of the bowl to remove any excess chocolate. Place two almonds on each coconut piece with pointed ends facing inward. Once finished, return the baking sheet to the freezer until chocolate is set, at least 10 minutes. (Monitor melted chocolate to make sure it stays in temper.)

Once chocolate almonds are set, remove coconut fillings from the freezer and individually dip them into tempered chocolate with a dinner or dipping fork. Tap the fork several times on the edge of the bowl, and scrape the bottom of the fork against the edge of the bowl to remove any excess chocolate.
Place Almond Jays on the baking sheet by tilting the fork so the edge of each candy bar touches the parchment-lined pan, then smoothly pull the fork out. Repeat until all candy bars have been dipped. Let sit at room temperature until completely set, at least 20 minutes.

Trim any excess chocolate from edges of candy bars and place Almond Jays in an airtight container. Almond Jays will last up to three weeks in the refrigerator or up to two months in the freezer. Let come to room temperature before serving.

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