Please don’t say they taste like Mounds bars

dish of coconut squares

Coconut squares

Confections-making season has finally arrived! The long, hot, humid summer of 2013 was finally behind me, so with renewed aplomb I dived into Peter Greweling’s Coconut Squares from his book, Chocolates and Confections, 2nd edition. I do not remember why I chose this recipe, though I had been anticipating making the squares for some time. I bought the dessicated coconut about a month before attempting the recipe, and about two months before bought several bottles of inverted sugar and four 15-inch caramel rulers from JBPrince. A satisfying splurge, indeed. (The caramel rulers, not the chocolate squares.)

The procedure was rather straightforward: cook some sugar syrup, moisten the coconut with the sugar syrup, then cook up a lot of sugar syrup, and add that syrup, plus some frappe (or marshmallow creme) to the coconut. Mix it all together well, then spread into a 12×12-inch frame. Let set. Coat one side of the slab with bittersweet chocolate. When the chocolate sets, flip the slab and cut into 1-inch squares. Dip each square in tempered chocolate, add a little swooshy-swoosh flourish with a dipping fork, then sprinkle on a few strands of dessicated coconut.

They looked great and tasted pretty darn good. I brought some into work and received a few “Fabulous! Tastes just like a Mounds bar!” comments. Yikes! If I wanted to present substandard, cheap confections to my colleagues I would have hopped across the street to CVS to get a sack of Fun-Size Mounds instead of spending much of my weekend and spare change creating coconut squares.

In the interest of understanding and perfecting my craft, I did a Mounds – homemade-coconut-square taste test.

The coconut-filling taste was almost the same, but homemade had brighter flavor. The chocolate of Mounds bar was soft, not snappy, and was a dull, ugly brown with machine-engineered “waves.” And the chocolate has a wimpy flat taste. The chocolate on the homemade specimen, of course, had a beautiful shine and snap — and a rich chocolate taste.

Not a big fan either way, though; I prefer rich, creamy, dreamy fillings. Wish I could remember why I chose to make these to begin with.

Elizabeth LaBau’s Peppermint Swirl Marshmallows

Peppermint swirl marshmallows

The marshmallows have a nice texture and flavor, but getting the swirl right was more difficult than I had thought it would be. (Click on image to see larger photo.)

I do not plan to post the recipe here; see LaBau’s book The Sweet Book of Candy Making, Quarry Press, 2012, p.116-117 for more information.

Elizabeth LaBau’s Peppermint Swirl Marshmallows are a no-frills basic marshmallow recipe with the addition of a marbling effect on the top done with red food coloring and a toothpick.

I had gel food coloring but it was not the type you could “drizzle over the top of the marshmallow in a random pattern.” But I did the best I could. My one regret was I did not block off any time this weekend to temper chocolate and dip these marshmallows — while I was cutting the marshmallows I was thinking, GEE I REALLY WISH I HAD TIME TO DIP THESE IN CHOCOLATE — THEY’D BE AWESOME!! But they’re pretty darned good without any coating. I’ll soon test them in a cup of steaming hot cocoa.

I guess I’ll have to make another batch of marshmallows for dipping in the near future . . .