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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Coconut Nougat Bon-Bons

Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. In this case I managed to both win and lose. My intention was to make a Brazilian treat called Cocada. I found a lovely recipe online at It looked incredibly simple so I set to work.

I gathered all my ingredients and pulled out my trusty medium saucepan. In went the butter, in went the condensed milk, in went the whole milk and coconut. I turned on my stove burner to medium, pulled out my favorite wooden spoon and started stirring. About 3 minutes later I realized I'd forgotten to dump in the sugar. Whoops! Oh well, we weren't that far along what could it hurt? I dumped in my sugar and went back to stirring.

The directions told me that in 5-10 minutes my mixture would thicken and begin to pull away from the sides and bottom of the pan. OK....

Stirring the pot for what seemed forever!
5 minutes. Nothing.

10 minutes. Nothing

15 minutes. Nothing

20 minutes. Nothing

25 minutes. Maybe something? Or am I just wishing and hoping?

30 minutes. OK, I'm pretty sure it's getting thicker.

35 minutes. Bubbly and decidedly thicker. It's beginning to pull away from the bottom like a thick gravy. Is this where I'm supposed to be?

At 35 minutes I'd had enough. Stirring constantly my arm was aching and I was tired of standing. I poured out my mixture on the prepared cookie sheet as directed. It was sort of thick. Maybe it will thicken up more as it sits. Right?

2 hours later. It's sort of like taffy. 24 hours later. Still like taffy. I pull a piece off. Tastes great, but still not a crunchy "coconut bark" in sight. Hmmm....

What to do? Much like my Mama I'm loathe to chunk perfectly good food in the trash. Suddenly, inspiration hit. Why not pull out some melting chocolate and some powdered coconut and make bon-bons (or truffles or whatever you want to call them)? Would it work, though?

A little sprinkle of coconut, a little jelly roll log.

I stuck the nougat/taffy/coconut stuff in the fridge for a couple hours all rolled up in a log. Then I got out a bowl and hit the microwave with my chocolate bits. A minute later I was ready to go. I used a cookie scoop to portion out the nougat then rolled each into a ball by hand. I then dipped them in the chocolate and set them on a cookie sheet lined with non-stick foil to set up. Before each dried I sprinkled them with the powdered coconut.

Know what? They were dang good! Even Michael who doesn't care for coconut said they were great. Take that See's Candies!

So, when life hands you lemons make lemonade and when life hands you nougat instead of Cocada make Bon-Bons!

Coconut Nougat Bon-Bons

Recipe by Buck Bannister adapted from Vanessa Figueiredo
Soft chewy coconut centers enrobed in a decadent blend of dark and milk chocolate.

  • 14 oz. Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 tbs. + extra for work surface butter
  • 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 5 oz. + extra for sprinkling Shredded Coconut
  • 2 cups sugar, sifted
  • 16 oz. dark chocolate melting wafers
  • 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tsp. instant espresso powder or instant coffee crystals
Cooking Directions
  1. Line an even surface with non-stick foil and butter. It may be a baking sheet or a kitchen counter.
  2. Over medium heat, in a medium sized saucepan place the condensed milk, whole milk, butter and coconut. Stir constantly for 3-5 minutes. Add the sugar to the mixture. During this time, keep stirring the mixture.
  3. After 20-35 minutes, the mixture should begin to thicken. When the mixture starts to release from the bottom and from the sides of the saucepan, turn off the heat and spread, evenly, onto the prepared baking sheet/kitchen counter and sprinkle with a little coconut.
  4. Let it cool for 1-2 hours or more. Once it is cooled, it should have a taffy like consistency. (If it is hard, you have successfully made Cocada. Pat yourself on the back and break it into pieces and serve.) Otherwise, roll the nougat up into a roll like a jelly roll, cover with the foil and stick in the refrigerator overnight.
  5. When the nougat has chilled 8-12 hours, take it out of the refrigerator and prepare for the dipping.
  6. Line a baking sheet or flat surface with non-stick foil or wax paper and set aside.
  7. In a small bowl (preferably with steep sides) melt the chocolate and milk chocolate in the microwave. Use 30 second increments and stir between each one until chocolate is smooth. Stir in the espresso powder or coffee crystals.
  8. Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop up some of the nougat. Roll into a ball using your hands. (It will be sticky.) Dip the ball into the chocolate and cover completely. Place the covered piece on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with a little powdered coconut.
  9. Allow all pieces to cool and then store in a cool, dry area for up to 2 weeks.
  10. Note: To make the powdered coconut place shredded coconut in a blender or spice grinder until finely chopped. If you want a crisper coconut you can toast it before grinding.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Total time: 60 minutes
Yield: 30 pieces
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