AND…….I’m back. It’s been a few months (or six, but who’s counting?), so here’s a quick laundry list of what’s been keeping me away from my beloved baking blog:
- Get cookbook #1, 175 Best Mini Pie Recipes, edited and published: CHECK (You can see the book sitting comfortably over there on the sidebar–shameless self plug #1.)
- Migrate Peanut Butter and Julie blog from Typepad to WordPress without pulling my hair out in the process: CHECK, but it was a close call. (Bloggers, you totally get what I mean. Non-bloggers, just feel sorry for me.) During this process, several random archived and half-written posts went out to my subscribers. You might have received one. Sorry.
- Finish manuscript for cookbook #2, 100 Best Decorated Cookie Recipes: CHECK (She’s over there sitting just under cookbook #1–shameless self plug #2.)
- Sleep. Finishing a manuscript is exhausting. CHECK.
- Read WordPress for Dummies, so I have at least a little bit of a clue as to what I am doing now that the above migration has successfully occurred — CHECK. Those Dummies books are a Godsend.
- Finally, BAKE……..and bake and bake and bake and bake and bake, with a little bit of cooking thrown in for good measure. CHECK. A blogging hiatus REALLY makes you miss blogging, so I’ve being coming up with lots of new recipe ideas for future posts.
And speaking of posts, on to today’s sweet treat (cue applause.)
Raise your hand if you like to eat candy bars chilled or frozen.
If you didn’t raise your hand, I’m sorry to say that you are missing out. Maybe it’s because I’ve lived in a warm climate most of my life, and melted chocolate attached to your wrapper as you peel it off a Twix bar is a major bummer. Or, maybe it’s because a cold or frozen package of Rolos almost demands that you eat them more slowly, their caramel center becoming even more dense and chewy. Whatever the reason, I’ve always had a habit of eating chocolate candy bars cold.
Which is how I enjoy eating these mini pies. Note that these are mini pies, which is sweet tooth speak for “Yes, you may eat the whole pie.” Mini pies rock.
These chocolate covered handheld lovelies were inspired by one of my very favorite candy bars, which I of course enjoy chilled, the Almond Joy. This recipe is almost a replica of one in my book, however, in the book it is called “Chocolate Covered Coconut Almond Pies.” I probably wasn’t allowed to call them “Almond Joy Pies” in the book due to trademark something or other. But I’m a rebel, so I’m calling them “Almond Joy Hand Pies” on my blog.
This recipe has three moving parts: the chocolate crust, the filling and the ganache, but they each come together fairly easily so don’t let that keep you from chocolate covered coconut heaven! And yes, you by all means may use a store-bought crust — it will just change the flavor to butter vs. chocolate, (unless you know about some store bought chocolate crust that exists–in that case, do tell!)
I’ll be back soon with another sweet treat. Thanks so much for waiting around for me!
This handheld treat is inspired by one of my favorite candy bars. Although its chewy coconut center tastes great warm or at room temperature, these pies are really at their best chilled, when the ganache coating becomes fudgy and the coconut filling dense.
- 3 cups (750 mL) all-purpose flour
- 6 tbsp (90 mL) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 6 tbsp (90 mL) granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
- 8 oz (250 g) cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) cold buttermilk
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) sweetened condensed milk
- 2/3 cup (150 mL) confectioners' sugar
- 2 cups (500 mL) sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 large egg white
- 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
- 1 tsp (5 mL) almond extract (optional)
- 1/8 tsp (.5 mL) salt
- 1 large egg lightly beaten with 1 tbsp (15 mL) water
- 32 whole almonds
- 1 cup (250 mL) heavy whipping cream
- 10 oz (300 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) unsalted butter, room temperture
- 1/8 tsp (.5 mL) salt
- In a food processor, pulse flour, cocoa powder, sugar and salt to combine.
- Scatter butter pieces over the top and pulse several times, until pieces are size of small peas.
- In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and egg yolk.
- Drizzle half of the buttermilk mixture over flour mixture; pulse 4-5 times to combine. Add more of mixture, 1 tbsp at a time, pulsing after each addition, just until dough begins to hold together in moist clumps.
- Transfer dough to a large piece of plastic wrap and shape into a ball. Flatter into a disk and wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate for at least one hour (and up to 2 days) before using.
- In a large bowl, stir together condensed milk, confectioners' sugar, coconut, egg white, extracts and salt.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out Dark Chocolate Pie dough to slightly thicker than 1/16 inch (2 mm) thick. Using a 5-inch (12.5 cm) cutter, cut dough into rounds and place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing apart. Reroll scraps as necessary.
- Using a pastry brush, brush edges of rounds with egg wash. Place about 2 tbsp coconut filling in center of each round. Press 2 almonds into filling, side by side. Fold rounds in half, enclosing filling. Pinch edges together to seal, and crimp with tines of a fork. Brush tops with egg wash.
- Place pies, on baking sheets, in freezer for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, position oven racks in upper and lower thirds positions and preheat oven to 375F (190C).
- Using tip of a sharp knife, cut 3 slits in top of each pie. Bake pies in preheated oven for 22-28 minutes, switching positions of baking sheets halfway through, until puffed and browned. Cool completely.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring cream to a simmer.
- Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Add warm cream and set aside for 2 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Add butter and salt and whisk until smooth.
- Drizzle warm ganache over cooled pies and let cool until set.
- Serve pies chilled (my preference!) or at room temperature.
These pies can be fully assembled and frozen for up to one month. Freeze for at least 30 minutes on trays, then transfer to zip top bags and seal. Bake from frozen, as directed.