Every year my mother-in-law in upstate New York makes trays and trays of candies and cookies for the holidays— classic treats like peanut butter balls and chocolate jumbos. The kids go CRAZY when those trays come out and the adults turn into kids as they quickly call “dibs” on their favorites.
I decided to carry on the tradition of the baking smorgasbord but with a Santa Barbara twist. That’s how these Mexican Coconut Truffles were born. The first bite is sweet and chocolaty and then it ends with spicy kick — in a cozy wrap-me-in-a-cashmere-scarf kind of a way.
These are delicious with the added bonus that they’re about as healthy as you can get in a chocolate covered snack and gluten free, truthfully, I was making these babies long before this gluten free craze. I think it was called the Atkins diet? The best part as we hit the frantic frenzy that hopefully slides us into silent nights, these are so easy to whip up.
My girls have reached the long awaited time where they can be set free in the kitchen, maybe more like free-ish. This recipe is forgiving, if a little bit more of this and a little less of that falls in the bowl; these truffles will still be great. Over at our casa, we are leaving Santa a little taste of Santa Barbara along with some carrots for the reindeer pulled straight from the dirt— all I’m saying is he better not land his damn sleigh in my rose garden.
Mexican Coconut Truffles
Makes 16 bite size balls
1 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate
1 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp vanilla
Line two cookie sheets with either parchment paper or a silpat.
First, toast the coconut in a dry skillet on medium heat until light golden and fragrant. Use a heat-safe spatula to move the coconut around and ensure even toasting; it’s about five minutes. Once you see the coconut start to brown, pull it off the stove as it will continue to brown a bit more in the pan.
Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in 20-second increments, stirring the bowl of chocolate after each beep. At my house, this is usually a total of four 20-second rounds. The last time you zap the chocolates there will be some little chunks still, just stir until it all melts completely — have faith, it will.
Next, add the toasted coconut, spices, and vanilla to the chocolate bowl. Using a small ice cream scooper (about 2 tablespoons in size) drop balls onto the parchment. Let sit for about 30 minutes or until they solidify. Once hardened, store in a sealed container until ready to serve or gift.