These morsels of chocolate-y bliss are my childhood’s definition of the Christmas holidays. If these weren’t being made, you might as well just haul the tree to the curb and call the whole thing off.
Yes, yes, I know that there is more to the meaning of Christmas than a bunch of candy but try telling that to a 7 year old with a chocolate addiction. Good luck with that, let me know how it goes. Regardless, I could always count on my mom putting these out with the other treats for the holidays. I was not allowed to help, though. Not because I would mess it up, but because I “sampled” a little too much. Hey, you’ve got to have quality control, right??
I’m not sure where my mom got the recipe for these. They may have been from an old cookbook, or a label on a can of evaporated milk. Wherever it came from, I’d really like to thank the person who came up with the idea, because you done good. Not only are they delicious, reminiscent of an “Mounds” candy bar, but they are rather easy to prepare. They also last a long time (especially if I’m not around), so they can be made in advance for whatever gathering you decide to serve them at.
Some quick notes before you begin:
Though this was our family’s tradition to serve them at Christmas, they are perfect for anytime of the year. I don’t suggest them for an outdoor picnic in the middle of summer, because you know, chocolate melts. However, as long as it isn’t too warm they should be fine.
Be sure to use evaporated milk and not sweetened condensed milk. As the name implies, the sweetened condensed milk has additional sugar in it and will make these overly sweet.
Regular milk should also be avoided because of it’s moisture content. Evaporated milk has been cooked down to release water until the milk is half the volume as before. The water in regular milk will cause the solids in the chocolate to sieze and turn it into a chalky lump. Not what we’re going for here.
There are different types of shredded coconut available. These use the sweetened coconut shreds. Unsweetened flakes of coconut will be too dry and not have the same rich coconut flavor.
This recipe was designed to use semi-sweet chocolate chips, but bittersweet or dark chocolate should work as well if you prefore a more robust chocolate flavor. Unsweetened chocolate is not recommended and milk chocolate is just gross, in my not-so-humble opinion.
Don’t skip the step of sifting your powdered sugar. This will help avoid having lumps of powdered sugar in your chocolate. Sounds neat, but isn’t really.
When rolling the chocolate, your hands will get gooey. You’ll want to scrape them off every once in a while to minimize how much more chocolate will stick to your hands. Then you’ll just have to eat the chocolate you scraped off. I know, it’s terrible to think about.
Coconut-Chocolate Snow Balls
- 6 ounces (by weight) semi-sweet chocolate
- 1/3 cup evaporated milk
- 4 ounces (by weight) sifted powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- sweetened flaked/shredded coconut (approximately 4 ounces by weight)
Combine the chocolate and milk in a sauce pot and heat on low until the chocolate is nearly melted. Remove from heat and stir until the mixture is smooth. You could also do this in a microwave proof bowl heating for 20 seconds at a time and stirring in between.
Add the powdered sugar and nuts and mix until thoroughly combined. Place the mixture in the refrigerator to cool. The mixture needs to harden enough to be able to be rolled. If you have to leave it in the fridge for an extended amount of time before you can roll the candies, allow it to warm at room temperature just until it is soft enough to scoop with a spoon and roll.
Put the coconut into a shallow tray or plate. Roll the chocolate into small balls. These are meant to be bite-sized treats so aim for 3/4 of an inch across in size (about 2 cm for you metrics folks). Immediately roll each ball into the coconut until coated all around. Set aside until all the chocolate is used.
Store the chocolates in an air tight container or on a platter thoroughly covered with plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out and becoming stale. They can be frozen for longer storage but be sure to wrap them well. Enjoy!