I have always wanted to make dark chocolate coated Almond Joy candies at home and when I learned that the current Lasang Pinoy theme is coconut I immediately thought now is the perfect time to make them. The event is being hosted by Kai of bucaio and the name gave me the idea of filling the candies with bucayo instead of plain white coconuts. The candies are so delicious, I can eat them all day. I kept popping one in my mouth while photographing them. And for an interesting added flavor I toasted the shredded coconut in a 400 degree oven until it has turned dark brown and burnt at the top. This is called burnt coconut which I read about in Amy Besa's cookbook Memories of Philippine Kitchens. She writes "one of the most exciting discoveries of Filipino cooking techniques happened in Tiaong, Quezon" when she visited the potter/artist UGO BIGYAN who showed her how to prepare burnt coconut. He returns the freshly grated coconut back into the shell/husk and places a live coal on top to burn the coconut. The milk extracted from the burnt coconut gives a smoky barbecue flavor to any dish, dessert, or dipping sauce. I might try that in the summer and will make his suggestion of adding a little grated green mango and chiles before extracting the milk for a slightly tart, smoky flavor with a little bit of spice.
I made a second recipe of bucayo with plain grated coconut which is so good as pan de sal filling or to spread on toasts. Although the plain and burnt coconut bucayos are equally delicious, the burnt coconut is simply superb when paired with dark chocolate, they complement each other very well.
2 cups grated fresh coconut
2 cups packed dark brown sugar or 1 pair panocha
juice/water of 1 buco (young coconut), reserve 1 tablespoon meat of 1 buco, cut into 1-inch strings
2 tablespoons cornstarch
toasted whole almonds
dark chocolate chips
- Put the sugar and buco water in a medium non-stick sauce pan and boil on medium-high heat, uncovered, until sugar has dissolved and the mixture has thickened, about 20 minutes. Add the grated coconut and cook for 20 minutes. Mix the cornstarch with the reserved buco water and stir in thoroughly. Add the buco meat, stir cook until coconuts are completely coated with syrup. Continue to cook while stirring until very thick, about 10 -15 minutes.
- Turn the heat off, transfer mixture into a shallow container and let cool for 10 minutes. Line an 8-inch square pan with plastic film. Transfer bucayo into the pan. Cover with another piece of film, press the mixture to compact evenly. Freeze for 1 hour. Remove from freezer and cut into 1-inch squares. Put one almond on top of each square, press slightly. Dip in tempered chocolate and let set on the counter.
Check out these coconut dishes and desserts from my archives:
Maryland/Virginia Blue Crab
Coconut Leche Flan With Caramelized Macapuno
Guinatan Halo halo