Most of the time I try to avoid making candy in the summertime, but this recipe has completely changed my mind. There’s no standing over a bubbling pot of sugar and no candy thermometer involved. In fact, the only cooking required can be done in the microwave.
I call these candy bars Pecan Joys. Consider them the southern cousin of that other ubiquitous almond variety. (smile)
Below you’ll find a short video of the candy-making process to give you an idea of the work involved. It’s pretty simple and straight-forward. I was thisclose to adding some caramel bits to the coconut candy, but I decided to keep the recipe basic. But wouldn’t that be awesome? I imagine it would be like a cross between a caramel-pecan turtle and a Mounds chocolate bar… mmmmm!
Honestly, I can’t wait to make these at Christmastime. I know. Who thinks about Christmas in July? Confession: me to the 900th power. There is never a time when I’m not thinking about holiday baking and confectionery. I live for it.
See? Simple ingredients, uncomplicated instructions. You can do this!
The dipping part is the messiest. Whenever there’s melted chocolate involved, I will somehow walk away with a smear on both elbows. How does that always happen? (Is it just me?)
Store these in the refrigerator in an air-tight container and they’ll keep for 7 to 10 days. I like to eat them cold sometimes, but the flavors are more developed if you let the candy bars come to room temperature before eating them.
Pecan Joy Candy Bars
- 1 pound sweetened flake coconut
- 1 pound confectioners’ sugar
- 3 ounces pecan pieces
- 1 can 14 ounce sweetened condensed milk
- 78 pecan halves about 6 ounces
- 24 ounces semisweet chocolate chips two 12-ounce bags
- 1/4 cup vegetable shortening divided
- Combine the coconut and confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl. Stir well with a rubber spatula. If you see clumps of coconut sticking together as you stir, break them apart with your fingers or will the edge of a spatula. Stir in the 3 ounces pecan pieces until evenly dispersed.
- Add the sweetened condensed milk and stir with a sturdy spatula or wooden spoon. The mixture will be very thick. Use your hands to incorporate all the ingredients when it gets too difficult to stir together using a utensil. When all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, gather the candy in to a ball and place it on a sheet of parchment. Divide the ball in two pieces. Working with one piece at a time, shape the dough by rolling it under your palms and squeezing it into a 13-inch long tube/log shape. Roll each log in a piece of waxed paper and twist the ends; freeze until firm, about 40 minutes.
- Work with one piece of frozen dough at a time. Unroll it from the waxed paper and flatten it gently. Cut each piece into 1×3-inch pieces using a bench scraper or pizza cutter. Arrange the pieces on large baking sheet covered in waxed paper. Repeat the cutting/arranging process with remaining candy log.
- Place 12 ounces of chocolate chips in a large microwave safe bowl. Add 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening. Heat in the microwave at 100% power at 30 second increments until the candy and shortening can be stirred smooth. Let cool slightly. Dip cut pieces of candy, one at a time, into the chocolate using two forks to turn the candy. Place the dipped candy back onto the waxed paper. While the chocolate is unset, add 3 pecan halves on top. Repeat until 13 candy bars are dipped and decorated with the pecan halves. Let the candy bars set, about 3 hours, or speed setting time by refrigerating them.
- Repeat the process with the second 12 ounces and 2 tablespoons of shortening, and the remaining 13 pieces of coconut candy.
- Store the candy bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.