In Our Kitchen: Recipe for Rich Coconut Pops
Ileana Morales Valentine | Special to the Times
A homemade version of Magic Shell, adorned with cacao nibs, toasted coconut and coconut flakes, coats Rich Coconut Pops.
I was always that kid who actually liked coconut. Let me take all those Almond Joys off your hands, I'd say, smiling as I pocketed the Halloween candy.
Nothing has changed in that regard, though it seems like coconut has been getting a lot more love than it did when I was a kid.
Coconut milk is now nearly as common as soy milk as a dairy alternative, a fact cemented by its offering at Starbucks. And there are dozens of Pinterest pins about all of the uses for coconut oil. One of the best ways? Melt it with chocolate for a homemade version of Magic Shell, that chocolate coating of my '90s youth. Combined with coconut oil, the chocolate hardens about 30 seconds after coating an ice pop or ice cream.
Which brings us to this week's recipe: coconut pops. My ice pop mold was a worthy investment a few summers ago. I shared a bright, fruity ice pop recipe a few weeks ago to kick off the icy treat season, but the latest ice pops to hit my freezer are worth sharing, too. These rich coconut pops are extra creamy from the use of coconut cream (not to be confused with cream of coconut, its much sweeter cousin). Coconut cream is a more concentrated version of coconut milk. Sweetened condensed milk adds some needed sweetness, and a bit of shredded coconut brings texture to the pops.
The gorgeous white pop is drizzled in the easy-to-make chocolate coating I mentioned above, adding contrast in both color and flavor as well as a canvas for toppings. I used toasted coconut flakes and cacao nibs for drama, but feel free to use sprinkles or any other topping you'd like. Just be sure to work quickly to adhere the toppings to the chocolate before it completely hardens, or the pop begins to melt. It's hot out there.
Ileana Morales Valentine lives in St. Petersburg with her husband. For more of their kitchen stories, visit her blog, ALittleSaffron.com. Say hello at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2016 Tampa Bay Times
Rich Coconut Pops
For the ice pop:
½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes (these are thicker than shredded coconut flakes)
14 ounces coconut cream or full-fat coconut milk
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
½ cup sweetened shredded coconut, plus more for garnish
Pinch of coarse salt
Cacao nibs, for garnish
For the chocolate coating:
3 ½ ounces dark chocolate
⅓ cup coconut oil
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Arrange unsweetened coconut flakes in an even layer on a sheet pan and bake for about 3 minutes or until toasted.
Shake can of coconut cream or milk before using. In a large bowl, whisk together coconut cream, sweetened condensed milk, shredded coconut and salt. Carefully pour mixture into an ice pop mold, making sure not to fill each mold to the top, as the mixture will expand as it freezes. If your ice pop mold has a lid to hold sticks, go ahead and insert now. If not, insert sticks after the pops have been in the freezer for about an hour. Freeze pops for at least 4 hours or overnight. (Editor's note: If you don't have an ice pop mold, get creative. We've made similar pops by pouring the mixture in smaller quantities into an ice cube tray or small drinking glasses.)
To make the chocolate coating, break up chocolate into several pieces and add to a medium microwave-safe bowl. Add coconut oil. Microwave in 15-second bursts, stirring between each round, until chocolate and oil are melted and combined, a total of about 45 seconds. The liquid mixture will be thin. Note: Chocolate coating will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for several months. If it separates over time, shake before using.
Run your ice pop mold under running water to help release the pops. Working quickly, drizzle chocolate coating over ice pop. (You can use a spoon or transfer chocolate to a squeeze bottle.) Add toasted coconut or shredded coconut flakes and cacao nibs immediately to adhere to chocolate coating, which takes about 30 seconds to set. Serve immediately (or place on a small baking sheet and pop back in the freezer to firm up before serving).
Makes 10 ice pops.
Source: Ileana Morales Valentine