Chocolate Coconut Haystacks, or, The Best Stuff Ever
Toasted coconut + chocolate = heaven, in my book. When I was a kid and we went those chocolate shops in the mall – you know, the ones where you could buy individual confections – I would always choose the chocolate coconut haystacks. They were so ridiculously good!
Anyway, this is crazy yummy stuff. I make these all the time, and people always ask for the recipe. These chocolate coconut haystacks look so fancy but couldn’t be simpler to make. Shh, don’t tell anyone! I also give these as gifts, especially around the holidays. Wrap them in some pretty cellophane bags and tie up with ribbon for a beautiful handmade gift for neighbors, teachers and others. They round out a holiday cookie tray nicely, and no two are alike, kinda like snowflakes. For Easter, you could try making these into nest shapes and fill them with candy “eggs” for cute treats. I like bringing a plate of these to parties because often there are no gluten free or allergy friendly desserts. And I don’t care what anyone says – fruit doesn’t count as a dessert!!
If you’re not dealing with a milk or soy allergy, feel free to use regular chocolate chips. I use Enjoy Life brand semi-sweet chocolate, which is allergy friendly. I’ve made these with milk chocolate chips and they were a hit as well. If you can have almonds, try toasting up a 1/4 cup of sliced almonds and mixing them in with the toasted coconut. (Melt and use an extra 1/4 cup of chocolate if you add almonds.) I sometimes made it that way before my son developed a tree nut allergy, and it was delicious. But these are really great without nuts and you won’t miss a thing – I actually prefer them without almonds. As written, this recipe is gluten free, dairy free, tree nut free, soy free, peanut free, egg free, top eight allergen free, and seed free. I plan to bring these to the next school bake sale so there is a treat available that anyone can enjoy, regardless of food allergies.
I make these sometimes when I’m craving sweets but don’t have anything ready-made – they come together so quickly. You don’t even have to turn on the big oven. I now use the toaster oven to speed things up and generate less heat during the summer. I’m willing to bet that you’ll add this recipe to your permanent collection!
Chocolate Coconut Haystacks Recipe
2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks (Enjoy Life brand is free of dairy, gluten, soy and the other top 8 allergens)
Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400 degrees. Spread coconut in an even layer on a baking tray and place in the oven. Check after a few minutes, and then keep checking often and stir it up, until most of the coconut is light brown and toasted up nicely. (The time varies greatly, depending on how much you’re making, whether you use a toaster oven or regular oven, and how moist your coconut is. That sounds a little dirty, doesn’t it.) Remove the tray from the oven and set aside.
Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Melt the chocolate slowly in the microwave, stirring after 20 seconds. Continue cooking in 10 second increments, stirring after each time, until all of the chocolate is melted.
Add the toasted coconut to the melted chocolate, and stir well until all of the coconut is coated. Line a tray or plate with wax paper. Using a small cookie scoop or spoon, scoop out small amounts of the mixture, and place on the tray. Refrigerate to cool and firm up. Store in the fridge, but bring to room temperature before serving.
Makes approximately 30 – 32 chocolate coconut haystack candies.