The Coconut Bar May Have Just Gotten Even Cuter


*You can now purchase my candy bars and marshmallows at http://www.bonbonbar.com/
This may be the new, white chocolate-coated bottom…

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Hehe… Now it looks like a coconut all around.

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It used to look like this inside, and was composed of Passion Fruit Marshmallow, 70% Dark Chocolate Ganache with Shredded Coconut and Rum-Soaked Macadamia Nuts enrobed in Bittersweet Chocolate:

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This bar has been a challenge for me because I love passion fruit, but I’m usually lukewarm about coconut — and the white chocolate that usually accompanies it. But since it’s almost too easy to make this look like a coconut through and through, I can’t very well rename it The Passion Fruit… unless I go at it with a hair dryer.

So, now I’ve been thinking about how to balance this bar as best as I can with a stronger coconut flavor, and today might have been a breakthrough. I thought about how I like coconut best when it’s creamy like in a piña colada, and how white chocolate can make for a creamy ganache… and can be good when it’s well-infused with flavor.

For this version, I made the passion fruit marshmallow that I like so much in the bar, and I paired it with a creamy, coconut-infused white chocolate ganache, with just a touch of rum.

I ate one before I sealed it by “backing” it with tempered chocolate… and I liked it. A lot. The smooth combination of my light ‘n fluffy marshmallow and creamy ganache really did remind me of drinking a piña colada — and the crackly molded chocolate that surrounded them even brought chipped ice to my mind (albeit, my very active mind) and prevented the sweetness from being too cloying. And even better, the passion fruit and coconut flavors were playing well with each other, bringing out the best in each other.

I’d left quite some room btw the top of the ganache and the rest of the shell b/c I’d originally planned to make that “backing” layer a mix of shredded coconut mixed into white chocolate. I was loathe to give up the creaminess, though, I so backed half with the coconut/white chocolate mixture and half with just white chocolate.

I tried both versions, but lo, the magic was gone. Both were too overpowered by the cloying flavor of white chocolate, and the shredded coconut just added to the confusion.

But it’s all about balance. I’m hoping that a thinner layer of white chocolate on the bottom will help, and my form and function ideal will be met. If not, I’ll keep experimenting. If it turns out the white chocolate just doesn’t work taste-wise on the bottom, I’ll have to nix it, no matter how cool I think it looks. I could also try a milk chocolate coconut ganache w/ a white chocolate backing, but the cocoa flavor may be overpowering.

I’m not a huge fan of Malibu rum, so I’m seeing if I can make it better — I have a jar of rum infusing with coconut. That might perk up the coconut flavor… in a few weeks. 🙂

Incidentally, I often think about my candy bars in the context of entremets cakes. I didn’t really enjoy making those in culinary school at the time due to the mousses and bavarians that never quite sparked my taste buds (largely due to their reliance on eggs and gelatin), but I valued them as studies in self-contained layered desserts. Each layer in an entremet cake has its own flavor and texture that must almost be balanced with every other layer, with additional consider of how thick each layer should be in proportion to the others and how they should be arranged. So, for this bar (whose shape happens to mimic a traditional frozen bombe), I really have to concentrate on getting it to come together in all the right proportions.

10 Responses to “The Coconut Bar May Have Just Gotten Even Cuter”

  1. jamie Says:

    omg can i please have some!!!

  2. jamie Says:

    oh hey, what are you using for the coconut flavor? what works really well (if you’re not already doing this) is to use coconut cream or coconut cream powder (you can make this even more concentrated). surfas will likely have it, if not surfas just try an asian supermarket. mitsuwa probably wont have it but marukai or ranch 99 should have it.

    and yes. those are ridiculously cute. i cant wait to eat them alllllllllllllllll.

  3. Tania Says:

    Scrumptious, in every sense of the word (visually, alimentary, etc…)

  4. Nina Says:

    Jamie – Hopefully tomorrow…. 🙂

    Thanks for the suggestion, but I’m using unsweetened dried coconut for flavor for now… though there’s a chance that I’ll use fresh coconuts b/c the flavor really is so nice. I’m just totally neurotic about my ingredients, so I’m trying to use whatever is as close to the fresh original is. It infuses into the cream, so it winds up pretty similar to coconut cream.

    Tania – Thank you. 🙂

  5. JenR in SF Says:

    Great post – I’m loving the development process. I have to say, I’m sort of partial to the coconut passionfruit combo as that was the flavor combo I did for an entremet in school.

  6. Brian Says:

    I can’t believe you’re lukewarm about coconut. I have friends coming into town this weekend and think I’m making a kaffir lime ice cream with chunks of coconut and a lychee jam swirl. I had coconut gelato just last night! I use coconut milk in impromptu faux-Southeast-Asian curries all the time.

    If I could, I would only bathe in full-fat coconut milk.

    I’m not totally sold on passionfruit, though, I have to admit. Maybe it’s just that it tastes too much like artificial “tropical fruit” flavors I had as a kid growing up. But I had Tartine’s passionfruit bavarian, which is coated in coconut flakes, and didn’t really care for it.

  7. fattypr Says:

    i hate anything coconut except for the actual fruit, so i in no way want to try this. that said it is i think the best looking candy/bonbon i’ve ever seen!!!

  8. Nina Says:

    JenR – Yeah, I think that the passionfruit-coconut combination is way more interesting than a pineapple-coconut combination. Though, in all fairness, I’m not crazy about pineapple much, either. 🙂

    Brian – Haha, no low-fat coconut milk bath for you. 🙂 And omg, passion fruit rules! There’s nothing as good as freshly strained passion fruit pulp, although Perfect Puree makes a great puree, too. So sour, a touch sweet, tons of flavor. I don’t like it when it’s cut with other ingredients to make a generic tropical flavor, though. Not to bag on pineapple too much, but when it’s mixed with passion fruit, it totally drains the life out of the pf.

    And wow, coconut mania at your place. I made a coconut sorbet last week from a fresh coconut (my first time I cracked one open, and it was a blast… until it got a little tedious 🙂 ) and it was fantastic.

    fattypr – Aw, thanks! 🙂 So, wait, do you just crack open a coconut and start nibbling?

  9. Brian Says:

    Ooh! You should totally try this:

    http://www.movable-feast.com/2007/07/post.html

    In her gallery of photos from Alinea, check out the third page, second photo, of the Licorice Cake with the Muscovado Sugar — that spun sugar hair would look PERFECT on the outside of these guys to mimic the hairy coconut outside! It’d be hard to get on without ruining the temper of the chocolate, but maybe it wouldn’t matter with the fuzz on there.

    I haven’t tried making that sugar strand stuff. I assume you just make a super-thick syrup of the stuff maybe at the top end of soft crack and then drizzle it from a very great height onto either a big sheet of plastic on the ground or into ice water?

    They’d be like the most time consuming candies ever, but still… so cool!

  10. Nina Says:

    Wow, at least no one would think that it looks like a bowling ball, too, anymore. 🙂 It would look pretty cool, but might be hard to eat… and even harder to put a wrapper on!

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