Coco Choco Clusters Recipe

Toasted coconut, almonds, ground coffee, and good chocolate dropped into little bite-sized chocolate clusters.

Coco Choco Clusters

I was having second thoughts about running this recipe. My plan was to combine toasted coconut, almonds, ground coffee, and good chocolate into little bite-sized clusters. Simply stir all the ingredients together in a big bowl and then spoon the mixture out onto a baking sheet into little mounds. Sort of like a home-made Almond Joys for the cook who cant be bothered to make a real coconut filling, and who certainly doesn't want to do the dunking required to make a chocolate coating. I also thought it might be a fun kids recipe (you could skip the espresso beans). But in the end, they aren't really my thing...

Coco Choco Clusters

I should add, its not that I didn't like the taste or flavor of these. I simply think they are ugly. And they are fussy. But everyone around here seems to love them, Wayne used the word decadent, so I decided to share them with you regardless. A word of warning, while I don't normally encourage refrigerating chocolate - I promise you, if you leave these out in a summertime kitchen (yes, even in San Francisco) they will crumble in your hands. So, keep 'em cool.

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Coco Choco Cluster Recipe

The specifics: I used Marcona almonds (already fried, so I did not toast them) and a 70% Dolfin Chocolate, this amber colored Halen Mon Gold smoked finishing salt, and Blue Bottle Coffee Yemen San'ani - not available on their site right now. To melt the chocolate use a double boiler or if you are like me, and don't own a double-boiler cobble one together using a tiny saucepan set under a larger mixing bowl. Fill the saucepan with an inch or two of water and bring to a simmer - place the big mixing bowl with the chocolate on top of the saucepan and let the heat come up and gently warm the chocolate. Stir occasionally until chocolate is completely melted and remove from heat. Also, make sure all ingredients save the chocolate are at room temp before combining or the chocolate will never set up - for example if the coconut is still hot from toasting.

2 1/2 cups finely shredded unsweetened coconut, lightly toasted and cooled
1/2 cup toasted almonds, cooled and chopped
7-8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon finely ground espresso beans (optional)
a big grain finishing salt - if you can get your hands on a smoked one, great

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. Combine the coconut and almonds in a large bowl. Place the chocolate in a double boiler (or a bowl placed over a bit of simmering water) to melt along with the ground espresso. Pour the chocolate over the coconut mixture and stir to combine. Let cool a few minutes and then drop by the tablespoonful onto baking sheet. Finish with a few grains of salt on top of each. The mixture will be a bit crumbly, but will set as the chocolate cools. If your kitchen is on the cool side the clusters will set up over the course of an hour or so. If you want to speed up the process a bit, pop them in the refrigerator.

Makes 36 clusters.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Comments

If I were to reach for a candy bar an Almond Joy were certainly be the one. These sound great but perhaps they're a bit too dry for your tastes? Seems like they might be with all that coconut. Maybe mixing it with some organic corn syrup or peanut butter would make them more enjoyable.

Oh yum...these sound incredible! Maybe I've been in suburbia too long, but my first thought was "wouldn't these be good plopped on top of tiny pretzels..."

Valerie

I wonder if just the tiniest bit of powdered red pepper (the McCormick's kind, not the kind on the table at Pizza Hut) would make these a little zingier. Hmmm... There has to be something you could do to pretty them up a bit, even if it's just to roll them into spheres instead of dropping them. Might have to add a little more coconut if you do that, though. What if you used what you have above for the middles, and then rolled them in toasted coconut, so they'd be two-toned? I think I'll have to mess around with these at Christmas. Great recipe, thanks! I love all the ingredients, so these would definitely be a winner at my house! Amy @ http://prettybabies.blogspot.com

I used to make something like this for my son when he was little,but sans coffee and used rolled oats instead of coconut. I think these are the "grown up" version and thought they would make a wonderful gift for someone I owe a thank-you. Is this an example of holiday over-indulgence Heidi?

Lynette

Don't worry - I'm not rabid - its just drool a la Homer "hmmmmmmmmm choc-o-late" thanks for the recipe.

They look yummy! Way to go, Heidi! I'm making these for a dinner party we're having for a couple of admirals tomorrow evening. They will be the perfecting ending to our meal. Simple, yet elegant. I'll let you know how they turn out.

Cheri

The recipe resembles one my grandmother made with me when I was little (sans coffee). The main difference is that the mixture was placed in a pan to chill then sliced into bars. Using that process (and maybe the white chocolate drizzle recommended by Sarah) could make something a bit prettier for those who dislike the looks.

Mathi

LOL, gotta love your honesty :)

I think these choc cookies need to look a bit better. They do look ugly but a better presentation is called for to improve their apprearance..

Many dark chocolates are vegan; you might want to tag this as a vegan recipe!

Christine

These look gross and disgusting, but taste just fine-- (a little funny but thinking that was the coconut she used). We're not happy about the coffee keeping us up all night in a sweat. We barely knew what to do with ourselves. C'est la vie.

bill and hill

Is it only me, or these tiny bits look good? I really don't find them ugly, and as the matter of fact, I find "rough" and un touched looking sweets and other baked goods, MORE delicious. Seriously, I like to see chunks and bumps..it looks more tasty this way. And so do these little guys. :) Thanks!

Heidi, I've been lurking for a while, but this is my first comment! Barbara, I just finished making these, and followed the recipe w/ two changes: I only had sweetened coconut, so I used a higher cocoa percentage chocolate. They were delicious!!! The finishing salt added the necessary cut to the sweetness, and the coffee gave it a richness and sophistication that is lacking in other similar chocolate/coconut concoctions. Even my daughter, who has autism and hates mixed textures and will ferret out the nuts in anything, downed these! Great one, we'll be making these again at the holidays - maybe w/ a candied cherry on top!

Rhonda

Oh, dear. I wish someone had tried the recipe and commented on the flavors, etc. rather than focusing on the looks and how to( or not) improve the appearance. Much like the rest of society; we forget that what is inside is what really counts. Have a great day, and if anyone really tries this recipe, let us know how it tastes. Thanks.

Barbara

I never post comments but I just wanted to say that I don't know why there are complaints about the looks of these little bites. They remind me very much of "haystack" cookies, except the insides sound much more tantalizing. My mouth is already curious to try out the texture on my tongue. And while I'm at it, also wanted to mention a word of THANKS to Heidi for so liberally sharing her terrific recipes with us! She makes opening e-mail fun! Keep 'em coming!

Emily

Hmm. If you're worried about the presentation, maybe you drop them into round shaped silicon ice molds or something like it? :)

Halen Mon is a Welsh salt isn't it? They may not be as beautiful as your recipes usually are, but they sound wonderful.

One tip is don't skip the fancy salt at the end, it might not be something your kids like, but makes these a bit more interesting. I ate many more than I should have :)

Wayne

Prettiness doesn't always matter when it comes to chocolate. My aunt's famous (in our family) candy clusters incorporated chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, Chinese noodles and peanuts. They're named Plops (all I'll say is that the name is related to horses) but they are so good!

Mary

Dat looks good i want 2 tri den cause their choclate and i luv choclate

Tionna

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