Intro: Easy, Homemade "Mounds" Candies
This is one of my family's recipes. I think its one of the greatest, but I'll let you decide when we're done. The recipe has been in our family for at least 40 years. My mom passed it down to me after learning it from my grandma. It's easy and tastes wonderful. On top of that, you may pick up some chocolate dipping tips.
Factoid: The first Mounds Bars were sold in 1920 for 5 cents a piece, then packages as 2 for still only 5 cents.
Gotta love Wikipedia!!
We all know that person in our neighborhood, apartment building or family who bakes and makes candies during the holidays. If that's you, then this will be a piece of cake... or candy in this case. If your the person who watches in amazement, well here's your chance to wow your friends and family.
Caution: This recipe contains nuts, pecans actually!
Another Caution: this recipe makes a gazillion!
P.S. This is my first Instructable so be constructive and nice.
Step 1: Our Ingredients and Tools
Here's what you need to make these wonderful little candies.
A blender or food processor to chop the pecans.
Double broiler or microwave safe dish to melt chocolate.
Sharp knife, spatula, and a good strong spoon.
Cooling rack, helpful but optional.
For those who know a bit about cooking, I'll let you cheat. Here's the recipe.
(Don't worry if this is meaningless to you, I'm going to walk you through this.)
Mix in a large bowl:
3 cups finely chopped pecans
1 pound sweetened coconut
1 box (1 pound) powdered sugar (4x or 10x, doesn't matter)
1 can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk (has to be Eagle Brand!)
Mix well. Form into logs to cut or roll into ball to dip.
Melt 12 oz chocolate chips in a double broiler. Dip pieces and cool on wax paper.
You can use different types of chocolate and add paraffin.
There's the basic recipe.
Now for anyone who's eyes glazed over at that part, on to the finer points...
Step 2: Finely Chop Pecans
I'm not necessarily a southern belle, but I am from the southern United States. Pecan trees are everywhere, so I, naturally. got mine off my dad's trees. You can buy them in stores, or so I hear.
Finely chop them, and I mean FINE. I'm not even going to use a chopper on this recipe. A blender works great. (Don't forget to clean out the margarita mix first. That's a different instructable.)
Blend about 1/4 cup at a time until they're ground up. Empty them into a bowl, using a spatula to clean the small bits out of the bottom. This step takes a little while but it's worth it. You don't want big chunks of pecans in this recipe.
You could probably also use a food processor but I don't have one so I used a blender.
Step 3: Mix It Up!!
Dump the pecans into a big bowl. Really big! This will get messy if you don't have a big bowl!!
Now dump a one pound bag of sweetened coconut into your huge bowl .
Add a one pound box of powdered sugar into the bowl. It doesn't matter if it's 4x or 10x.
Factoid: Powdered sugar is just refined sugar and cornstarch.
Stir everything in the bowl together until combined.
Pour in a can of Eagle Brand milk. Yup, only one can. It will get tough to stir so after you get the puddles of Eagle Brand milk mixed in, take off your rings and get into it with your hands. It's gooey and messy but easier to mix up.
Step 4: Form the Candies
I like giving people choices, so now I'll give you a choice.
You can either spend the rest of the afternoon rolling all this stuff into tiny balls, risking the chance of fatigue, exhaustion, borderline insanity, and a sense of ominous forboding...
...or you can form them into logs, stick these logs in the freezer for 30 minutes and cut them into "Mounds" shaped slices. (You will have to decide how to use that 30 minutes, so don't say I didn't warn you.)
Hmmm...wonder which we are going to do?
Method 1: Making small ball candies. Just pinch off a little bit, roll them into balls. Make them as big or as small as you want. Remember the smaller you make them, the more you have to make. Trust me, the first one's will be nice, cute, and petite. After you've been making them an hour, they'll be the size of baseballs "just to get the #$%&* things done!!" If you do decide on this method, there is one bit of good news... You get to skip step 5! Woo-hoo!!
Method 2: Making logs. Form them into a roll/log and put them on wax paper. Go ahead and roll them up in the wax paper because you'll be putting them in the freezer. This will help them not get dried out and crusty.
Putting them in the freezer helps a lot. The logs are a pain to cut when they are soft. So, about 30 minutes in the freezer will firm them up and make your life a lot easier.
And, sorry, but you'll have to use part of your 30 minute break
Step 5: 30 Minutes Later...
For those who chose method one, feel free to do any hand stretches that you know to help relieve any cramps. Then move on ahead, you don't need this step.
For those who chose method two, get your logs out of the freezer.
They should be nice and firm... easy to cut. You're going to slice the logs apart, but read ahead before you do or this could get difficult.
You can flatten the tops and bottoms of the log so when you cut them they are "Mounds" shaped. I'm not all that concerned but it looks neat. The key to them is how thick each slice is.
"How thick do we slice them?" you ask.
I'll answer with my mom's stand-by answer. "Thick enough."
Okay, the response sounds like an evasion, but it's true. Too thin (less than 1/4 inch) and they will fall apart in the chocolate. Too thick and the coconuts, sugar, and pecans kind of overpower the chocolate. About a centimeter or about 1/2 inch is ideal.
To make an Almond Joy, you could add an Almond to the top of the piece. I'm not a fan of almonds so this wasn't done. You can also add other things as well, but remember that anything you add will be dipped in hot chocolate. M&M's probably won't work so well.
Step 6: Adding the Chocolate Coating.
First we need to melt the chocolate for dipping. One bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips works well. You can also use the fancy dipping chocolate but you'll pay more money.
A double broiler works great!! It keeps the chocolate hot longer and you have more control over not burning the chocolate because of the indirect heat. Or if you have a pot and a Pyrex bowl, they will be more than enough for this project. Pyrex holds up better under heat (other materials crack and break with heat, so be careful.) And in my opinion, Pyrex with the pot looks considerably cooler! Very Paula-Dean-ish.
Note: Mounds uses dark chocolate on their candies. It cuts the sweetness of the coconut stuff. And since I love dark chocolate anyway... I decided to add 2 blocks unsweetened chocolate to the already semi-sweet chips. Chop them up and I'm ready to fire up the heat.
I decided to use paraffin in my chocolate because it makes the chocolate thinner and easier to work with. It also makes the candies shiny and pretty. And pretty food rarely tastes bad!! Chop up the paraffin and put in the bowl first. It will take longer to melt this. You don't to have to worry about melting the paraffin while you chocolate is overcooking. The paraffin I found can in a 1 pound box and was separated into 4 long blocks. I used about 1/4 of a block.
Caution: Paraffin is flammable if overheated or exposed to open flame. Always melt by heating in a pan over boiling water, as in a double broiler. Never melt directly in pan over fire, hot plate or in a hot oven
--I got this directly off the box!!
Melt it all together and stir frequently. Exact temperature is not too important for us. Medium-Low heat should be enough, although I'm sure someone out there could tell you how many degrees to make it. The key is not letting it burn. You can tell its burning by the chocolate starting to clump together and losing its smoothness. Believe me, you'll notice it. Unfortunately, there are few things worse than burnt chocolate and nothing worse for this recipe. If you burn the chocolate, I advise starting over on the chocolate. (Your balls or logs are fine, DON'T PANIC! - This should be in big, bold, happy letters, but I don't know where to find that button.)
Now, onto the dipping!!
Step 7: Dipping Time!!
Now, here's where you get to dip them. The double broiler will keep the chocolate warm so you can turn the heat off.
Tear off a piece of wax paper for your masterpieces to go on. I put the wax paper on a cooling rack, but you could also put it on the counter. The cooling rack works wonders!
You can dip several candies at a time but the warm chocolate may "melt" the pieces. This will lead to a mess which, especially if you decided to make the candy balls, can add a whole new level of fun.
I do one candy at a time. There are special dipping forks that work well; I used a fork and a wooden skewer. Not flashy, but it worked fine. You could also use chopsticks or a toothpick.
CAUTION!! The first ones may be ugly. As head chef you are required to eat the ugly ones to hide any illusion of imperfection. (Or you could enlist the spouse or child in favor at the moment. Your choice.)
Dip the candy in the chocolate, letting the excess chocolate drip off. Is there such a thing a excess chocolate? You get two choices on this one. Either let it drip off in the bowl or it will drip off on the way to the waxed paper. (Read: Take your time now and avoid more cleanup later OR hurry now and scrub chocolate off your work surface.)
For you choco-holics... don't worry, I won't tell... you can dip the candy again after it has hardened in order to add more chocolate. For the true addicts, you can even do this three or more times, but I'm not responsible for what happens.
After you have dipped them to your heart's content, slide the piece onto the wax paper and let cool. Note: The paraffin will help it harden faster and also make them more shiny!
Store in an air tight container and either leave them out or refrigerate them. Your choice, again. Enjoy!
CAUTION: Excessive testing of your candy may result in... Well, we know what that will do.