Photo: Samantha Wood

Coco-Choco Balls and DIY Chocolate Hearts

While it may be a little early to start thinking about Valentine’s Day, one can never prepare too much. I did not set out to make heart-shaped chocolates, but when I had extra chocolate leftover from the chocolate-coconut balls, I did not want to waste it (who wastes perfectly good chocolate?). So I took the heart-shaped ice cube trays in my freezer and used them as molds for chocolate hearts.

Therefore, I have provided you with a little Valentine’s Day spirit in November. It’s almost as good as Christmas in July.

This recipe was inspired by Chocolate-Covered Katie’s Healthy Mounds Bars. The difference is that I changed the measurement of some of the ingredients and used a different mold. Unfortunately, I tried taking the frozen coconut filing out of the molds before it was ready and many of them crumbled. That is how they became coco-choco balls instead of bars. The last filling that came out of the mold stayed intact, so I would suggest letting them cool for about five minutes before prying them out of the molds. Another suggestion is to spray the tin with cooking spray before filling the cups.

In Chocolate-Covered Katie’s recipe, she used mini muffins tins, which is another option. The recipe is flexible, so you can make hearts, balls or bars. Get creative with it. You could even try making turkeys for Thanksgiving.

Photo: Samantha Wood

Coco-Choco Balls inspired by Chocolate-Covered Katie
Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes, Makes 7 balls

Ingredients
1 cup shredded coconut
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup and 1/2 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

Directions
Using a food processor, combine the first four ingredients until they form a liquidy dough. Don’t worry that it is slightly liquidy. That is from the oil. Now, depending on which route you would like to take, you can either scoop the filling into oiled muffin tins (mini or fill-size) or roll the dough into balls.

If making them into balls, cover a cookie pan with wax paper and place the balls in the freezer for 45 minutes. If using the muffins tins, place the dough-filled tin into the freezer for 45 minutes. Once they are frozen and completely hardened, take them out of the freezer. For the balls, you do not have to wait for them to cool, but for the tins, let them sit for about 5 minutes, or until you can take them out of the tin without breaking them.While waiting for those to warm a bit, make the chocolate coating by melting the coconut oil and then mix in the cocoa powder and maple syrup. The coating will be slightly soupy, but it hardens right away on the coconut filling. Place covered coconut dough back into the freezer for 15 minutes, or until chocolate completely hardens.

Photo: Samantha Wood

There was leftover chocolate coating when I made mine, so I poured it into heart-shaped ice cube molds and made chocolate hearts. They are a little bitter because there is not much sugar in them, but for those of you who enjoy dark chocolate, like me, they are perfect.

These don’t take a lot of time to make and they’re the kind of recipe you can make while doing other things as they freeze. They make a good party favor or a dessert to make at a sleepover with a group of friends. Start them before the movie and they’ll be done in time for an intermission snack.