Inspired by a store’s $23 lb. candy, this easy recipe for dark chocolate coconut clusters takes minutes to make at a fraction of the store price and tastes amazing. Find more ideas on the Quick Healthy Recipes page!
I love chocolate and I love coconut, but I’ve never thought to put them together as chocolate coconut clusters before. I’ve combined them with almond for these flourless coconut almond cookie bars and with caramel and shortbread for these Christmas goodies but never just the two of them alone. Maybe it seemed too simple – too easy.
My eyes were opened, however, during our visit to Leavenworth, Washington. There are lots of shops (as you can imagine) in this cute town and one afternoon we just wandered in and out of them looking for gifts.
Completely off track but here’s a tip: if you’re like me and don’t really like wandering in and out of shops (so many expensive trinkets and STUFF), DO take the time to do it every now and then. I get some great ideas not only for recipes like this, but also for gift ideas. We got an idea for a semi-handmade Christmas gift for our family on this trip, came home, ordered the things we needed, and will be done with them probably before December!
Okay, back on track. Here is what I saw in one of the candy stores:
Yes, they are selling dark chocolate coconut ‘haystacks’ for $23 a pound! Can I just say my jaw dropped? I don’t even care that they saw me taking a picture of it – that’s just ridiculous. I mean, look at the candy below – it takes more time and ingredients to make sea salt caramel fudge and it’s less per pound. Makes me wonder if they’re trying to cash in on the healthy coconut craze?
Now I do have to say I didn’t buy one of these (I probably should have, but just couldn’t on principle, ha!), but I have looked online and the ingredients for these haystacks or clusters at stores are just chocolate and coconut, though sometimes they’ll add a liqueur, cocoa nibs, espresso powder or other flavorings.
So of course I made them at home, just to see – maybe I was missing something? Maybe they were hard or didn’t set up or something?
Uh, no. These chocolate coconut clusters are some of the easiest, quickest treats I’ve ever made. And everyone LOVES them (well, unless they don’t like coconut like my son…).
I’ve talked a lot about what I think is the best part of making food ourselves (no, it’s not the money savings, though that’s great, too…) and this illustrates it perfectly:
You get to choose the ingredients!
The candy store used coconut with long strands, which I’m going to assume is sweetened coconut since it’s a candy store and Americans really like their sugar. I used unsweetened coconut and combined with the dark chocolate makes a super-chocolatey, only slightly sweet dessert. And while this is still a candy, it’s certainly a candy that is better for you than other choices. But it doesn’t taste that way – it just tastes wonderful!
Easy Steps for Dark Chocolate Coconut Clusters
- Dark chocolate chopped bars or dark chocolate chips
- Unsweetened coconut (I like Bob’s Shredded Unsweetened Coconut the best)
- Coconut oil
You can use chopped dark chocolate or good quality dark chocolate chips for this recipe. When melting chocolate to coat things or in recipes like this, I find it melts best when a bit of fat is added. I use coconut oil for this in most recipes, using expeller-pressed refined coconut oil when I don’t want a coconut flavor. This recipe of course works well with extra virgin coconut oil since we want that coconut flavor.
Melt the chocolate pieces and coconut together in the way you choose: in a double boiler (a heatproof pan set over a pot of simmering water) or in the microwave (use a heatproof bowl, preferably with a handle like a large glass measuring cup). When the chocolate is smooth, stir in the coconut.
Using a small cookie scoop makes shaping the clusters quick and easy, but two spoons would also work. Being able to make the sizes you want (smaller is better here!) is another benefit to making candy yourself.
Let the clusters set in the fridge and then store at room temperature in a sealed container (do not refrigerate or they become too hard to eat #lessonlearned).
That’a all there is to it – melt, stir, and shape. Want to pay someone $23/lb for that? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Curious about what this recipe is per pound? I was too, so I weighed the clusters I made and found that this recipe makes about 1 pound. The ingredients cost me just under $5 and since this took less than 10 minutes to make, I’m not even going to add labor costs. I’m just going to take my extra $18 and spend it on something fun. 🙂
What about you – are you ready to make a better candy for less, too? I think bunch of chocolate coconut clusters in a fun container would make a GREAT Christmas gift as well as hostess gift or birthday gift for people who you know would enjoy them.
Of course you can just make them for your family like I’ve been doing – these are a good option for after dinner chocolates. Yum.
Click the arrow for the full printable recipe for dark chocolate coconut clusters!
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