As a child, Fourth of July was as big a holiday as any other. My entire family would head off to the neighborhood pool for an amazing party complete with games, food, and prizes. My parents would settle in at a table with their friends, I’d politely say “hello” to everyone present, then run and jump into the pool. It wouldn’t be long before a loud gunshot would fire, signaling the start of the games. I loved competing, to see if I could swim the farthest underwater, make the biggest splash doing a cannon ball, or blow a balloon across the pool the fastest. One of my favorite games involved swimming across the pool with a ping pong ball on a spoon dangling precariously out of my mouth. A little wind and the hollow plastic ball would go skipping across the water, which meant I’d have grab the ball, race to the starting line, and begin again.
Competing was always fun, winning was even better. But sometimes, no matter how hard I’d try, I’d lose. Each year, I’d convince my mom to swim with me in a mother/daughter relay race. I’d dive in and fly across the pool and be the first to touch the wall. My mother, wearing a frilly flower covered bathing cap that couldn’t possibly allow any water leakage, would slip into the pool, being careful not to splash water on her head and gracefully glide across the pool at a snails pace, driving me absolutely crazy. We’d cheer as loud as we could, but it never got her to the other wall any faster.
Throughout the afternoon, I’d feast on burgers and a pot luck of food and would find myself diving face first into a pie, in an eating contest, of course. Also, every year I’d stuff my mouth full of marshmallows, and with cheeks puffed, try to say “chubby bunnies,” but inevitably would lose to my brother. He was the reigning chubby bunny champion for years.
Once my belly was full, I’d spend time with my friends just hanging out under the sunlit sky, but I could never fully relax in anticipation of the last event of the day. Eventually, I’d hear a high pitched wine as the loudspeaker would click on, and before the announcer would even begin to speak, I’d be running for the pool’s edge. Minutes later, thousands of coins would fly through the air, hit the water with a splash, then glide to the bottom. Just before the gun would fire, I’d secure my goggles and pinpoint the silver dollars and quarters. Bang. I was at the bottom of the pool, holding my breath for what seemed like an eternity, so I could pick up more money than I’d earn in a summer’s worth of allowances. Needing oxygen was such a bother, but it would finally happen and I’d burst to the surface, grab a quick breath, and dive down, over and over, until the pool was free of cold hard cash.
When I told my husband how I used to get so excited about scraping money up off the pool floor, he said, “oh, I bet you used that money to buy candy at the snack bar, right?” He knows me so well. So, in that spirit, I’ve created a red, white, and blue star shaped candy to celebrate this year’s Independence Day. I’ve combined creamy white chocolate with cream of coconut and unsweetened flaked coconut to form a thick, mailable candy which I divided and colored, then pressed into a star shaped silicone mold. When un-molded each dessert sized candy is ablaze with layers of patriotic colors. I think they look amazing as star shaped candies, but if you don’t own or want to purchase a star mold, you can just line an 8″ square pan with non-stick aluminum foil, press in the layers of candy, freeze for an hour, remove from the pan, and cut it into squares. Of course, this candy can be made in any variety of colors (or plain white) and molded using any shape silicone mold for all of your special occasions.
Red, White, and Blue Striped Creamy Coconut Stars (makes 12)
1 (15 oz.) can Cream of Coconut
10.5 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped (or chips)
10 ounces unsweetened coconut (do NOT use sweetened)
red and blue food coloring
Special Equipment Needed:
double boiler (bowl set on top of a pot)
Wilton Star Silicone Mold
When you open the can of cream of coconut, there will be a very thick mass at the top of the can with liquid hiding underneath. Pour the contents of the can into a bowl. Stir it until well blended.
Fill a 2 or 3 quart pan with one inch of water. Set the pan over low heat. Place the bowl of cream of coconut over the pan, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Stir in the white chocolate. Heat, stirring often, until melted. Remove from heat and lift bowl off the pan. Wipe the steam off the bottom of the bowl.
Add coconut and stir until well blended. This mixture will get very thick, so use a sturdy spoon or spatula.
Divide mixture into three bowls. I wanted my white layer to be thicker than the colored layers, so I didn’t divide the mixture into equal thirds, but you can if you’d like. Add ten drops of red coloring to one bowl and stir until well blended. Add more coloring, if needed. Make another bowl blue, using 10 or so drops of coloring.
Refrigerate all three bowls for 15-20 minutes. If you attempt to put the candy into the silicone mold without chilling it first, it will be a sticky mess.
Equally divide the red coconut mixture among 12 star cavities. Press the mixture into an even layer. Make sure you press down at the star tips, so that once un-molded your stars have nice even layers. Chill in the freezer for 10 minutes. Top with white mixture. Chill in the freezer for 10 minutes. Top with blue mixture. Make sure you clean around the edges of the mold, then freeze for an hour. Un-mold and place on serving platter. Allow to come up to room temperature before eating.
These candies can be made well in advance of your celebration. Keep stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Items used to make this project that are available on Amazon.com.