Sure to please Easter bunnies everywhere!
One of our favorite flavors is lemon. And coconut. OK, that’s two flavors.
So why not combine them? That’s what we did in this quick and easy lemon-coconut fudge.
It’s perfect for Easter, which is this Sunday (March 27). This fudge comes together in minutes, and you can even shape the pieces into little Easter eggs if you like. Kids of all ages will be delighted.
You probably have all the ingredients for this recipe on hand, too, so you don’t need to make a special trip to the supermarket. Which will allow you to avoid all those commercial Easter candies. This year, your peeps won’t need Peeps.
Recipe: Quick Lemon-Coconut Fudge
Like most of our favorite fudge recipes, this one isn’t traditional. Traditional fudge recipes call for sugar, butter, milk, and usually additional ingredients (chocolate is a favorite, of course). You heat the sugar mixture on top of the stove, and then mix in the butter by hand.
Most of us don’t make fudge the old-fashioned way anymore because it’s too time consuming. Plus, making a traditional-style fudge is challenging because you have to control two tricky variables: water content and sugar crystallization. Both are easy to mess up, and it’s a bummer if you do. Which, for most of us, is when we do.
So we generally make fudge in the microwave–or with a mixer (as we do in this recipe). An aunt of Mrs. Kitchen Riffs taught her this quick candy-making method decades ago. It’s not fudge in the classic sense, but something more like cake frosting on steroids. And it’s outrageously delicious (better than traditional fudge, in our opinion).
This recipe requires about 10 to 15 minutes of active time. Then you need to cool the fudge in the refrigerator (so it can solidify) before you shape or cut it. Figure on about two hours for that (you can speed things up a bit by putting it in the freezer for a few minutes).
Yield depends on how large you cut the pieces, but figure about five dozen 1-inch pieces. Leftovers keep for a week or so if refrigerated in an airtight container (or you can freeze them).
- 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter
- 14 ounces sweetened, flaked coconut
- zest and juice of 1 or 2 large lemons (see Notes)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ~1½ pounds powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
- additional powdered sugar for coating fudge pieces (optional)
- Line an 8x8-inch pan with parchment or waxed paper.
- Melt the butter in a microwave or in a saucepan over low stovetop heat. If using a microwave, cover the container with a lid. Microwave in increments of one minute until the butter is fully melted.
- Pour the melted butter into the bowl of a stand mixer (or into a large mixing bowl, if using a hand mixer). Add the coconut and mix to combine. Add the lemon zest and juice, along with the vanilla extract. Mix until well combined.
- Gradually add the powdered sugar and mix until well combined.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and refrigerate until well chilled (you can even stick it in the freezer for half an hour or so to speed the process along). When the mixture is firm and chilled, cut it into pieces of about 1 inch square.
- Alternatively, if you’d like to create Easter eggs: Form tablespoon-sized dollops of the chilled fudge mixture into rounds balls, then shape the balls into ovoids by pulling gently on the ends with your fingers. Roll each “egg” in powdered sugar to coat.
|Fudge dough shaped into Easter eggs
- We generally use 2 lemons in this recipe, since we like a “lemon forward” flavor. If you’d prefer just a hint of lemon, use only one.
- The easiest way to zest lemons (i.e., grate their outer skins) is with a Microplane grater.
- Be sure to use high quality (pure) vanilla extract. Its flavor is so much better than the imitation kind.
- Pure vanilla extract is made by soaking vanilla beans in a mixture of water and alcohol for several months. BTW, the FDA requires that pure vanilla extract contain at least 35% alcohol. If the label doesn’t say “pure,” that means it’s made from synthetic vanilla. The artificial kind is usually derived from the sapwood of several species of conifers—or from coal extracts! How appetizing (not).
- The flavor of some imitation vanillas can be nasty. You don’t have to spend a fortune on pure vanilla extract, but getting decent quality does mean spending a bit more for something that’s not loaded with sugar or imitation flavoring. Do yourself a favor and get the real stuff.
- Confectioner’s sugar is also called powdered sugar or icing sugar. It’s made by grinding regular granulated sugar into a fine powder. It typically contains an anti-caking agent (usually cornstarch in the US). BTW, you’ll often see it rated XXX, 10X, etc. The more X’s, the more finely powdered the sugar.
- Need some confectioner’s sugar in a hurry but don’t have any on hand? You can make it at home. The easiest way is to run regular granulated sugar through a clean coffee grinder or blender (the coffee grinder will do a better job). You can also use a mortar and pestle.
“So Peter Cottontail is ready to hit the bunny trail,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Easter is almost here.”
“Glad you made this fudge early,” I said, taking another piece. “Wouldn’t want to disappoint the Easter Bunny.”
“Hope there’s some left by the time he gets here,” said Mrs K R, eyeing me as I reached for yet another piece.
“Just can’t resist,” I said. “The flavor is so intense. And I love the texture of the fudge you make. Especially the Chocolate Fudge with Nutella and the Microwave Peanut Butter Fudge. Though this mixer fudge is even better.”
“It’s similar to my Buttercream Candy Easter Eggs,” said Mrs K R. “But this is even easier to make.”
“And we’re talking lemon here,” I said. “I’m a lemon freak, as you know so well. It’s my favorite flavor. And I’ll never turn down coconut.”
“Lemon does have a cheerful flavor,” said Mrs K R. “It’ll brighten your mood.”
“Always has brightened mine,” I said. “Guess that’s why my mom called me sonny.”
Mrs K R shot me a look. “I think we need a lemon law for jokes.”
You may also enjoy reading about:
Chocolate Fudge with Nutella
Microwave Peanut Butter Fudge
Buttercream Candy Easter Eggs
Irish Potato Candy
Coconut Kisses (Macaroons)
Lemon Cheesecake with Walnut Crust
Chocolate Mascarpone Brownies
Or check out the index for more recipes