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Almond Joy

4 cups (8 1/2 ounces) shredded coconut (fresh package!)
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 (11 1/2 ounce) package milk chocolate pieces
1/4 cup white vegetable shortening
26 Whole natural almonds

Line two large cookie sheets with wax paper. Set large wire cooling rack on paper; set aside.

Place coconut in large bowl; set aside.

Place corn syrup in a 1-cup glass measure. Microwave on HIGH (100%) 1 minute or until syrup boils. Immediately pour over coconut. Work warm syrup into coconut using the back of a wooden spoon until coconut is thoroughly coated. This takes a little time, and yes, there is enough syrup.

Using 1 level measuring tablespoon of coconut, shape into a ball by squeezing coconut firmly in palm of one hand, then rolling between both palms. (HINT: Measure out all of the coconut then roll into balls.) Place 2 inches apart on wire racks. Let dry 10 minutes.

Re-roll coconut balls so there are no loose ends of coconut sticking up.

Place milk chocolate and shortening in a 4-cup glass measure or 1 1/2 quart microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture can be stirred smooth and is glossy; stirring once or twice.

Working quickly, spoon 1 level measuring tablespoon of the chocolate over each coconut ball, making sure chocolate coats and letting excess chocolate drip down onto waxed paper. While chocolate coating is still soft, lightly press whole almond on top of each. Let stand to set or place in refrigerator. Store in a single layer in an airtight container.

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