Beijinhos De Coco (Coconut Kisses)
In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks. Using the dull side of a knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean halves. Add the seeds and empty vanilla bean pod to the eggs. Add the milk and butter. Stir.
Heat this mixture slowly, by setting the bowl atop a large pot filled with simmering water. (Note: The bowl should rest on the rim of the pot and make sure that the bottom of the pot is suspended above the simmering water.) Whisk the ingredients steadily, checking their temperature with the instant-read thermometer. When the mixture reaches 140 degrees, it is ready.
Remove the vanilla bean pod and then add the unsweetened coconut into the warm mixture. Stir until it is incorporated. (The mixture should have appearance and consistency of the filling of an Almond Joy candy bar.) Allow the mixture to cool just enough to handle. If the mixture is too cool, it will be difficult to shape the kisses. Use about 1 Tablespoon of the dough per kiss and shape to form little pyramids or little spheres. Place the shaped kisses on a platter and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. While the kisses chill, melt the chocolate. Pour the chocolate bits into another large bowl and suspending it over the simmering water in the same manner, as for the coconut mixture.
When the chocolate is melted, pour a small amount into a shallow cup. With a fork (a cocktail or fondue fork works great), gently skewer each chilled kiss and dip it into the chocolate. Once coated with chocolate, quickly roll the kiss in the chopped almonds. Continue this process until all the kisses have been dipped and rolled. Return the kisses to the refrigerator and chill for 20 minutes. When the chocolate is set, the kisses are ready to serve. When stored in an airtight container in the pantry, the kisses will keep up to a week.