Friday, February 8, 2013

Coconut, almonds, chocolate make a moist bar cookie

When you've offered to bring dessert to a potluck or the office, bar cookies are a great choice. They're sturdy, easy to transport and can be cut into generous pieces or tiny tidbits.

Beyond those attributes, these cookies are buttery and delicious. With their combination of chocolate, coconut and almonds, they're almost like a Mounds candy bar in a pan.

Yield: 32 bars

1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar, divided
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup thinly sliced almonds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 cup flour until well combined. Add melted butter; mix well. Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Press into the bottom of the pan with the palms of your hands, making an even layer. Bake in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes.

While the crust bakes, lightly beat the eggs with the vanilla in the same large bowl. Add the remaining 1 cup brown sugar, the remaining 3 tablespoons flour, coconut, almonds and salt. Stir until well combined.

As soon as the crust comes out of the oven, sprinkle evenly with chocolate chips. Press the chocolate lightly into the crust. Add small dollops of coconut over the chocolate, then spread into an even layer, disturbing the chocolate as little as possible. Return the baking dish to the oven. Bake until pale golden, about 20 minutes.

Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then cut into bars. (A chef's knife works best.Cut from the sides toward the center, turning the pan as needed.) Let cool completely before removing the bars from the pan.

Recipe adapted from  Mrs. Kolbert's Coconut Bars, published 20 years ago by Gourmet magazine.

Photo and story copyright 2013 by Judith Evans. All rights reserved.

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