Bountiful Coconut Almond Bars

Yield: one 8-inch square pan, about 25 squares
Recipe: 82/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 70

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     After having been crazy-busy with my PhD for the last 3 months, I have finally found some calm again, enough for me to get back into baking at least. I made these coconut-almond-chocolate bars for a colleague’s birthday today. I wanted a recipe that didn’t look too complicated to ease back into it gently and I was not disappointed. These bars are simple to make yet taste delicious. Very sweet, but delicious. The unanimous feeling amongst friends was that they are indeed succulent yet quite sweet, and that perhaps a smaller portion would have been appreciated. Noted.

     I would personally recommend doubling the recipe for the topping. What you see in the photograph is the doubled amount of topping, which I found balanced well with the thick layer of coconut and almond filling. When I first made the topping, I did not double it and did not even have enough to cover the whole pan, so the layer was very thin. Do yourself a favor and buy a bit more chocolate for this part, it will be worth it!

Ingredients for base:

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 oz (30 g) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour

Ingredients for filling:

  • 1⅓ cups sweetened, flaked coconut
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 tin (300 mL) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Ingredients for topping:

  • 5 oz (150 g) semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper so that the paper comes up the sides.
  2. In a small saucepot over low heat, melt the butter and chocolate, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in the sugar, then add the egg and vanilla extract, stirring until blended.
  4. Add the flour and stir until the mixture is homogenous. Spread this mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes or until it loses its shine. Cool while preparing the filling. Note: this will be a thin layer.
  5. For the filling, stir the coconut, almonds, condensed milk, vanilla extract and salt to combine. Spread this over the cooled base and bake for about 25 minutes, until a light golden brown color is obtained. Cool to room temperature before adding the topping.
  6. For the topping, melt the chocolate and butter in a metal bowl placed over a saucepot of barely simmering water, stirring until melted (alternatively, you can melt it in the microwave at 30-second intervals until fully melted). Pour this mixture over the cooled coconut filling and spread evenly.
  7. Chill the pan for at least 2 hours to set the chocolate. Cut the squares while chilled. The squares are better enjoyed at room temperature.

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Valerie

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