Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Coconut Pecan Chocolate Chunk Bars

Today I chose another recipe from Nick Malgieri's book, "The Modern Baker". I decided to go with a bar recipe this time. This cookie bar is gooey, chewy and really quite rich! It wasn't the smartest choice for a hot summer day but as long as you keep it in the fridge, it will stay firm. In this heat, everything melts so fast! Guess by now you can figure out I don't have an air conditioned kitchen! The chocolate in the bars starts to melt the second I take it out of the fridge. I actually had to pop the bars in the freezer to get them hard enough to photograph them..quickly!
If you don't like coconut, I think just leaving it out would be fine.
The original recipe also called for bittersweet chocolate chunks, which I didn't have so I just used bittersweet chips and that worked out fine, too.
The bar has a nice kind of shortbread cookie base and using the bittersweet chocolate helps to cut down the sweetness. (I halved the recipe and used an 8"x8" pan.)

To start, make the dough for the base by combining the dry ingredients and set aside.

Then in a mixer bowl, beat the butter and sugar 2-3 minutes.
Then with the mixer on low speed, beat in the dry ingredients til the dough is smooth.
Scoop the dough into your prepared pan and spread it out evenly with a knife, then use your fingers to smooth it out and get it in the corners. ( He says to press the dough down using the palms of your hands! I say ?? I don't quite get how you could do this!).
Anyway, then bake it for about 15 to 18 minutes.

While the base is baking, make the topping by placing the brown sugar in a medium bowl and mix in the eggs with a rubber spatula.

Then stir in the granulated sugar and vanilla.

Fold in the coconut, pecans and chopped chocolate ( or chocolate chips).

Once the base comes out of the oven, set it on a wire rack. Let it cool about 10 minutes.
Spoon the topping on and spread it out over the base.
Then pop it back into the oven for another 20 - 25 minutes.
Coconut Pecan Chocolate Chunk Bars (from "The Modern Baker" by Nick Malgieri)

1 1/2 cups AP flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
6 oz.(1 1/2 sticks)unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
4 large eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 2/3 cups (7 oz.) sweetened shredded coconut
2 cups pecan pieces, coarsely chopped
12 oz. bittersweet ( not unsweetened) chocolate, cut into 1/4" to 1/2" pieces
Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9 x 13 x 2 inch pan with parchment or foil and butter bottom and sides. Allow extra foil for overhang to lift out bars once baked.
Set rack in the lowest level of the oven.
1. Dough: Stir together flour, baking powder, salt and set aside.
2. In a mixer bowl, beat butter with the sugar on medium speed til soft and light, 2-3 minutes.
3. On the lowest speed, beat in the flour mixture, scraping the bowl, til the dough is smooth.
4. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and spread it out with a knife or spatula, then press very lightly with your fingers to get into the corners.
5. Bake approx. 15 minutes, ( mine took a few minutes longer), til puffed and set and beginning to color.
6. Set the pan on a rack and let it cool while you make the topping ( if you've already made the topping, still let it cool about 10 minutes. Do the dishes..or something!).
1.Place the brown sugar in a large bowl and use a large rubber spatula to work in the eggs, one at a time, stirring til smooth after each.
2. Stir in the granulated sugar and vanilla, then fold in the coconut and pecans.
3. Fold the chocolate chunks into the topping, using a small strainer to sift away any dust formed by the chocolate ( although I don't think chocolate dust is a bad thing!). (I used chocolate chips.)
4. Spoon the topping onto the prebaked dough and spread evenly over the top.
5. Bake til the filling is set and nicely colored, about 20 to 25 minutes. ( Mine took a little longer).
6. Cool in the pan on a rack. Lift the bar onto a cutting board before it has cooled completely.
7. Cut into 2" squares..oops! I cut mine way bigger! Because it's so rich, 2" squares is really a good idea!
As I stated above, I kept mine in the fridge. The book says to keep at room temp. if your serving them within a day. If not, wrap and freeze and bring to room temp. before serving them (which would take about 2 minutes in my kitchen!) Enjoy!

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