Monday, April 18, 2011

Toasted Coconut Bars

Most of us feel that no matter how good the food is at a restaurant, it will never be good enough to overlook  negative aspects such as poor service, bad location and a pricey menu.

However, there are some types that I call innovative when it comes to their love of food.  It kind of goes like this.."Hey, Reggie when you drive by Catherine's Cafe can you pick up our dinner for Valentine's?" The food is only eaten on special occasions (price), they do not have to worry about the problems with the location (Reggie is picking it up) and they have no dealings with the wait staff (to go order).

Wait...that type of innovation means that Catherine's Cafe still has your business, in spite of their problems.  The best innovation, of course, is to make it yourself as close to the original as possible.  Most foodies are very much in favor of that idea!

The recipe below is from a restaurant as requested by a reader of Bon Appetit.  These coconut bars have a two luscious layers. The bottom is a buttery shortbread cookie and the top is layered with chewy coconut.  The coconut layer is very close to German chocolate cake icing, somewhat thicker and without the pecans.

Toasted Coconut Bars
courtesy of Bon Appetit Magazine/prior to 2005

1 cup or 2 sticks of cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 1/4 cups flour

2 tbs canned cream of coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3 tbs melted unsalted butter
1 tbs milk
1 cup light brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tbs flour
1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a 9X13 inch pan, covering bottom and two long sides with some overhang on each side for handles.

For the crust, sift together the flour and sugar in a medium bowl.  Then pour in a food processor.  Cut cold butter into cubes and put in with dry mixture.  Pulse processor with on off turns until mixture turns into a dough.  Pat dough into pan, reaching all sides and corners evenly.  Place in fridge to chill for 15 minutes.

Remove pan from fridge and place in oven. Bake dough for about 25 minutes.  Dough should have golden edges when done.  Remove and let cool. Turn oven off.

Once crust has cooled, preheat oven to 300 degrees.   Then sprinkle coconut evenly over the crust and set aside.

In a small bowl, place all the remaining ingredients, except for melted butter.  Whisk together until no lumps remain.  Then fold in melted butter.  When butter is all blended, slowly pour mixture over the coconut layer in the pan.  Take care to make sure that it is poured evenly over the top.

Bake for about 45 minutes.  When done baking, topping should be golden brown, crusty on edges and set.  Let cool in pan over rack for 30 minutes.  Then take a knife and slide between the pan and the pastry on the short sides.  Lift pastry out of the pan, using the parchment handles on the long sides and place on rack.  Once completely cool, cut and serve.