Friday, August 29, 2008

Chocolate Coconut Barrows: low rent, fabulous.

They're not mounds, they're barrows!

You need to make these. No, really -- right now. I say the holiday cookie season is upon us, so make these to celebrate Back to School. Or Halloween/Samhain/Dia de los Muertos. Or Rosh Hashanah! Yeah, that's it. Ring in 5769 with sweetened condensed milk products - v. trayf.

I'd been thinking about those Antipodean chocolate caramel slices I mentioned in my last post and then I started toying with my sister's Magic Cookie Bar [tm Borden's] formula (and everyone has their own even if they won't admit it due to "culinary cringe" [tm Cherry Ripe]). Finally I decided I wanted a facsimile of one of my favorite candy bars, only with a crumb crust. So here they are. I love them and want to smash them to my bosom, only that would defeat their purpose somewhat.

Chocolate Coconut Barrows

Makes 36 tiny squares (and believe me, you'll only want a little bit of these at a time)

Note: I used salted butter throughout this recipe for I am the Star Trek Salt Monster, but if you choose to use unsalted butter just throw a pinch of salt or two into the crust, the coconut filling and/or the glaze. It will give your bars tamm.

For the crust:
10 single or 5 double graham crackers

1/3 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped (you can use walnuts or macadamias instead)

2 tablespoons sugar

Tiny pinch of cinnamon

1/4 cup butter, melted

For the layers:
1/2 generous cup good quality (this means NO NESTLE) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate

1/2 generous cup good quality (see above) milk chocolate chips

2 cups shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened (I use half and half)

1 15-oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon coconut extract (optional, but you should use it)

For the glaze:
1/2 cup semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate

1/2 cup milk chocolate chips or chopped chocolate

1/4 cup butter

Preheat oven to 325F. Spray an 8" square pan with more non-stick cooking spray than you ever though possible, THEN line it with one 18" long by 8" wide strip of heavy duty aluminum foil, pushing it along two sides to fit, pressing the overhanging bits down outside the pan. Take another 18" long by 8" wide strip of heavy duty aluminum foil and place it over and opposite the first strip, pushing along the sides to fit, pressing the overhang down, etc. You're creating a sort of double sling effect with overhanging foil on all four sides of the pan. Spray the whole thing generously with nonstick cooking spray. Later you'll be happy you did this.

Place graham crackers, pecans, sugar and pinch cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times to make fine crumbs. Add the 1/4 cup melted butter and pulse to combine (alternatively you could put the graham crackers, pecans, sugar and cinnamon in a plastic bag, press out the air, seal it and whack it several times with a rolling pin to crush everything. You'll need to transfer it to a bowl to mix in the melted butter, though). Press this mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake crust for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden at the edges and firm to the touch.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl mix coconut, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract and cococut extract to combine.

When crumb crust comes out of the oven, scatter the two half cups of semi/bittersweet and milk chocolate chips evenly over the bottom. Wait a couple of minutes and swirl this now-softened chocolate over the crust with a spoon or offset spatula. Carefully pour coconut mixture evenly over this, spreading carefully to the edges of the pan with a clean offset spatula (or spoon). Return to oven and bake for 7 minutes, then turn pan around front to back and bake again for another 7 minutes or until coconut layer is very lightly golden and is firm-ish to the touch. Remove from oven and cool on a rack for about 10 to 15 minutes.

For the glaze: Place semi/bittersweet chocolate, milk chocolate and butter in a microwaveable bowl. Microwave at 75% power for 25 seconds; remove from microwave and stir to mix. Microwave again at 75% power for another 25 seconds, remove and stir until all chips are melted and mixture is smooth (you may have to microwave it again at 75% power for 10 to 15 more seconds to achieve this). Pour glaze over baked bars and smooth with an offset spatula or a spoon. Let set at room temperature for about 20 minutes, then refrigerate until glaze is set and bars are cold (4 hours to overnight).

To cut, pull foil overhang up on all sides and ease the bars out of the pan (be patient and don't tug too hard). When bars are out of pan, peel aluminum foil off. Place bars on a cutting board and let rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Using a long sharp knife, cut into 36 pieces (cut cake in half, then each half into three long strips; turn cake and repeat cuts to make 36 pieces). Store bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator, but let bars sit at room temperature for 15 or 20 minutes before serving.

© 2008 Sandy Soto Teich
All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced anywhere without the author's express permission.

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