Tuesday, December 9, 2008

12 Days of Cookies ~ Day 8: Coconut Bars

For the past week and a half of "Cookies Days," there's been an awful lot of fussing going on at my baker's bench. Some doughs were temperamental and needed mollycoddling; others were stubborn and needed to be plied with extra cream, butter, or sugar to cooperate. Frankly, I was tired of handling cookie dough with kid gloves ~ what I wanted was a nice, easy bar cookie.

The trick to making these ~ and most bar cookies, especially the gooey ones ~ is to line your pan with a sling before you put the batter or dough in. For these, I used foil, molding it to fit the 8-inch square pan. Make sure the foil overhangs enough on all sides to make it easy to remove later, after baking. You can grease your foil with butter or spray it with nonstick cooking spray, like I did.

Without a doubt, these were one of the easiest recipes I've attempted from the Gourmet cookie selection thus far. The crust came together beautifully; the filling was amazing ~ like a pecan pie filled with liquid caramel. Delicious.

Please, if you want to make this recipe, I urge you to use the sling. You'll be so happy you did. Just take a look at my pan after I removed the sling with the entire cookie, uncut, inside it ~ spotless.

Coconut Bars

~Adapted from Gourmet magazine, October 1953, available online here
For crust:
  • 1/2 cup butter

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

For topping:
  • 2 eggs (I used large)

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut

  • 2 tablespoons flour

  • Pinch of salt

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

  2. Cream 1/2 cup butter till fluffy. Gradually add 1/2 cup brown sugar and beat until smooth. Stir in flour. Press this mixture into bottom of prepared pan; bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes or until golden.

  3. While crust is baking, beat eggs with 1 cup brown sugar until smooth. Stir in vanilla and walnuts. Toss coconut with flour and salt and add to egg mixture. Stir till combined.

  4. Pour this topping mixture over hot baked crust and smooth with a spatula. Return pan to oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until topping set and golden brown. Cool pan on rack.

  5. When completely cool, lift foil sling out of pan and place on cutting board. Gently peel away from sides and use a spatula to separate from bottom. Discard foil.

  6. Cut cookies into bars using a large chef's knife. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 24 cookies.

Now go see what my fellow bakers are up to today, on this 8th day of Cookies! Andrea of Andrea's Recipes, Claire of The Barefoot Kitchen, Kelly of Sass & Veracity, Courtney of Coco Cooks, Jerry of Cooking by the Seat of My Pants, and Judy of No Fear Entertaining.


glamah16 said...

Great tip about the sling. These bars are perfect for this busy time of the year.

Sandy Smith said...

~Glamah16: I forgot how easy and fun bars cookies are! Sigh ~ back to rolled doughs for a while. :)

Anonymous said...

Yum! And you are so right on the relief of a bar cookie. Great advice on the sling. I've used one for cheesecake in an oblong pan and it works really well. Your awesome photos are really making me want one of these -- the centers look droolworthy!

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Trust her on the sling!!! I didn't use it and it made it challenging! I love how you described these. They were like a pecan pie with caramel and a nice hearty pie crust. Yummm!

Kiran said...

This looks like a really healthy snack to give children.

Marysol said...

Looks mouthwatering, particularly the first picture!

Andrea said...

Oh yours look so good and great tip about the sling. I was too impatient and didn't line the pan, then tried cutting them too early. ooops...

Kevin said...

Those look so good with the gooey middle!

May said...

Those are fantastic! I tried them some time ago and we all loved them. Thanks for posting the recipe :)

ragtop said...

i cannot eat coconut or nuts...do you think this would turn out ok without them?

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