Awesome Chocolate Coconut Bars

February 27, 2012 § 9 Comments

So, because I am both busy and surrounded by a great many people with various culinary skills that I do not possess, I’ll be hosting guest posts from time to time. First off is my marvelous associate, Kitt Jennings. She is quite the baker, putting together some of the best cookies, cupcakes and pastries I’ve ever had. They’re specially requested for friends parties. You’re about to see what all the fuss is about!

Your humble blog author would never say so, but he is definitely one of the best people you can have in a kitchen. Until it comes to desserts, that is. Not that he’s bad at it — baking is just not really his thing. That’s where I come in. Baking and candy making are the absolute only things I do better in a kitchen. So, dear readers, allow me to share a recipe with you.

½ c. margarine or butter, melted
2 c. graham cracker crumbs (just pop some crackers in the food processor)
1 c. coconut milk
¼ c. maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt (kosher is best)
2 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot
1 ½ c. shredded coconut
2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
½ c. chopped nuts, toasted (being from Texas, I prefer pecans)

Note: You can make this recipe completely vegan by using dairy-free chocolate chips and vegan margarine. I do not recommend SmartBalance for this because it will separate into oil and water when melted. I have definitely ruined this recipe with it before.

So, preheat your oven to 350°F, and make sure you’ve got a rack set in the middle.

Pour the melted margarine or butter into a 9- x13-inch baking pan, and get the entire bottom of the pan coated really well. Sprinkle your graham cracker crumbs around until the bottom of the pan is evenly coated. Pat this down a bit with your hands.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla, salt, and cornstarch. Once you’ve got it combined, drizzle the mixture evenly over the graham cracker layer. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but the better you do at getting even coverage, the better the cookies will turn out in the end.

Sprinkle the shredded coconut over what you’ve already got in the pan, then pile on the chocolate chips and nuts (you know, evenly, of course).Use your palm to gently pat your creation so that you can taste the love later. Also, to get the chocolate chips cemented into the rest of the cookie so that they won’t fall off when you try to eat it. Things things are messy enough without that!

Bake it for 20-30 minutes, or until you’ve got golden brown edges and a thick, slightly bubbly center. They’re best if you let them cool, and then refrigerate the pan for a few hours; this will help them set, make them tastier and easier to cut, and reduce the messiness of eating them in the end. Try not to eat them straight out of the oven. I know it’s hard, but easy there, killer. When you can no longer help yourself, cut them into bars with a sharp knife.

written by Kitt Jennings

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