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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Coconut Chocolate Bars

If you are looking for a sweet, sticky indulgence, look no further. These are the sorts of treats that are too dangerous for me to keep around on a regular basis. They're just so darn tasty! I could eat a whole pan by myself in less than 24 hours. Since I can't justify making them that often, I love it when I have a good excuse. When I don't have a good excuse, I just send the majority of the pan to work with my husband. I do hope that I'm not responsible for someone failing their PT test! No, really, these little suckers are absolutely divine.

I first was introduced to these bars at a friend's house almost a decade ago. I immediately asked for the recipe. I just knew that I would want to eat them again, and soon. However, I was disappointed with the process for how they were put together. The recipe I was given had you simply layer ingredients, but I found that led to a crumbly (albeit tasty) mess. I suspected that mixing the ingredients together first would produce a more cohesive product, and I was right.

First, make graham cracker crumbs out of the graham crackers. I use my food processor and then add the melted butter right in to mix completely. These days, I suppose, you could buy the pre-ground crumbs and save yourself some time. Make sure the crumbs and butter are thoroughly mixed and press into the bottom of a 9x13x2 inch pan. This is also a good time to start preheating the oven to 350° F.

In a bowl, mix the sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, flaked coconut, and walnuts together. It will be a sticky, gloppy mess.

Spread the sticky mixture over the pressed crumbs as evenly as possible.
Gently press down the topping; you don't want it to end up pressed so tightly it bakes into a solid rock!

Bake at 350° F for 25-30 minutes, or until everything is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely before cutting. This dessert has so much butter in the crust, that if you use a non-stick pan, you really have no worries about it coming out. If you refrigerate the bars for a bit, you can easily pull the whole 9x13 sheet out so that you can cut it easily on a cutting board with a pizza cutter. Bars can be stored in an air tight container for up to a week.

Chocolate Cookie Bars
Yield: approximately 18 bars

1 stick of butter, melted (1/2 cup)
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 cups flaked coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Mix the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs together until well mixed. Press evenly into a 9x13x2 inch non-stick baking pan. In a separate bowl, mix together the condensed milk, chocolate chips, flaked coconut, and walnuts. Spread over the crumb crust and gently press even. Bake 25-30 minutes or until the bars are nicely golden. Cool completely before cutting and serving. Cutting the bars is much easier if you refrigerate the pan for a few hours first. The whole 9x13" sheet can be removed from the pan to be cut with a pizza cutter on a cutting board. Bars keep up to a week at room temperature in an air-tight container.

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