Chewy Nutty Coconut Bars
Last night I had a hankering to bake. Ok, really this whole week I’ve had a hankering to bake! However the thought of baking always (as much as I love it!) seems a bit daunting. Gotta find a recipe, go buy ingredients, make a mess of my kitchen, set up the photo shoot etc etc. But one thing I do keep forgetting is that in a time when cupcakes reign supreme, sometimes a cookie is a refreshing change. Much simpler, little to no decorating involved, and much easier to transport to the office! So last night I opened up my Gourmet Cookie Book that Scott’s mama got me for Christmas and began my hunt for the perfect recipe. I absolutely love this book because, aside from every recipe having a photo, it takes you through the decades going back to the 1950s, where the recipes are interestingly old school. I decided upon the coconut bars. What I did realize, however, was that I didn’t have any butter or walnuts, and only about a 1/2 cup of brown sugar! I was determined to make it work, and knew I had enough ingredients in my kitchen to make some substitutions. Vegetable shortening for the buttery crust was an easy swap, and I still had coconut left over from my grasshopper pie and tropical cupcakes. Now for the brown sugar, I had just enough for the crust, so in the filling I used white sugar plus molasses (which oddly enough I had, I think from one of Scott’s BBQ sauces), and as for the nuts, well I had almonds and pine nuts. And so, I was on my way to my very customized coconut bars, with my fingers and toes crossed!
These came out so good! The filling is almost like that of a pecan pie, so you gotta love that. So gooey and rich. The only thing is that toward the middle of the pan, it was a bit too gooey, which made them hard to cut cleanly, so if I made these again I may reduce the molasses by half perhaps. But after refrigerating these overnight, everything firmed up to a nice chewy texture, so who knows- maybe I was just too eager to slice these babies up and didn’t wait until the whole thing cooled enough. That is very very likely!
Make the Crust
- 1/2 Cup Vegetable Shortening
- 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1 Cup flour
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square cake pan, and fit with two criss-crossed pieces of aluminum foil, letting the edges hang over the sides a bit. Grease the foil. This will allow you to easily lift your coconut bars out of the pan when they’re done. Combine the shortening and brown sugar in an electric mixer until smooth. Add the flour and combine. Spread into the bottom of the pan and bake for 20 minutes.
For the Filling
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1/4 Cup Molasses
- 1/2 Cup sliced almonds, roughly chopped
- 1/2 Cup pine nuts, roughly chopped
- 1/2 Cup Shredded Coconut, plus more to sprinkle on top
- 4 TBSP Flour
- Pinch Salt
While the crust is baking, beat the eggs, sugar and molasses in your mixer. Add the remaining ingredients and mix to combine. Spread over cooked crust and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with more shredded coconut. Bake for another 10 minutes. Let cool slightly and carefully lift out of the pan, removing any foil that sticks to the sides. Let cool completely and slice into bars. Store in the refrigerator.