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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Magical Coconut Cookie Bars

Who doesn't love coconut? and chocolate? in bar form? Ok, well, that was lame... but I have a delicious recipe to make it up! This recipe is from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar (by Isa Moskowitz and Terry Romero). I just flipped through and landed on these!

Although I LOVE to bake, I've never tried to make a bar or anything with a 'homemade' crust-like thing. So this was definitely 'adventurous', but a very easy adventurous. This recipe literally takes no time to make. The hardest part of this recipe is getting it out of the baking dish (after it's cooled for at least a few hours, or overnight) and then cutting it.

Here you go!

Magical Coconut Cookie Bars

Makes: 24 little bars (I didn't even count how many I cut it into)

One 14-ounce can (regular or light) coconut milk
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup melted vegan, nonhydrogenated margarine
2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cups vegan chocolate chips/chocolate chunks
2 cups flaked, sweetened coconut
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (I used walnuts)

-Whisk together coconut milk and brown sugar in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil
-Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally (may form skin, just stir back into liquid)
-Remove from heat and let cool while preparing crust
-Preheat oven to 350 F and line a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan with parchment paper
-Combine graham cracker crumbs, margarine and sugar in a large bowl and mix well (moisten crumbs completely)
-Firmly press the mixture into the pan, pressing evenly from the center to the sides of the pan
-Pour the warm coconut/sugar mixture evenly over the base
-Top with an even layer of chocolate chips, coconut and nuts (in that order)
-Pat everything down until the mixture soaks the toppings
-Bake for 28 to 30 minutes or until the coconut is deeply golden and the filling is bubbling
-Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack for 15 minutes and then transfer pan to the fridge (cool in fridge for at least 4 hours, or overnight)
-Run a sharp, heavy knife along the edges of the pan and slide the cake on its parchment paper out of the pan and onto a cutting board
-Slice into 24 squares and store in a covered container in the fridge (also freeze well, tightly wrapped and allowed to thaw for 20 min before serving)

Notes: This took me about 28 minutes. I would use a tad more graham cracker crumbs next time to ensure a fuller and thick crust (I just mashed graham crackers we had, but you can also buy graham cracker crumbs already made). I also had a little problem with the walnut pieces staying on the top after it was cut into squares. So next time I will make sure to cut the walnut pieces finer and press them more firmly in the pan to soak up the coconut mixture.

These are decadent, rich and absolutely amazing!

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