I was attacked by a killer headache last night, so “Sweet Sunday” is actually coming on Monday this week. It’s worth the wait, I promise!
I discovered an absolutely delicious dessert this weekend – Black-Bottom Coconut Bars from the December 2005 issue of Everyday Food. This is yet another recipe I’ve been eyeballing for months and months. One of the ladies at Dr. O’s office requested a treat with coconut – it’s a change from all those yummies made with oatmeal! – and I had plenty on hand, so the time was finally right.
First, I had to prep my pan. I lined a 9-inch square baking pan with foil (I left a slight overhang on 2 sides) and then buttered the bottom and sides of the foil (not the overhang).
To make the bottom chocolate layer, I started by melting 1 stick of unsalted butter in a large microwave-safe bowl. I added 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and whisked to combine the ingredients. I whisked in 1 large egg and then added 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder and 1/4 cup of flour. I whisked the mixture until it was smooth and then spread it in the foil-lined baking pan.
I baked the chocolate layer at 375F just until the sides began to pull away from the pan (10 minutes). I let it cool slightly while I made the coconut topping.
To make the coconut topping, I whisked 2 large eggs, 3/4 cup of sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract together in a medium bowl. I gently mixed in 1 cup of flour and 1 package (7 ounces) of sweetened shredded coconut (minus 1/2 cup set aside for sprinkling). This formed a very thick coconut batter. I dropped mounds of the batter over the baked chocolate layer and used moistened fingers to distribute it evenly. Finally, I sprinkled the coconut layer with the reserved 1/2 cup of coconut.
I baked the cake (still at 375F) until it was golden and a toothpick inserted in the center came out with moist crumbs attached (25 minutes). I did decide to tent my pan with foil at the 20-minute mark to prevent the top layer of coconut from browning too much. After the cake had cooled completely in the pan, I peeled off the foil and cut it into 24 bars.
Aren’t they just adorable? I love the layered look of these bars, and it’s like getting two desserts in one bite. The bottom is basically a thin brownie, and the top is like a chewy coconut macaroon. Both layers were terrifically moist, and I loved the slight crunch of the browned coconut on the top layer. These were a big hit at Dr. O’s office, and I look forward to making them again and again.
TIPS: I actually made these bars twice in the past few days. The first time around, I didn’t wait patiently for the bars to cool completely before I removed them from the pan and peeled off the foil. They were still a bit hot in the bottom center, so that part of the brownie layer ended up coming off with the foil. Not good! The second time, I let them sit for about 2 hours before I removed the foil and cut them, which worked out perfectly.
Also, always use room temperature eggs when baking for the best results possible. Ingredients come together easier to form a batter when they are at the same temperature. You can let eggs come to room temperature on the counter (no longer than 30 minutes) or you could put them in a bowl of warm (not hot!) tap water for about 2 minutes.
Recipe link: Black-Bottom Coconut Bars