I’ve been a little busy. Conference calls, emails, meetings and prep meetings for the meetings. Double-booked evenings with back-to-back events. Early mornings and late nights.
I like busy. I like busy very much, in fact.
Then there’s the fun stuff. Rock climbing. Birthday and bachelorette parties. Jazz at Les Zygomates. Catching up over lunch at Flour. And then I decided to train for the Run to Remember. And to throw a Cinco de Derby party (seersucker and sombreros are a perfect match).
And that board meeting that I’m hosting at my place? I’m baking for it. And for book club too.
What am I baking? Coconut-Chocolate Layer Bars. They. Are. Outrageous. The bottom is a buttery crust; the coconut-brown sugar topping is chewy and sweet. And the middle? All chocolate.
Coconut-Chocolate Layer Bars
Crust (Slightly adapted from the crust of Very Tangy Lemon Bars 2.0 in Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies)
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons sugar
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom and sides of a square Pyrex baking dish with aluminum foil.
Combine the sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add the butter to the mixing bowl, mixing well. Add the flour and shredded coconut and stir just until combined. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the Pyrex dish.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until the crust is slightly golden and firm to the touch.
While the crust is baking, prepare the layers.
Layers (Inspired by the coconut topping on Helen’s Coconut Cake in The New Basics Cookbook)
9 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup and 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Combine the brown sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add the butter to the mixing bowl, mixing well. Add the shredded coconut and stir well.
Toss 1 cup of the coconut-brown sugar mixture and the chocolate chips in a separate bowl.
Once the crust is ready, spread the chocolate chip-coconut mixture over the crust. Then sprinkle the remaining coconut-brown sugar mixture evenly over the top and pat down.
Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Broil on high heat for two minutes until the top is golden to medium brown (Be careful to not let it burn!). Let the bars cool for one hour, then lift the foil liner and transfer them to a cutting board. Cut the bars into squares (makes 9 medium or 16 small bars) and remove the liner.