Ever have so much to do or say that you don’t know where to start? It’s been the story of my life for the last few months. I want to share so much. Like details from my first ever solo trip to London. And stories from my adventures with my bestie Teresa through Barcelona and Rome. And how I feel about the new celebrity cookbook trend as I continue to page through Gweneth Paltrow’s new cookbook and Bon Appetit with her on the cover (have quite a mouthful to share, for sure). And how I’m going to start unravelling next week.
But instead of continuing to get all worked up I’ll bring you some bars. Some really, really good ones. Slap yo mama good!
Bars are really like cookies minus the fuss of forming/cutting/portioning. Simply plop all the ingredients into a pan, spread ‘em out, bake, cool, cut and enjoy. These start off with a thin cookie layer that is baked until lightly golden which is then topped with a mixture of shredded coconut, pecans and chocolate that will knock your socks off. For this recipe, feel free to use chocolate chips from your supermarket’s baking aisle. But if you really want to elevate these bars take the extra time chop a few bars of premium dark chocolate into small chunks as the stabilizers in store-bought, bagged chocolate chips keep the chips from reaching their melty, gooey potential. And who can resist melty, gooey chocolate.
So the next time you find yourself overwhelmed stop and take a break with 1, 2, 3 … or a panful of these bars.
Coconut Pecan Chocolate Chunk Bars
For The Dough
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
For The Topping
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
4 large eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups (1 - 7 ounce package) sweetened shredded coconut
2 cups (8 ounces) pecan pieces, coarsely chopped
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate cut into 1/4” to 1/2” pieces (use 60-70% cocoa)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and set rack to the lowest position. Spray a 9x13x2-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.
To start the dough, mix the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl and set aside. Beat the butter and sugar for the dough at medium speed, in a mixer with a paddle attachment, until light and soft, about 2-3 minutes.
While mixing as the lowest speed and add the flour mixture, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Mix until the dough is smooth, but do not over-mix.
Place the dough into the pan, and gently press into place with your palms and fingers without compressing it too much. Bake the dough until it is slightly puffed in the center, and just starting to color, about 15 minutes.
In the meantime, prepare the topping. Place the brown sugar in a large bowl, and with the rubber spatula, mix in the eggs into the sugar one at a time, stirring until smooth after each addition. Add the granulated sugar then stir in the coconut and pecan pieces. Finally, mix in the chocolate chunks. (Don’t get rid of the “chocolate dust” that you will end up with after chopping the bars. That’s good stuff. Add it all in there.)
Remove the pan from the oven when the dough is ready and spread the topping onto the partially cooked base layer. Bake until the filling is set and nicely golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.
Cool the pan on a rack. Slide a paring knife along the sides to loosen and lift the slab out of the pan and onto a cutting board before it has cooled completely. Once cooled completely, cut into 2-inch squares to serve.