Black Bottom Coconut Bars and the Art of Baking the Gift

June 10, 2011 § 1 Comment

When I don’t know what to give, I bake. Be it a distant friend’s birthday fiesta or a dinner party or whatnot, concocting something delicious seems a more personal present than the usual bottle of wine. Does he/she seem like a chocolate chugger? A vanilla villain? A peanut butter lover? Once I find out, I stir, pour, and mix away until the doing’s done and then wrap it in wax paper, then cellophane, then tissue paper, and tie ‘er up with a funky ribbon. So much sweeter than a boring bottle o’ tipsy. And always creates magic.

These BBC bars are so gooey. The textures of the crispy topping, creamy center, and crunchy nutty bottom are such a magnificent combo. I’m graduating college in less than a week (eek!) and made these for an intimate goodbye dinner among friends. Baked them the morning of, tied each bar up in red wrapping paper and blue ribbon, and gave them out at the end. Thanks, BBC bars. You were loved.

Choco-Crust
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter + more for greasing pan
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Coconut Filling
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 package sweetened shredded coconut (7 ounces)

  1. Preheat oven to 375ยบ. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving a slight overhang; butter bottom and sides of foil.
  2. Heat butter on stove top or in microwave. In a bowl, combine melted butter, sugar, and salt. Whisk. While stirring, add egg, cocoa, and flour. Continue to mix until smooth. Spread evenly in prepared pan.
  3. Bake about 12 minutes, or until just set.
  4. While bottom cools, prepare filling: in a clean bowl, combine eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Mix. Gently fold in flour, followed by coconut (BUT set aside 1/2 cup for later).
  5. Drop globs of coconut topping onto crust and, with moistened fingers or a wet spoon, smooth until evenly distributed.
  6. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup coconut and bake in oven for 25 minutes, or until knife comes out almost completely clean.
  7. Cool in pan before lifting out and cutting into squares.

adapted from always amazing Martha.

Peanut Butter Delight

April 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

Oh, peanut butter. You’re so bad. But so good.

Here, we’ve got the sweet-crunch of a sugar cookie, and the smooth-osity of Skippy, and the crunch-melt of Reeses, all in one bite. WHAT a foodgasm.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus more, room temperature, for pan
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
10 regular-sized Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
1/4 cup peanut butter (you choose: creamy or crunchy?)

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with buttered parchment paper, leaving a couple inches of overhang on all sides.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour and salt. Add dry to wet, stirring well. Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth top.
  4. Arrange Reeses Cups as you please and gently press down into pan. Between each Reeses, drop dallops of peanut butter.
  5. Bake until top is golden brown for about 40 minutes, or until toothpick just comes out clean.
  6. Cool for 20 minutes before lifting your peanut buttery goodness (with your parchment paper overhang) onto a serving platter and cutting into bars.

adapted from Yumsugar’s original recipe.

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