These chewy bars are loaded with coconut, almonds and brown sugar. They're sort of like a blondie but with a shortbread-like base. Totally addictive, which is surprising considering the lack of chocolate involved here but when I brought these to my sister's house a few weeks ago, they were gobbled up, even by the little kids who said they didn't like coconut or nuts. Go figure!
I've made a lot of blondies in my life, (and certainly eaten many!) but nothing quite like these. These have so many textures and tastes going on. There's the crisp butteriness of the crust, the chewy, chewy chewiness of the brown sugar filling and the crunchiness of toasted coconut and toasted almonds mingling throughout. They're divine and will fill your house with the most wonderful smell (truly, they should bottle this aroma and sell it as an air freshener!!)
You start by making a shortbread crust-
While that bakes, you whisk the filling together and then pour over the hot crust, returning it to the oven to cook a little longer.
Once cool, you cut it up into bars and try to convince yourself that picking off little tastes, doesn't really count!
I have one parting thought for you: MAKE THESE!!
Makes 24 bars
Prep Time: 15 minutes; Bake Time: 35-40 minutes
For the base
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
For the filling
2 large eggs
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut, toasted
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1. For the base: Make sure the oven rack is in the middle and preheat oven to 325ºF. Line a 9x13 pan with aluminum foil so that the foil hangs over on all sides. Butter foil well or spray with vegetable cooking spray.
2. Using an electric mixer beat together the butter, brown sugar and salt at medium-high speed for about 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the flour and mix together on low speed. Dump mixture into pan and press down firmly so that you create an even layer. Bake for about 15 minutes until base is golden brown.
3. While base is baking, prepare the filling. Whisk eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla together in a medium bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk again. Using a large spoon, mix in coconut and almonds. As soon as you remove the pan from the oven, spoon mixture over the hot crust and spread into an even layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until edges look lightly browned.
4. Cool in pan on a wire rack for at least 2 hours. Remove the entire cake from the pan, using the aluminum foil overhang and then peel foil off bottom. Using a sharp knife, cut into bars and serve.
5. Bars keep for 2-3 days in an airtight container at room temperature but are best on the day you make them.
Note: Recipe based on Aunt Fannie's Toffee Chew Bars from America's Best Lost Recipes by the Editors of Cook's Country Magazine