I have a dirty little secret. This year, very different from previous years, my mom has taken a while to ask for Christmas lists (normally she is an early shopper), so I confess I have taken advantage of some of the great sales going on now, specifically at The Good Cook. Where normally I stare wistfully and resist, this year I am embracing those $11 cookbook sales. Which is relevant because this recipe comes from a book that I passed on during the first big sale, about a month ago, and then promptly regretted with all my heart (I can get rather passionate about cookbooks). So as long as no one had requested my Christmas list, I waited patiently for the sale to come back around and just today I pounced! Wee-hoo!
In the meantime, I got this recipe from Alice over at Savory Sweet Life, who reviewed Fat Witch Brownies: Brownies, Blondies, and Bars from New York’s Legendary Fat Witch Bakery and convinced me I had made a dreadful error in previously passing on the book (I’m not from New York–I knew nothing about the bakery). And if she had not convinced me, I would have known as soon as I took one bite of these bars.
Which, by the way, are momentous for a second reason. Alice’s pictures and general description persuaded me that I needed to make these Congo Bars yesterday–which is odd since I don’t like coconut in desserts. Which, in turn, presented me with a quandary. Enter Bob’s Red Mill, who makes these fabulous super-sized, unsweetened coconut flakes. I subbed them for the tiny shredded sweetened coconut flakes that bother me so much, and the result was stunning. So, SO good. What a revelation–both the bars and the large unsweetened coconut flakes!
- ¼ cup AP flour
- ⅓ t baking powder
- 1 t salt
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 11 whole crackers, crushed)
- ⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
- 7 T unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1¼ cups flaked coconut (sweetened or not to your taste, see notes above)
- ½ cup semi-semi sweet chocolate chips
- ¼ cup milk chocolate chips
- ¾ cup sweetened condensed milk
- ⅓ cup chopped nuts--I used hazelnuts (can be left out)
- Spray a 9X9 pan with baking spray and then line it with parchment paper. Spray it with Baker's Joy. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and then stir in the graham cracker crumbs and light brown sugar. Mix well. Cut the butter into the flour mix and then mix with your hands until the dough is smooth. Pat the dough evenly in a thin layer into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes or until the crust is slightly golden. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Prepare the topping.
- Mix together the coconut, both chocolate chips, and the condensed milk with a spoon. Add the nuts, if using. Spread the mixture evenly over the baked crust.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is well-set and light brown. Watch carefully at the end of baking time; do not let the top become too bubbly or dark. Let cool on a rack for 2 hours or until chocolate chips are no longer soft. Use parchment paper to remove from pan when cool and slice into bars.
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