Friday, April 14, 2017

Toasted Coconut White Chocolate Macadamia Bars

I go through spurts where I bake a lot with macadamia nuts, then go a long time without using them. My great friend often travels to Hawaii and brings me back macadamias! She has just returned from a trip and I had these bars set aside for when I had some macadamias on hand. They are just perfect for our local weather, too. They are springy, as it is spring, and they are also comforting. Great with the super rainy weather we’ve had all winter and spring.

Some folks don’t like white chocolate, but I find it to be particularly good with macadamias. The sweetness of the white chocolate pairs well with the buttery flavor of macadamias. Throw some toasted coconut into the mix and it makes for a very buttery, nutty bar. Sometimes when recipes call for coconut to be toasted, I don’t bother. Don’t skip it in these bars, it really adds a lot.

These are a quick and easy bar cookie, although toasting the coconut and chopping the nuts takes a couple of extra minutes. The original recipe called for melted butter and I used room temperature butter, which worked very well. The white chocolate chips that melt and make the “frosting” is just a thin layer. Too much more and it would be too sweet. I baked these a day ahead and then cut them the next, and that worked great. They seem to stay fresh, although as I’ve said before, that’s not usually a problem that I have to worry about!

Toasted Coconut White Chocolate Macadamia Bars
1 ½ cups shredded coconut
1½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped   
1 cup white chocolate chips

1 cup white chocolate chips
⅓ cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9” x 13” baking pan with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

Place the coconut on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a large mixer bowl combine the butter and brown sugar. Mix on medium until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, and vanilla and mix on medium until incorporated. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture. Stir in the toasted coconut, 1 cup macadamia nuts and 1 cup of white chocolate chips. Mix just until incorporated. Spread the dough into the prepared pan. 

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned and a thin knife inserted in the center of the bars comes out clean.

As soon as the bars come out of the oven, sprinkle 1 cup of white chocolate chips on the bars. Allow to set 5 minutes and then spread the chocolate in a smooth layer. Sprinkle with the 1/3 macadamia nuts. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.

Recipe from Food, Folks, and Fun

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