Friday, December 29, 2017

Coconut Cherry White Chocolate Bars

It’s still the holidays, and one of my favorite times is the week between Christmas and New Year’s, as it seems like is a time that most people have off and folks are wrapping up the year and looking forward to the new year. It’s a little hard to decide what to bake this time of year, as most folks have had a lot of decadent food and perhaps are looking to eat a little simpler.

This cookie could be a Christmas cookie. When I found the recipe, it was marked as a Christmas cookie, with a combination of dried cranberries, white chocolate and coconut. I used dried tart cherries instead, as I like the tart/sweet flavor that they add to recipes. You can use whatever is easiest for you. What first drew me to this recipe was the original photo I saw, which had big, huge flakes of coconut topping the bars. You could use regular shredded coconut, but if you can find the big coconut flakes, it will really add a lot. I found them at the regular grocery store, in the natural food section.

I really like recipes from King Arthur Flour, classic, but typically with a little twist. This recipe uses melted butter, and I have had times where the bars using melted butter don’t cook quite right, but that wasn’t an issue with these cookies. With the coconut topping the bars, it’s difficult to tell when the cookies are done. The coconut browns and becomes golden as the bars bake. I baked the bars until they were a deep golden brown, and were set in the middle. Had I taken them out of the oven when there were what I would typically consider golden brown, then were under baked in the center. The cherries pair so well with the sweet which chocolate and the toasty, buttery flavor of the coconut.

Coconut Cherry White Chocolate Bars
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1 cup dried tart cherries
1 cup coconut flakes, divided

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

In a large mixer bowl, combine the melted butter and brown sugar. Mix on medium until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring for one minute between each addition. Add the vanilla and stir to incorporate. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture. Stir in the white chocolate chips, dried cherries and half of the coconut flakes with a spatula.

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Sprinkle the dough with the remaining ½ cup coconut flakes.

Bake for 25-28 minutes, until golden brown. Allow the bars to cool completely before cutting into bars.

Recipe from King Arthur Flour

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