Chocolate Walnut Coconut Bars
Bars are not cookies, nor are they brownies. They are delightfully in the middle of the road. Brownies could be classified as bars, as they are baked in a tray or a large dish, rather than portioned out on a cookie sheet. Bars normally consist of layering ingredients in a pan and baking. Hence the reason I call this dessert for a lazy day. I made it even lazier than the recipe initially calls for.
Ok, enough with the boring dessert classifications.
I made this recipe because as I was thumbing through the stack, this was the only one that made my fiance (Scott) raise his eyebrows and go, “Hmmm” (except for the Chocolate-Dipped Peanut Butter cookies, but we had peanut butter cookies last week. Jeebus, he has a one-track mind). Of course, he does eat most of the things that I bake, so therefor, I cater to his tastes. For the most part! He’s a rock-awesome baker too, so there may be a post or two containing things that he’s made in the future.
One more thing – I will always post the recipes as I find them, including all brand names and optional ingredients. Sometimes I will follow them exactly. Usually I won’t go with the brands that they state in the recipe unless that brand is the only one that makes that particular ingredient.
Onward to the recipe!
Here’s the ingredients:
11 Honey Maid Honey Grahams, crushed (about 1 ½ cups crumbs)
¼ cup (½ stick) butter or margarine, melted
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Baker’s Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, chopped
1 ½ cups Baker’s Angel Flake Coconut
½ cups Planter’s Walnut Pieces
½ cup raisins
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
And here’s what you do:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13 X 9 pan with foil, leaving some foil over the edges to easily lift the bars out of the pan once they are baked. Grease the foil lining. Mix graham cracker crumbs and butter until combined, then press evenly onto the bottom of the pan.
Spread chocolate, coconut, walnuts, and raisins over the crust (in that order). Pour sweetened condensed milk over mixture in pan.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool in pan. Lift out of pan onto cutting board, using foil handles. Cut into bars to serve.
It says it makes 32. I didn’t count to see how many I cut. Sorry.
What I did instead:
So, I did a bit of changing to this recipe. I did not put raisins in it. It just seemed weird with all the other ingredients. I substituted a ½ cup of peanut butter chips instead. They don’t get all melty and disappear into the bar. They keep their shape completely. And I had them in the cupboard. You really didn’t think I would get away from peanut butter this week, did you?
I also used graham cracker crumbs instead of crushing the graham crackers. I’ll use the crumbs quicker, and the work is already done for you. See? Lazy.
I admit that I did use the Baker’s Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate because sometimes I am a stickler for exactly following the recipes. (No lazy? What the heck? You created MORE work?). But chopping was really easy with a big sharp knife that we normally use for cutting up the sides of beef bought at Sam’s Club. However, after tasting the end product, I think you would be completely fine using semi-sweet baking chips like the ones you buy for cookies. (Ha! Redemption!) And you will avoid having your hands covered in chocolate. Unless you’re into that kind of thing.
I did not use the Baker’s Angel Flake Coconut. You can use any brand of sweetened coconut. I didn’t use Planter’s Walnut Pieces either. We use a lot of walnuts, and we’d just been to Sam’s…so generic five pound bag of walnuts it is! And they freeze well. Yes, I did have to break them up a little because they were walnut halves, but still…
After a few minutes out of the oven, these were still a little on the hot side and still pretty gooey. But the flavor was good. After they had cooled (cause you have to test them again!), they were much firmer, and all the layers of flavors really started to come out. Scott said that he would like to have more graham cracker crust on the bottom. I had enough of a crust, so it would be your call if you decide to add more.
A few notes on ingredients:
I think I have an addiction to sweetened condensed milk. I LOVE using it in recipes. I love that most bar recipes call for it as the last layer. It’s the glue that holds everything together. If you’ve never made bars like this before, and are weird-ed out by the fact that you pour it directly out of the can and it pools on top of all the other layers before it is baked like some strange science experiment gone wrong, fear not! It melts down into the bottom layers and makes everything super moist while baking. Think of it as body lotion for the rest of the ingredients, cause that’s kinda what it looks like.
I never use margarine in baking. That stuff is one molecule away from plastic. Butter comes from cows. Margarine comes from a laboratory. No brainer.
Oh, and I use generic store brands wherever I can find it. It’s cheaper, and normally the same quality. I know, lazy AND cheap. But, to my defense, I normally make fudge with Ghirardelli chocolate, so you can’t call me cheap in all cases.
Final decision – definitely a make again! And the ingredients are very customizable!
Peace, Love, and Cupcakes!