Coconut Chocolate Chip Bars

I LOVE THESE BARS!!!  My mom, my husband, Matt, Matt’s friend, Adam, and my in-laws would agree as well!  My mom and I made these last night for the men in our family who went to a Texas Rangers baseball game (6-0 Go Rangers!)  While at the game, my husband and dad texted me, “What are ya’ll making for dessert?”  My mom and I felt obligated at this point, thus we tore out the cookbooks to find something sweet to bake.
Here is what we found:  Coconut Chocolate Chip Bars from The Sono Baking Company Cookbook by John Barricelli.  This recipe is a take on the traditional magic cookie bar.  It features two distinct layers: the base, which consists of a brown sugar shortbread cookie-like crust, and the top layer, a rich, chewy oatmeal-coconut-chocolate-chip cookie.  Yummy!
This is the “real” way to make magic bars.  I almost feel like now I’d be cheating if I made magic bars with sweetened condensed milk.  These coconut chocolate chip bars were sweet, and had a caramel flavor to it since there is only brown sugar, not white (granulated) sugar.
Enjoy these tonight!  They are sure to waste your “weight watchers” points for the day.  I know I had one for breakfast, one for an afternoon snack, and one for dinner for dessert.  My sister-in-law had one for breakfast too!  My husband’s friend, Adam, said these were some of the best bars he put in his mouth.  Don’t worry Adam, now your wife can have the recipe and make you these!
To Make the Crust:  Cream the butter, brown sugar, and salt on medium speed until fluffy.

Add the vanilla extract and flour, and mix on low until the flour is absorbed.

Press the crumbs into a buttered 9 x 13-inch baking pan.  Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking time.

To Make Filling:  Meanwhile, whisk together the light brown sugar, salt, eggs, and vanilla.  Whisk in the flour.  Fold in the oats, coconut, nuts and chocolate chips.

Pour filling over crust, and bake in a 350 degree F oven for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan two-thirds of the way through baking time.

Remove from oven and let cool completely before cutting into bars.

Serve and try and see if you can just eat one!

Coconut Chocolate Chip Bars
Ingredients
Crust:
10 Tbsp (1 stick plus 2 Tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
1/4 tsp coarse salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Filling:
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 tsp coarse salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
6 Tbsp old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)
1 1/2 cups macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped (we used pecans)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (we used chocolate chunks)

Directions
1.  Set the oven rack in the middle position.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish; set aside.
2.  To make the crust:  In a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter with the brown sugar and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl halfway through.  Beat in the vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, beat in the flour until absorbed.
3.  Press the dough over the bottom of the prepared baking dish.  Set on a baking sheet and bake, rotating the sheet about halfway through the cooking time, until the crust turns an even blond color and is cooked through and crisp, 10 to 12 minutes.  Remove the baking dish from the oven.  Do not turn off the oven.
4.  To make the filling:  In a large bowl, whisk the brown sugar with the salt.  Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk to blend.  Whisk in the flour.  Fold in the coconut, oats, and nuts.  Spread the filling over the crust.  Sprinkle with the chocolate chips (we mixed the chocolate chunks in with the batter instead).
5.  Bake, rotating the pan about two-thirds of the way through the baking time, until the filling is set to a soft, chewy, cookie-like texture, 20 to 25 minutes.  Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.  Cut into bars approximately 2 1/4 by 2 1/2 inches.

Yield:  about 20 bars
The Sono Baking Company Cookbook by John Barricelli

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