Saturday, April 19, 2014

Almond Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Life is all about balance.

When it comes to food, I firmly believe that, as long as consideration is given to the proportions of the good, the bad, and the downright sinful, the stars will align and reveal happiness gastronomique.

Exhibit A: exquisitely nutritious meals loaded with vegetables, healthy fats, and light flavors (see examples 1, 2, 3, and 4)
Exhibit B: decadently delicious treats that spare no caloric expense and serve as a reminder of all good things (example 5)

It is time to add to exhibit B, my friends.
In the name of balance, I bring you Almond Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

I have been looking for various ways to use up two giant bags of sweetened, shredded coconut ever since J bought way too much for a failed pina colada recipe (almost a year ago!). After a thwarted attempt at making a coconut almond birthday cake, I finally settled on this recipe: Almond Joy Cookie Bars by Heather Christo. My version is only minimally adapted. I *may* have also copied her "worn-in baking sheet" back drop for my photos. Neat trick. 


These guys puffed up a bit during the baking process, but they stayed within the margins of the pan and didn't overflow. Don't worry. 

Don't you just love the transition from lovely afternoon sunlight to dining room overhead incandescent??

Almond Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 30 min
Yield 32 bars

1 cup butter
1 ½ cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
14 ounce bag sweetened shredded coconut
2 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
10 ounces sliced almonds
10 ounces chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a ¼ sheet pan with tin foil and then spray it with baking spray.
2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
3. Add the vanilla and the eggs and whip together until very fluffy.
4. Add the coconut and combine well.
5. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda and salt and then add it to the cookie batter.
6. Gently mix in the almonds and the chocolate chips. Don’t be afraid to use your hands
7. Transfer the dough into the prepared sheet pan and press evenly into the pan.
8. Bake the cookie bars for 30 minutes. Allow them to cool completely before slicing.

Calories 224, Total Fat 13.5 g, Cholesterol 33 mg, Sodium: 122 mg, Protein 3.9 g, Fiber 1.8 g

Chewy coconut. Crunchy almonds. Creamy chocolate. These cookie bars are sweet and rich.
Can't go wrong, man. 

I recommend cutting these into 32 small squares - about three bites each. There will be more than enough to share. Take them to work. Or a potluck picnic. Or an Easter egg hunt. No matter what you do, you'll probably at least burn a few extra calories from all of the coconut mastication (especially when you go back for your fourth and fifth bites).

I don't make cookie bars very often, but I am wondering why not!? These are easier to make than individual cookies, don't require multiple cookie sheets, and I'm not held responsible for producing evenly sized dough balls. Righteous. Anyone out there have a favorite cookie bar recipe to share? Hit me up in the comments. I'm all ears (or eyes, whatever)!

Happy Easter weekend, friends!

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“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
― Anaïs Nin