Sunday, April 8, 2012

Coconut Cream Bars

Happy Easter!

Aside from the usual suspects, for me, nothing screams Easter quite like coconut. It's really the only time of year I will consume my weight in the nutty fruit. That is if you don't count Bounty, Almond Joy, or Mounds Bars. I can eat those everyday.

Unfortunately, as I was taking the last process photos of these lush bars, the memory card decided it needed to format itself - and delete all the photos on it as well. Are you kidding me? I was absolutely raging, but then I took a moment to chill. There are worse things happening in this world than losing photos, not to mention the sacrifice the Lord took for us and the reason we celebrate Easter in the first place. Yeah. Perspective.

So, I decided to take the high road, put my big girl panties on, and share the only photo I have. Hopefully it will speak a thousand words, which is funny because that's about how many delicious calories are in them. 

Indulge my little chicken. Be blessed.

Coconut Cream Bars
Recipe adapted and slightly modified from Martha Stewart Living, May 2004

2½ cups sweetened flaked coconut
3½ cups shortbread cookies, finely ground
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
4½ cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Whipped Cream Topping:
1½ cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spread coconut in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring once or twice, until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely. Leave oven on.

Process cookies and ½ cup coconut in a food processor until finely ground and mixture begins to clump together, about 2 minutes. Transfer mixture to a 9x13-inch rimmed baking sheet; press into an even layer on bottom. Bake until golden and firm to the touch, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on sheet on a wire rack.

Whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a large saucepan. Whisk in milk and egg yolks. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a boil, 5 to 6 minutes. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 3 minutes more. Remove from heat. Add butter, whisking until combined. Stir in 1½ cups coconut.

Spoon the custard onto cooled crust; smooth top with an offset spatula. Press plastic wrap directly onto custard surface, to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.

Beat cream and powdered sugar in a bowl until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

Cut custard-filled crust into bars. Transfer to a platter. Spoon whipped cream into a pastry bag fitted with a medium star tip. Pipe. Sprinkle bars with remaining ½ cup coconut or finely ground shortbread cookie. 

Yields: 24 Coconut Cream Bars.

Happy Baking!

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