Monday, June 4, 2012

Dulce de Leche, Coconut and Chocolate Chip Magic Bars

Sometimes you have those foods in the house that do nothing for you. And then other times you have the foods in the house that you just want to face plant in to.  For me, these would fall into the latter category.  My brother and I made these  over the weekend.  Every time I walked into the kitchen I grabbed a bar.

They were very chocolatey.  You didn't really taste the bacon.  But you did get little bursts of salt in the taste.  My dad thought they were too sweet. So being the good daughter that I am, I ate his portions.

Dulce de Leche, Coconut and Chocolate Chip Magic Bars

Contributed by Grace Parisi

This is Grace Parisi's sophisticated version of magic bars, that chocolate-coconut bake-sale favorite. Browning the butter gives the crust a nutty flavor; cooking it in a metal baking dish makes it extra crisp. In a touch inspired by pastry chefs' favorite new ingredient, Grace adds bacon to the filling.

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (I happened to have unsalted but would have used salted if that's what I had)
1/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped  (used 1 tsp vanilla extract)
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces bacon, finely diced
3 cups sweetened shredded coconut (6 1/2 ounces)  (used 7 oz bag)
12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup salted roasted almonds, chopped (used sliced, not roasted...don't remember if they were salted)
One 16-ounce jar dulce de leche (used 12 oz jar of caramel)
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper, leaving up to 1 inch of overhang. Spray the paper with vegetable oil spray. (Didn't use paper...just sprayed the hell out of the pan)

2. In a medium saucepan, cook the butter over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and browned, about 4 minutes. Scrape the butter into a large bowl and freeze just until solid, about 15 minutes.

3. Using a handheld electric mixer, beat the sugar, vanilla seeds and egg yolk into the butter at medium speed until blended. Add the flour and salt and beat until moistened crumbs form. Press the crumbs into the prepared baking pan and bake in the lower third of the oven for about 25 minutes, until the crust is set and lightly browned.

4. Meanwhile, wipe out the bowl used to make the crust. In a medium skillet, cook the bacon over moderately high heat until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Drain the bacon on paper towels and let cool. In the bowl, toss the coconut with the chocolate chips, almonds and bacon.

5. In another bowl, whisk the dulce de leche with the condensed milk; pour two-thirds of it in the crust. Lightly press the coconut-bacon mixture over the dulce de leche. Drizzle the remaining dulce de leche mixture on top.

6.  Bake the bars for 35 to 40 minutes, until lightly browned on top. Transfer the pan to a rack and let the bars cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Carefully remove the bars from the pan and peel off the paper. Cut into bars and serve.

Make Ahead: The bars can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days or refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Food and Wine November 2010

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