Saturday, April 12, 2014

Almond Joy Twix Bar Cookies

Almond Joy Twix Bar Cookies - made April 4, 2014 from Just a Pinch
This is a half-fail/half-success experiment. But I can't tell you which half is which. When I saw the picture on pinterest, I was "me-likey" because it had a crust, it had coconut, it had chocolate. You could also add almonds to make it more Almond-Joy-like. I didn't need as much as the original recipe dictated so I only made a half recipe and baked it in an 8 x 8 inch pan.
I went further off the beaten path because instead of melting bittersweet chocolate for an even chocolate layer on top, I decided to be oh-so-clever and instead sprinkle the top with chopped almonds and chocolate chips and, in the last few minutes of baking, chopped up Twix bars. Why? Well, a couple of weeks ago I took it into my head to clean out and organize my pantry. I discovered I had ingredients past their expiration date (those went regretfully into the trash), a leftover bag of Twix from Halloween (it should probably bother me that it's been that long yet according to the Twix people, it wasn't at the "use by" date yet), and a hoard of C&H light brown, dark brown and powdered sugar. I also had 3 large bags of coconut in my freezer. So it was time to use those up, especially the Twix.
I think this bar cookie was a good concept but I don't know that I loved it in my execution. Baking a half recipe in a smaller pan made it just a tad too thick, especially when it's mostly made up of coconut. I love coconut but sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. If you decide to make a half recipe, I'd bake it in a 9 x 9 pan instead. I also thought the chopped up Twix was a little jarring and didn't add anything to the cookie. I would've been better off making it more like a magic cookie bar with the almonds and chocolate chips sprinkled on top and omitting the Twix. Or melting the chocolate and pouring it on as the top layer like the original recipe did.
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
28 ounces shredded coconut (I used sweetened flake coconut)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups bittersweet chocolate chunks
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13 pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. For thinner bars, you can use a jelly roll pan.
  2. In a small bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until combined. Add the flour and salt. Mix to combine until it resembles chunky bread crumbs. (Note: it will not form a dough.) Transfer into the prepared pan and evenly press into an even layer. Bake for 8 minutes.
  3. Prepare coconut topping: In a large bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, coconut and vanilla. Spread over the crust and bake for another 20-25 minutes, until it begins to brown. If you're not going to make the chocolate layer, you can sprinkle chopped toasted almonds and chocolate chips on top of the coconut before baking.
  4. Chocolate topping: melt the chocolate over a double boiler set over hot water. Stir until melted and smooth. Pour over cooled coconut bars and spread into an even layer. Allow to cool then refrigerate until set, about 1 hour. Cut into squares.

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