My Favorite Holiday treats – Caribbean Coco-Almond Bars

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I love making bars for the holidays. They are a treat that is easy to make and doesn’t require any post baking decorating. I really like this recipe from the 2014 WE Energies cookie book I styled, Caribbean Coco-Almond Bars. These bars contain some of my favorite ingredients: coconut, chocolate and almonds. These also freeze well as do many bars so baking ahead is easy. I like to line my baking pan with non stick aluminum foil then lift the uncut bars out by the foil after cooling them and place them in an extra large freezer bag or wrap tightly with a little more foil. Then, when it’s time to serve, I  thaw them for a few hours on the countertop in it’s wrapping and then unwrap and cut into bars. Super easy.

Caribbean Coco-Almond Bars

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground allspice

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces

¾ cup finely chopped toasted almonds

1 tablespoon dark rum

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square pan with foil, grease with butter. In a food processor, combine the flour, brown sugar, salt, and spices. Add butter, slowly pulsing until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add almonds and rum, pulse briefly until combined. Press into prepared pan.   Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool on a wire cooling rack.

Coconut Filling

1-1/2 cups shredded coconut

½ cup sweetened condensed milk

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons dark rum

¼ teaspoon salt

In a bowl, combine coconut filling ingredients; mix well.

Spread coconut filling over crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool on a wire cooling rack.

Chocolate layer

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped  

2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

In a saucepan, combine butter, chocolate and cream; heat and stir until chocolate is melted.

Pour chocolate mixture over coconut filling; sprinkle with toppings.

Toppings

1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1 cup sliced almonds

Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight before cutting into bars.

Makes 16 bars. 

Note: I used Meyer’s Dark Rum in this recipe. Delicious!

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