Thursday, February 24, 2011

Best Friend Makers

Need a best friend?  These babies will get you one!  They're perfectly brownie-ish without being too bold; the coconut, pecans, and white chocolate chips add just a little something without being too complicated; and it's all wrapped up in a sweet and golden package that is the definition of cozy.  See?  Best friend material right there!  But if you prefer your best friend in human form, this recipe makes enough to share with your current best friends and maybe even make you some new ones :)


Best Friend Makers (aka Congo Bars)
adapted from Can You Stay for Dinner

1 c. pecans, toasted and chopped*
1 1/2 c. sweetened shredded coconut
1 c. white chocolate chips
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
12 Tbsp. unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled
1 1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 tsp. vanilla extract (yes, 4!)

Preheat oven to 350°.  Fit two pieces of aluminum foil crosswise into a 9x13" baking pan, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhang pan edges.  Spritz evenly with nonstick cooking spray.  It’s important to line the pan with foil because you want to be able to remove the bars from the pan by simply lifting the foil overhang on both sides. Then, you can peel down the foil and slice them perfectly.  

Toss together the pecans, coconut, and white chocolate chips in a medium bowl; set aside.  Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.  

Whisk melted butter and brown sugar together in medium bowl until combined.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.  Using rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into egg mixture until just combined; do not overmix.  Fold in chocolate, coconut, and nuts.  Turn batter into prepared pan, smoothing top with rubber spatula.  

Bake until top is shiny and light golden brown, 22 to 25 minutes; do not overbake. Cool in the pan on a wire rack to room temperature. Remove bars from pan by lifting foil overhang and transfer to cutting board. Cut into 2-inch squares and share with all your best friends. 

* Note:  I'm a big fan of buying chopped, roasted pecans from Trader Joe's.  They're very reasonably priced, and the work is already done for you.  They're perfect for baking and for sprinkling on oatmeal or salads.  But, to roast and chop your own pecans:  Preheat oven to 350°. Spread nuts on a larged rimmed baking sheet and bake until deep golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer nuts to cutting board to cool; chop coarsely and set aside.

Ingredient Lineup:

 Layer 2 pieces of foil crosswise over a 9x13" pan, making sure you have
overhang down the pan sides.  Then, lightly coat with cooking spray.

Whisk the melted butter and brown sugar until combined.

Stir in the flour mixture with a spatula.

 Fold in the pecans, coconut, and chocolate chips until combined.

 Spread the stiff dough into prepared cake pan.

 Bake until golden and shiny.

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  1. These look wonderful. I'm not a big chocolate chip fan but I love white chocolate chips. Thanks for the recipe.

  2. @Angie - thanks! I'm thinking that you could use any kind of chip in them, as long as it goes with coconut. Like Butterscotch, or even Peanut Butter or Cinnamon chips!


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