fat free opinions on a food centric life

Chocolate Coconut Slices

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If I think about it, I’m only a day behind on my production for our 12 Days of Cookies Extravaganza, and that’s not too bad.  If I hadn’t gotten into the kitchen early this morning, I’d be two days behind because no sooner had I popped my latest creation in the fridge, than I was banished outside to keep the dog company.  The nice thing about it was that although a bit chilly in the shade, a clear blue sky and Santa Ana winds helped keep me on task as I trimmed creeping fig from the back wall, raked up the piles I’d created over the past few days, and then settled down on our bench to relax and look at recipes seriously lacking in sugar and butter.  Perhaps by osmosis I might be able to gain from the healthiness, right?   Right, and pigs fly, lady.

I hadn’t originally intended on making Chocolate Coconut Squares, Gourmet’s favorite cookie from 1997 because my husband isn’t too fond of coconut.  Unfortunately, I love it in all shapes and forms, so I decided to treat myself since these require only a short baking time on the front end, and a long refrigeration time.  The most interesting aspect of this recipe was making a custard base to stir into the chocolate before refrigeration.

I’m thinking these are perfect if you’re in the mood for something a little fudge-like, but more creamy, and with a fantastic coconut crust.  I decided they deserved to be partied up a bit by presenting them in wedges and a lace petticoat.

Nice.  IMG_7870

Here’s the original recipe for Chocolate Coconut Squares as it appears at Gourmet…

Somewhere between bar cookies and candy bars,
with a thick layer of chocolate on the top, these rich little treats were the finale to a caroling dinner that began with a modern take on Beef Wellington.

This is just one of Gourmet‘s Favorite Cookies: 1941-2008. Although we’ve retested the recipes, in the interest of authenticity we’ve left them unchanged: The instructions below are still exactly as they were originally printed.

13 small (2-inch) wheatmeal biscuits such as Carr’s or ten 5- by 2 1/2-inch graham crackers
3/4
stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2
cups sweetened flaked coconut (about 5 ounces)
1/4
teaspoon salt
12
ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened)
2
large egg yolks
1
cup heavy cream
confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a food processor pulse biscuits or crackers until finely ground. Melt
butter and in large bowl stir together with crumbs, coconut, and salt
until combined. Firmly press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom of a
9-inch square baking pan and bake in middle of oven until golden, about
15 minutes. Cool crust completely in pan on a rack.

Chop chocolate. In a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a saucepan of
barely simmering water melt chocolate, stirring until smooth. Remove
top of double boiler or bowl from heat and cool chocolate 15 minutes.

In a small bowl lightly beat yolks. In a saucepan heat cream over moderate
heat until it just boils and whisk 1/2 cup into yolks, whisking
constantly. Add mixture to remaining cream and cook over moderate heat,
whisking, until an instant-read thermometer registers 160° F. Whisk
custard into chocolate until just smooth and pour evenly over crust,
smoothing top with a small metal offset spatula or rubber spatula. Chill confection, covered, at least 4 hours, or until firm. With a sharp thin knife cut confection into 36 squares. Squares keep, layered between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container and chilled, 1 week.

Using star shapes cut out of parchment paper as a stencil, dust squares with confectioners’ sugar. Makes 36 squares.

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My Usual Notes:

  • I used a 9″ round springform — no spray or parchment is necessary.
  • I used Ghirardelli bittersweet baking chips
  • Begin melting the chocolate after you take the crust from the oven.  It will need to be cool before you proceed.
  • Begin the cream and eggs after the chocolate is melted, then you’ll be able to put everything together right away.
  • I chilled the “cookies” for about 6 hours.  The springform pan released without running a knife around the edge & cutting through is a breeze.
  • Cut before you dust with powdered sugar.
  • These are very rich, so even 1/16 is a bit large for us.  Cutting them smaller would be a bit risky for me.
  • I’m thinking these would go fairly quickly on a dessert table or cookie platter.
  • But what about a layer of apricot or raspberry jam over the crust before the chocolate goes on?  Mmmmm…..possibilities.

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Don’t forget to visit the rest of our cookie crew testing Gourmet’s favorite cookies:  Andrea of Andrea’s Recipes, Claire of The Barefoot Kitchen, Sandy of At the Baker’s Bench, Courtney of Coco Cooks, Judy of No Fear Entertaining, and Jerry of Cooking by the Seat of My Pants.  I know they’ve got something delicious just waiting for you!

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And if you have any doubt about what my house looks like, then check out the photos here.