Dark chocolate. Sweet, chewy coconut. Crunchy almonds. All atop an amazingly moist bar.
RESISTING IS FUTILE.
I like to cook, but I LOVE to bake. Yummy desserts make for joyful times – smiles, chocolate-smeared fingers, and happy tastebuds. Perhaps baked goods are the way to world peace? Or just, “Can I have another piece?”
These have been on my to-do list for a long while. I bought the dark chocolate chips and coconut two months ago and proclaimed to Casey (the other Almond Joy lover in the house) that we were going to embark on this Almond Joy adventure. He was more than on board with it. Then, Thanksgiving and Christmas hit and it seemed we had cookies, cakes, and pies EVERYWHERE. That was not the time to roll it out. No, no, no. This baby needs top-billing, all the spotlight, and 100% of the attention. (Can desserts be needy?)
THIS ONE CAN.
Now, mid-January, we seem to be having a dessert shortage (oh, the horror) and today was a great day to go for it. I started with my sure-fire congo bar recipe, which is already packed with coconut. I decreased the chocolate chips a bit to account for the extra chocolate that would be drizzled on top. Then concocted a topping out of more coconut and almonds. Once it baked and cooled, I melted the dark chocolate along with some vegetable shortening and drizzled it over the top.
STUPENDOUS. A dense, moist bar reminiscent of a blondie, speckled with semi sweet chocolate chips and packed with coconut. A top sprinkled with toasted coconut and crunchy with almonds. And the kicker? A dark chocolate drizzle to tie it all together. Good golly, Miss Molly!!!
To be honest, I debated for a long time which way to go with this — muffins, scones, cookies, cupcakes, bars? There were so many possibilities!! WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE??
For the batter:
2/3 cup butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet morsels (I used mini morsels)
1 cup sweetened coconut
For the topping:
1/2 cup sweetened coconut
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup dark chocolate morsels or chunks
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 13×9 baking pan with pan spray.
1) Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla together until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes on medium speed).
2) In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture bit by bit to the butter/sugar mixture, and beat on low between each addition.
3) Fold in the semi-sweet chocolate and 1 cup of coconut. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and smooth over with a spatula to ensure it is evenly distributed in the pan.
4) In a small bowl, make the topping by combining 1/2 cup coconut with 1/3 cup sliced almonds. Sprinkle the mixture over the batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes. The bars are done with a toothpick inserted 1″ from the side comes out clean, yet the center is still a bit sticky. Set aside to cool for about 30 minutes.
5) Once the bars have cooled to room temperature, prepare the chocolate drizzle. Melt the dark chocolate morsels and shortening over a double boiler (or in the microwave for 30 seconds, then 10-second intervals, stirring in between each). Using a spoon, drizzle the melted chocolate all over the bars. Let cool and harden before slicing into squares.