Time To Make The Cookies

November 20, 2015

Years ago, in fact, because of my mother, I started baking Christmas cookies on October 12, Columbus Day. Mom stashed them in tin canisters and kept them in an ice cold unused room in the rambling house where I grew up. The room was off limits and notice was given that if anyone went near them, there would be consequences. By the time Christmas arrived, Mom had a bakery full of assorted delectable cookies that she beautifully wrapped in cellophane and gave away as gifts. Well…as the say, the apple does not fall far from the tree and I have carried on this tradition, stashing the cookies as I make them in the dedicated extra upright freezer in the basement. The shelves are starting to fill up with an assortment of biscotti, shortbread, jam filled and other home favorites. I have a sign on the freezer door that just says “don’t even think about it.” So far so good.

Christmas Coconut Chocolate Bars

Makes 36

½ pound dark chocolate broken into pieces
½ pound milk chocolate, broken into pieces
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
1 ½ cups whole shelled walnuts
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
One 14 ounce package coconut
One 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

Place chocolate in a heat proof bowl and set it over simmering water. Allow chocolate to melt. Stir in vanilla. Set aside.

Place the graham cracker crumbs, ½ cup of nuts and the brown sugar in a food processor and process until nuts are finely chopped. Add butter through feed tube and pulse several times to combine ingredients.

Press the mixture into a foil lined 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan, leaving an overhang, and bake for 10 minutes in a preheated 350F oven.

Meanwhile combine the coconut and condensed milk in another bowl and spread it evenly over the graham cracker crust. Chop the remaining walnuts coarsely and spread over the coconut. Bake for 10 minutes.

Spread chocolate evenly over the top. Refrigerate for several hours.

Lift the foil out of the pan and peel away.

Cut into bars.

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