When I was trying to decide whether to bake some cappuccino thumbprint cookies, re-make some caramel crumb bars, or go for the coconut pecan chocolate chunk bars, I posed the question to everyone on Twitter. I received an enthusiastic, majority vote for coconut pecan chocolate chunk bars. Don’t tell anyone, but I was secretly hoping for that result. These cookies sounded decadent and somehow gooey and crunchy at the same time. All of the options I was considering are from The Modern Baker which is a book that hasn’t failed me yet. Every time I open this book, I’m reminded of something else I want to try. Just now, I was distracted by the photo of some little, Parisian fruit tarts. But, I wanted to tell you about these cookie bars. The base is a crunchy, shortbread kind of layer which is covered with a mixture similar to pecan pie filling and topped with chocolate chunks. Yes, I’m happy these won the vote.
The buttery dough was pressed evenly but not too firmly into a nine by thirteen inch pan, and it was baked until puffed for about 15 minutes. The filling was made from brown sugar, eggs, granulated sugar, vanilla, sweetened flaked coconut, and coarsely chopped pecans. Last, chocolate chunks were strewn about on top, and there was an interesting note about the chocolate. After chunking it into one-quarter to one-half inch pieces, Malgieri instructs you to place the chocolate in a strainer to sift away any dust formed while chopping it. He suggests tidier chocolate gives the bars a nicer look, and chocolate chopped from a block is of higher quality than chocolate chips.
The bars were just as decadent as I thought they might be. In fact, it’s a good idea to cut these into rather small squares. There’s a note at the end of the recipe stating that you should freeze the bars if they’re not eaten right away, so I’m glad to know they freeze well. They are rich and sweet, but a good, bittersweet chocolate prevents them from being too, too sweet. And, the coexistence of gooeyness from the brown sugar filling and crunchiness from the cookie crust and pecans was even better than I’d hoped.