Dream Bars

Recipe taken from The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2010
ISBN#-13: 978-1-933615-54-7

Crust
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed (514 ounces) dark brown sugar (I used light)
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and chilled

Topping
1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut (I used unsweetened coconut flakes)
1 cup cream of coconut (I didn’t have this on hand so I used canned Thai coconut milk)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup packed (5 1/4 ounces) dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped rough

1. For the Crust. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees.Line a 13 by 9 inch baking pan with foil, allowing the excess foil to hang over the pan edges. Coat the foil lightly with vegetable oil spray.

2. Process the flour, sugar, pecans, and salt in a food processor until the pecans are coarsely ground, about 10 seconds. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 pulses. Using the bottom of a metal measuring cup, press the mixture firmly into the prepared baking pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.

3. For the Topping. combine the coconut and cream of coconut in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Stir in the pecans, then spread the filling over the cooled crust. Dollop heaping tablespoons of the coconut mixture over the filling, then spread into an even layer.

4. Bake until the topping is a deep golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack, about 2 hours. Using the foil overhang, lift the bars from the pan and cut into 24 pieces. Serve. (the bars can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days)

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