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chocolate coconut squares

i’m still sloooowly working my way through gourmet’s favorite cookies (from 1941-2008) [1], and while i still have a long way to go, these chocolate coconut squares are going to be tough to beat. so tough, that i might just stop here and keep making batches of these instead of any other cookie, forever. they are so good.

adding powdered sugar designs is an easy way to make a dessert look fancy. i just made two quick stencils out of typing paper and carefully sifted some sugar over the top of each bar. it was a surprisingly easy (if a bit tedious) process, and while the small amount of sugar doesn’t really impact the taste, it’s totally worth it.

my baking dish is 8″ square instead of 9″, so they ended up a bit thicker. i think the consensus among everyone who ate these was actually to leave the bottom half thick and make the chocolate layer thinner. this one nitpick didn’t really stop us from finishing these off in a few hours though.

chocolate coconut squares
from Gourmet Magazines favorite cookies of the 1990s [2]. makes 36 squares.

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

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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 160F. whisk custard into chocolate until just smooth and pour evenly over crust, smoothing top with a small metal offset spatula or rubber spatula.

4. 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.