Wednesday, March 09, 2005

White Chocolate Coconut Cream Bars

 Posted by Hello

After Fatima also tried this and we shared our experiences about it, we decided that it may be a good idea to use less flour for the crust. Do NOT forget to sift the cake flour before you measure it, and add it gradually until the dough comes to "press to pan" consistency. Do NOT use the leftover flour.

The recipe for these bar cookies comes from Pure Chocolate by Fran Bigelow, a very good book with detailed instructions for each recipe. These cookies turned out quite good except for a very crunchy crust; and I think I know why. The recipe calls for cake flour which I did not have. Supermarkets do not seem to carry it anymore. So I made an internet search and found out that a very good substitute for cake flour can be made by mixing 1 3/4 c all-purpose flour with 1/4 c corn starch. Unfortunately, I did not have corn starch, either. Instead, I simply substituted 7/8 c all-purpose flour for every cup of cake flour. This reduction is neccessary because all-purpose flour absorbs water better than cake flour. So one has to either add a little extra moisture to the recipe to get the right consistency in the dough, or cut the amount of flour. Since cake flour is sifted many, many times, I took the trouble to sift my flour 3 times, and measured it afterwards. Even with all these measures, I realized that the amount of flour I used was a little too much. This is the second time I am running into this problem (see Pistachio Cookies), just because I rely on measurements rather than common sense. The extra crunchy crust I ended up with actually complemented the smoothness of the coconut cream, and was not a problem except that it made it somewhat difficult to cut the bars nicely.

Coconut Cream Filling

1/2 c heavy cream
8 oz white chocolate
1 1/4 oz unsweetened finely shredded dried coconut

White Chocolate Shortbread Crust

4 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (I substituted chocolate chips)
6 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
1/3 c sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c cake flour, sifted then measured

Ganache Topping

1/2 c heavy cream
3 1/2 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

To make the filling, heat the cream in a saucepan until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat, add the white chocolate, and stir until smooth. Stir in the coconut. Pour into a small bowl, and cover with plastic wrap touching the top. Let sit at room temperature at least 3 but no longer than 24 hours.

To make the shortbread crust, lightly butter a 9x13-inch pan. In a food precessor, process the semisweet chocolate to pieces about 1/16 to 1/8 inch. Set aside.

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate over low heat. Set aside to cool slightly.

Cream the sugar and butter on medium-high speed until light in color and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the melted white chocolate and blend thoroughly. Add the sifted cake flour and the processed chocolate. Mix on low speed until the dough begins to hold together. Gently knead a few times by hand to thoroughly mix.

Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Refrigerate or freeze until firm. (Mine was already firm!)

To bake the bars, preheat the oven to 325F. Bake the chilled shortbread until lightly golden and lightly puffed, 25 minutes. Cool completely in the pan.

To assemble the bars, beat the coconut cream filling with an electric mixer on medium speed until the filling is lighter in both color and texture, less than 1 minute. Spread the filling evenly and smoothly over the cooled crust.

To finish the bars, heat 1/2 c cream in a pot until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped chocolate until smooth. Let cool until about 80-85F. Slowly pour over the coconut filling, spreading it evenly to the edges.

Let set at room temperature about 1 hour or place in the refrigerator to cool quickly, about 20 minutes. To cut, score the filling with a sharp knife where you wish to cut. Then cut through the base with a long, sharp blade. Remove bars with a spatula. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator as long as week.

 Posted by Hello