My son’s favorite candy bar is a Mounds. It is weird to me that such a picky child would love a candy bar with coconut, but he does. I saw these bars, described to taste like Mounds bars, and I knew they would be perfect for Jack. I was so excited to have him taste one. I just couldn’t wait for him to get home from school and see his face when he tried them. Jack didn’t let me down. He loved these bars so much, I had to cut him off at two, so as not to spoil his dinner.
The great thing about these bars is how easy they are to make. You just prepare a basic graham cracker crust, sprinkle it with coconut and chocolate chips, and drown it in lots of condensed milk. That’s it. I have to say, usually I am not a big coconut fan. I like the flavor of coconut, like in piña coladas, but I just don’t like the chewiness. But I have to say, I really liked these Dream Bars, Magic Bars, Hello Dollys… whatever you want to call them, they are delicious!
Gooey Coconut Dream Bars
Yield: 13 x 9 pan, about 20 bars
For the crust:
3 cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 20 crackers- just give them a quick run in the food processor)
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
For the Topping
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the center of oven. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and line with parchment paper; set aside. Use parchment. I made the mistake of using aluminum foil and it stuck terribly.
To make the crust: In a medium bowl, mix together graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and salt. Pour mixture into prepared pan and press into bottom of pan using your fingertips.
To make the topping: In another medium bowl, mix together chocolate chips and coconut; sprinkle evenly over crust.
Pour condensed milk evenly over coconut and chips, covering the entire surface. Transfer to oven and bake, rotating pan halfway through baking, making sure the milk does not get too brown or bubble over in the pan, 26 to 32 minutes. I think mine are a bit too brown. The picture in the book shows them golden, so that’s what I did. But, afterwords, I saw a clip of Amy making these with Martha Stewart and her edges were just golden and the inside was really white. I think they would be more gooey this way, so I think this would be better.
Transfer baking pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into 20 squares. Serve immediately, or wrap each bar tightly with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated until ready to serve. I had a bit of trouble getting perfect slices. I think they would cut better cold, but I had to hurry before Baby Alex woke from his nap. He’s not very tolerant of me taking pictures.