Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Taking a Break

I saw this vintage MG parked on Main Street yesterday--just the sign I was looking for to tell you that I'm taking a break. It' s time for our annual house swap. This summer we are going to London for 3 weeks, and a delightful family from London will be staying at our house. I'm leaving them a bottle of Channing Daughters Rosato and some of the Congo Bars I've been making all summer to take to parties, picnics, Cousin-paloozas. And of course there is a plastic bead project on the counter to welcome them to town.

I'm not sure if I'll be posting from Kentish Town (that's the neighborhood where we will be staying), so you may not be hearing from me for a couple of weeks. In the meantime, try this recipe! These bars are really delicious, pack well, and make a good beach snack. Go to Provisions (Corner of Division and Bay; 725-3636) for the unsweetened coconut.

Congo Bars
Makes 16 bars

3/4 cup unsweetened dried coconut
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 chopped pecans

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, making sure the foil is tucked into all the corners and there is at least 1 inch overhanging the top of the pan on all sides.
2. Place the coconut on a rimmed baking sheet and toast, stirring once or twice, until golden, about 5 mintues. Set aside to cool.
3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
4. Melt the butter in a medium-size saucepan over low heat. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the brown sugar until smooth. Stir in the egg and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture. Stir in the coconut, chocolate chips, and nuts.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Bake until the bars are just set in the center, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
6. Grasping the overhanging foil on either side of the pan, lift out the bars and place them on a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares. COngo bars will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for 3 days.

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