Thursday, August 11, 2011

Almond Joy Bars

Dear Summer,

I'm giving up on you.

Don't feign surprise... you knew this was coming. How many times did you think you could get away with being partly cloudy? How many days of scattered showers did you think I was going to put up with?

I tried to be understanding. I didn't give you a hard time when June felt suspiciously like March. I was optimistic all through July, waiting for the day that you would finally be there for me. I even let myself start to believe in you again last week when I caught a small glimpse of the Summer I've been waiting nine months for.

But now I realize that all this time you've just been leading me on. Well, guess what? I'm not waiting around for you anymore--I'm moving on. Don't bother trying to stop me. I've already started daydreaming about The Puyallup Fair and Pumpkin Spice Latt├ęs. I'm planning what I'm going to bake for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I'm even shopping for rainboots. I'm sorry, Summer, but it's over between us.


P.S. Don't think you can talk your way out of this. I have proof.

P.P.S. Please accept these Almond Joy Bars as a parting gift. I'd been waiting to make them until you finally came around, but I couldn't wait forever.

Almond Joy Bars
Adapted from And Now for Something Completely Delicious and Betty Crocker

For the bars:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar (13.5 ounces)
4 eggs
2 teaspoons almond extract
5 cups flour (21.2 ounces)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flaked coconut (8 ounces) + additional for topping

For the frosting:

2 cups sugar (13.5 ounces)
1 cup baking cocoa (2.8 ounces)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar (12.7 ounces)


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour a 12x17 inch sheet pan.

2. Combine the flour, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer for about one minute. Gradually add the sugar, and continue creaming until light and fluffy, about two minutes more. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Add the almond extract and mix to combine. Gradually add the dry ingredients, and continue mixing just until incorporated. Stir in the coconut.

3. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan. Spray a piece of wax paper with nonstick spray, and use it to spread the dough evenly to the edges of the pan. You may need to re-spray the paper a few times. Use a toothpick to poke holes all over the surface of the dough; this will prevent air bubbles from forming.

4. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the bars just begin to brown. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

5. To make the frosting: In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, cocoa, milk, butter, corn syrup, and salt. Heat the mixture until it begins to boil, stirring frequently. Boil for three minutes, then remove the pan from the heat and cool for 45 minutes. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the powdered sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Once all the powdered sugar is incorporated, add the vanilla and mix for two minutes at medium speed.

6. Spread the frosting evenly over the cooled bars, and sprinkle with the additional coconut. Allow the frosting to set for about 10 minutes before slicing into bars.

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