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December 11, 2007 / Tony

Dream Bars

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Dream bars are quite possibly (with the exception of an exceptional lasagna recipe) my favorite recipe from the Joy of Cooking.  I am not surprised that the cookbook crows that many a copy of the the cookbook has been sold on the strength of that recipe alone.  These bars just simply rock.  They are chewy with a hint of crispiness and just sweet enough with a citrusy icing.  The middle layer is a perfect mix of crunchy nuts and chewy coconut.  They’re fabulous.  For some reason, though, I only make these bars at Christmas.  I should really consider making these year-round.  Here’s the recipe:

Dream Bars 

For crust:

4 T (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened

2 T sugar

1 large egg yolk

1/4 tsp vanilla

For topping:

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts

1 cup flaked or shredded sweetened coconut

2 large eggs

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 1/2 T all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

For icing

2 T unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup powdered sugar

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp vanilla

Line an 11 x 7 inch or similar 2 quart rectangular baking pan with greased aluminum foil, allowing it to overhand the 2 narrow ends of the pan by about 2 inches. 

For the crust:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat the butter, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla until very fluffy and well blended.  Stir in the flour and then knead the dough until it is well-blended and smooth.  Firmly press the dough into the pan to form a smooth even layer.  Bake for 10 minutes; set aside to cool slightly. 

For the topping:  Toast the nuts and coconut in a shallow baking pan or cookie sheet until the coconut is very lightly browned, 7-10 minutes.  In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, brown sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla on medium speed until well-combined.  Stir the nut mixture into the egg mixture.  Spread the mixture evenly over the baked layer.  Baked until the top is firm and golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out slihgtly wet, 20 to 25 minutes.  Remove the pan to a rack to cool slightly.

For the icing:  While the bar is still warm, stir together the remaining ingredients.  If necessary, stir in some warm water to yield a spreadable consistency.  Spread the icing evenly over the top.  Let stand until completely cool and the icing is set.  Using the overhanging foil as handles, lift the bar to a cutting board.  Carefully peel off the foil Cut into bars. 

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