Packaged flake coconut is perfectly fine here, but if you ever feel the need to crack a fresh coconut, this is the recipe for using it. Coarsely shredding it on the biggest blade of a shredder gives you a chewier texture in the finished bars and lets the coconut flavor shine through. The additional sugar in packaged flake coconut isn’t necessary when you’ve got so much brown sugar already in the batter. These have an intense, caramel taste that makes them just about the perfect blondie, but I also love them with the addition of a cup (no more) of chocolate chunks, not chips. Then you get a sort of reserved hit of chocolate every bite or two that combines perfectly with the coconut.
- Yield: 6 dozen bars
- 1½ cups (3 sticks) butter
- 3 cups light brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon pure almond extract (optional)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1½ cups walnut pieces
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch pan with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang at either end. Butter the foil lightly.
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Remove it from the heat and stir in the sugar. Add the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract, if you’re using it, beating with a wooden spoon to combine.
- Stir in the flour, coconut, and walnuts, then turn the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes, until the blondies are golden on the edges and just set in the center.
- Cool slightly, then score the top lengthwise to make 6 equal strips and crosswise into 12 sections. Lift the whole piece out with the foil overhang, and when it’s cool, cut it into bars along the score marks. Store the blondies in an airtight container for up to 1 week.