Friday, April 16, 2010

Cake of the Week: Choco-Coconut Peanut Butter Bars

Happy Friday!

Let’s have an Office Bake-Off!

Those words? Genius. Pure genius.

So I got my bake on…and here is the result. This recipe came from the wonderful Jess – she first made them with white chocolate, then her mama made them with dark chocolate. I took the middle-road and went for a combination of Dove milk chocolate, and semi-sweet chocolate chips. Wow.

These Choco-Coconut Peanut Butter Bars are not messing around. They’re intense. They will sucker-punch you in the face and leave you in a laid-out sugar coma. (And I mean that in the best way possible.)

This afternoon they will match up to the best my co-workers have to offer. They may not be the fanciest-looking dessert on the table, but trust me, preliminary taste tests (i.e. me and PhotoMan) show that they are pretty freaking awesome. So let’s hope they can live up to their potential and do some serious damage!

Choco-Coconut Peanut Butter Bars are easy. And portable. And MMMMMMM! If you’re looking for a simple go-to recipe to bring to a picnic, potluck, or Office Bake-Off, this is your answer. I don’t usually bake with cake mixes, but what they heck, it never hurts to try something different. And I happened to have sweetened condensed milk and coconut in my cupboard, so all signs pointed to these bars.

Yep, you only wish you worked in my office.

Have a great weekend!

Choco-Coconut Peanut Butter Bars

 Makes 48 Bars

Preparation time 20 Minutes

Baking time 25 to 30 minutes


1 package (18.25 ounces plain yellow cake mix)

1 cup chunky peanut butter

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted

2 large eggs

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condense milk

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup frozen unsweetened grated coconut, thawed or sweetened flaked coconut

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1.  Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 F, set aside an ungreased 13x9 inch baking pan.

2.  Place the cake mix, peanut butter, melted butter, and eggs in a large mixing bowl.  Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute.  Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  The mixture will be satiny and thick.  Reserve 1.5 cups of the mixture for the topping.  Transfer the remaining mixture to the pan.  Using your finger tips, press the mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan so that it reaches the sides.  Set aside.

3.  For the filling, place the chocolate chips, condensed milk, and 2 tablespoons butter in a medium size heavy saucepan over low heat.  Stir and cook until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is well combined.  3 to 4 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the coconut and vanilla until well distributed.  Pour the chocolate mixture over the crust and spread it evenly with the rubber spatula so that it reaches the sides of the pan.  Using your fingertips crumble the reserved crust mixture and scatter it evenly over the chocolate.  Place the pan in the oven.

4.  Bake the cake until it is light brown 25 to 30 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes.

5.  Cut the cake into 48 bars.  Remove the bars from the pan with a metal spatula and serve.

Store these bars, covered in plastic wrap, at room temperature for up to three days or in the refrigerator for up to one week. Or freeze them, unwrapped in aluminum foil, for up to six months. Thaw the bars overnight in the refrigerator before serving.