Culinary Curious

Photo: Keller + Keller

Dream Bars

Presented by America's Test Kitchen

Makes 24 bars

NOTE: Spread the coconut mixture as evenly as possible over the pecan layer, but don't worry if it looks patchy. Cream of coconut is available in the baking aisle alongside other coconut products.

Crust

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled

Topping

  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup cream of coconut (see note)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped rough

Method

  1. Prepare pan Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 13- by 9-inch baking pan with foil, allowing excess foil to hang over pan edges. Coat foil lightly with cooking spray.
  2. Make crust Process flour, sugar, pecans, and salt in food processor until pecans are coarsely ground. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Press mixture firmly into prepared baking pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack 20 minutes.
  3. Make topping Combine coconut and cream of coconut in bowl. In another bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Stir in pecans, then spread filling over cooled crust. Dollop heaping tablespoons of coconut mixture over filling, then spread into even layer.
  4. Bake and cool Bake until topping is deep golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on wire rack, about 2 hours. Using foil overhang, lift bars from pan and cut into 24 pieces. Serve. (Bars can be refrigerated in airtight container for 5 days.)