Eat at
#24: White Chocolate Coconut Cream Bars

Posted by: Joe at 6:40 pm on Jan 8, 2006

Originally posted at Gail's by Marilyn in FL.

from Pure Chocolate by Fran Bigelow with Helene Siegel Broadway Books, New York, 2004 ISBN 0-7679-1658-1

Marilyn's Comments: Please take note of the detail Fran provides in her instructions. It it obvious she is a born teacher and cares deeply that the end product turns out as perfect as possible. Personally, I love this book. The overall design is one of warm earthy tones---you won't find a smidgen of neon orange or flamingo pink. The accompanying photographs by Sang An also capture tones of chocolate, with varying shades of warm ochre, rich creamy whites, and bittersweet Vandyke. Anytime I get to learn--and fantasize at the same time--I consider it a good investment. But then I am a chocoholic through and through. This is a lusty book...but in a good way.

Coconut cream filling:
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/4 ounces unsweetened finely shredded dried coconut

Dark ganache topping:
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

White-chocolate shortbread layer:
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
1/3 cup sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups cake flour, sifted then measured

To make the filling:
In a saucepan, heat cream over medium-high heat just until it begins to simmer. Remove from the heat, add the white chocolate, and stir until smooth and melted. Stir in the coconut. Pour into a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap touching the top. Let sit at room temperature at least 3, but no longer than 24 hours.

To make the shortbread layer:
Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch sheet pan, or quarter-sheet pan. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse the semisweet chocolate for 1 minute. Place in a small bowl, removing any larger pieces, and reprocess briefly. (Be careful not to over-process.) The finished chocolate should be ground to pieces about 1/16 to 1/8 inch. Set aside.

In a double boiler melt the white chocolate over low heat. Remove the top of the boiler when the chocolate is nearly melted and continue stirring until glossy and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly. Return to the double boiler only briefly if chocolate begins to set up.

In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the sugar and butter on medium-high speed until light in color and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the melted white chocolate and blend thoroughly on medium-high speed. Add the sifted cake flour and the processed dark chocolate. Mix on low speed until the dough begins to hold together. Remove from the mixing bowl and gently knead a few times to thoroughly mix.

Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Refrigerate or freeze until firm. To bake the bars: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325*F. Bake the chilled shortbread crust until lightly golden and slightly puffed, 25 minutes. Cool completely in the pan. If the base settles a bit in the center, do not worry. It will be perfect for holding the filling.

To assemble the bars:
Place the coconut cream filling in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or use a hand mixer. Beat on medium speed, scraping the sides of the bowl several times, until the filling is lighter in both color and texture, less than 1 minute. Spread the filling evenly and smoothly over the baked cooled shortbread layer.

To make the ganache and finish the bars:
In a pot heat the cream over medium-high heat until it begins to simmer. Remove from the heat and stir in the finely chopped chocolate until smooth. Let cool until about 80-85*F. Slowly pour over the coconut filling, spreading it evenly to the edges. Let set at room temperature about 1 hour, or place in the refrigerator to cool quickly, about 20 minutes.

To cut, score the filling with a sharp knife where you wish to cut. Then slice through the base with a long, sharp blade. Remove the bars with a spatula. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator as long as a week. 24 bars