Dulce de Leche, Coconut and Chocolate Chip Magic Bars

I remember making “magic bars” for my high-school sweetheart. These are much more sophisticated, containing my favorite ingredient, dulce de leche. I adapted this recipe by Grace Parisi which was originally published in Food and Wine, Nov 2010. Grace include 4 ounces of bacon, but I felt that was over the top.

Dulce de Leche, Coconut and Chocolate Chip Magic Bars
Makes 30 bars

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
seeds from 1 vanilla bean
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups sweetened shredded coconut (6 1/2 ounces)
12 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup salted roasted almonds, chopped
One 16-ounce jar dulce de leche
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper, leaving up to 1 inch of overhang. Spray the paper with vegetable oil spray.

In a medium saucepan, cook the butter over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and browned, about 4 minutes. Scrape the butter into a large bowl and freeze just until solid, about 15 minutes.

Using a handheld electric mixer, beat the sugar, vanilla seeds and egg yolk into the butter at medium speed until blended. Add the flour and salt and beat until moistened crumbs form. Press the crumbs into the prepared baking pan and bake in the lower third of the oven for about 25 minutes, until the crust is set and lightly browned.
In the bowl, toss the coconut with the chocolate chips, and almonds.

In another bowl, whisk the dulce de leche with the condensed milk; pour two-thirds of it in the crust. Lightly press the coconut mixture over the dulce de leche. Drizzle the remaining dulce de leche mixture on top.

Bake the bars for 35 to 40 minutes, until lightly browned on top. Transfer the pan to a rack and let the bars cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Carefully remove the bars from the pan and peel off the paper. Cut into bars and serve.

The bars can be refrigerated for 1 week or kept at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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