Blogs > Cooking from Scratch

Chef Stacy believes that cooking from scratch and using the best ingredients are the secrets to preparing delicious and memorable meals. She has created dozens of classes for the home chef and teaches students how to master culinary techniques and recipes in just one session. Read on to see what she's dishing up for The Oakland Press today....

Friday, May 27, 2011

Dream Team

Fortunately, I have the luxury of having an amazing group of people who work for me.
In order to celebrate their efforts and show my appreciation, the Mirepoix Cooking School staff will be having dinner at my house tomorrow night.

When thinking of what to serve for dessert, I remembered a recipe that I used to make frequently while I was an apprentice for Joe Decker, CMPC, at Schoolcraft College. The Coconut Dream Bar was a twist on an Almond Joy candy bar, only, a million times better.

Making the dream bars is a little time consuming, but the nice thing about these bars is that they freeze well, if wrapped tightly.

In order to make the bars, you will need a few supplies:
half sheet pan (commonly known as a 'jelly roll pan'
parchment paper
cooking spray
double boiler
small offset spatula
bench scraper (a rectangular tool used by bakers and cools alike)
food processor

6 cups almonds, toasted
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, melted

3 3/4 cups coconut, toasted
1 1/2 cans Coco Lopez (do NOT substitute coconut milk)
3/4 cup salted butter
15 oz. good quality white chocolate, chopped fine

3/4 cup cream
9 Tb. salted butter
6 Tb. corn syrup (light)
12 oz. dark chocolate, chopped fine

about 2 oz. finely chopped white chocolate, melted and kept warm (for striping)

Spray a half sheet pan with cooking spray. Lay parchment paper down and press to flatten and release any wrinkles.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the butter, nuts and sugar. Pulse until ground into small pieces, but do not over-process. Pat this mixture into the bottom of the parchment lined sheet pan and bake at 350 until golden brown. Watch carefully, as nuts and sugar are prone to burn.

In a sauce pan, bring the Coco Lopez and butter to a boil. Pour this over the finely chopped white chocolate and stir to combine. Add the toasted coconut. Take this mixture and spread it out over the crust after the crust has been removed from the oven. Chill.

While the bars are setting up, make the glaze by taking the cream, corn syrup and butter and boiling them in a medium saucepan. Pour this mixture over the finely chopped dark chocolate. Stir to combine.

When the bars are completely cold, pour the glaze over the top and stripe with the additional white chocolate. This is simply taking the white chocolate, putting it into a small parchment cone or ziplock bag with a hole cut in the corner, and diagonally drawing stripes onto the top of the wet glaze.

Once you've striped the glaze, take a toothpick and run it through the stripes to create a pattern. Chill bars again.

When bars are completely cold, use a bench scraper (or you could use the small offset spatula) and release the bars from the side of the pan. Next, place a piece of parchment paper and place it on top of the glaze. Take another jelly roll pan and place that on top of the parchment paper. Turn the entire thing upside down.

Remove the pan. You should now be looking at the parchment paper you used to line the bottom of the pan the bars were baked in. Peel off the paper and place a cutting board on top of the crust. Flip this over and remove the other pan. Remove the second piece of parchment.

Now the bars should be sitting right on top of the cutting board, parchment-free, and ready to cut into perfect squares. Using a hot, wet knife, cut the edges off of the bars (save them for snacks or throw them away - I will bet you would never want to throw this stuff away!). Now cut the bars with a hot, wet knife into rectangles or squares. Serve at room temperature.

The steps for this can be somewhat complicated without seeing a photo. Tomorrow, check our Mirepoix Cooking School Facebook page to see photos of the process.



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