Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday Food Craft: Mounds Bars

Hey all, it's food craft time again! Everyone has their favorite treat on the cookie tray around the holidays, and this is mine. It combines the chocolate and coconut flavors of a Mounds candy bar with a super yummy graham cracker crust, and when I was little I would make sure that I got more than my fair share off the cookie tray, Santa never got to have these. Poor old elf.

When I was little I had always assumed that some great magic must be how they tasted so good, but in reality they are incredibly easy to make, and dare I say it, you'll never want to eat a Mounds candy bar ever again after you've had these, they make a Mounds bar look like a slow ride to grandma's house. I'm going to credit the graham cracker crust for this.

To make some tasty Mounds bars for yourself this holiday season you will need:

For the graham cracker crust:
10 whole graham cracker "sheets" (in every box I've ever had this is, annoyingly, one sleeve plus one cracker sheet from a second sleeve)
1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup packed brown sugar

For the coconut filling:
3 cups flaked coconut
1 (14oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

Chocolate topping:
3 cups chocolate chips

Start by mixing your coconut and sweetened condensed milk filling together and leaving it in a bowl. This helps all of the coconut absorb the milk and get a nice even texture. Set aside while preparing the crust.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. To make the graham cracker crust, I always use the tried and true method of putting my graham crackers in a large zip sealed plastic bag and thumping it with a rolling pin to make crumbs. There is something very satisfying about pulverizing graham crackers in the name of delicious baked goods, but if you prefer the food processor approach, be my guest. Once you have your graham crackers reduced to crumbs, add in your brown sugar and stir a little to get an even mixture and then add in your melted butter. Try to get the butter to coat all of the graham cracker and sugar bits so it will hold together in the pan. Once mixed to your liking, dump your crust mixture into a 9"x13" pan and gently pat down. You will bake this layer at 325 for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

Once cooled about 5-10 minutes, add your coconut layer on top and spread evenly over the crust. I generally drop large spoonfuls of the coconut mixture evenly over the crust and then use an offset spatula to smooth them together into each other. The coconut mixture is pretty sticky, so you want to spread gently as to not pull up a bunch of graham cracker crumbs into the coconut and make a big mess.

After your second layer is spread evenly, pop your bars back into the oven for 15 minutes, still at 325 degrees. Your coconut will likely be slightly browned around the edges of the pan, this is a good thing. Those are my favorite bars out of the whole pan! Set bars on a cooling rack and melt your chocolate layer. This can be done in the microwave or on a stove top with the use of a double boiler. I opt for the microwave method most often. Simply put your chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and heat at 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval. Once your chips are almost all melted, I switch to 10 second intervals. Melting my chocolate chips generally takes a total of 1 minute 30 seconds- 1 minute 50 seconds (sometimes I add a few extra chocolate chips so it takes longer). Stir well to make sure there are no lumps, then spread over the coconut layer of your bars.

Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate. I store these in the refrigerator, but you can also freeze them if you are doing a lot of holiday baking all at once, they freeze for storage beautifully. If you feel like adding some fun decorations, you can add your favorite sprinkles on top of the melted chocolate layer, my mom usually did. The best part: these are great at room temperature or straight out of the fridge!


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