Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Back-To-School-Snacks: German Chocolate Cookie Bars

Do you remember having major food aversions as a kid? I hated tomatoes, beets, carrots, and flaked coconut. The tomatoes were juicy, squishy, and gross plus my skin always felt itchy if some of the tomato juice spilled on them. Beets were too "bloody" in appearance, carrots were bland and watery, and coconut simply ruined a perfectly nice cookie or cake. It's funny how things like that change, because now I love all those things! I also lament that I did not learn to love carrots sooner, because now I am doomed to wear contacts or glasses for the rest of my life. Perhaps if I had eaten some of that extra beta carotene, I could have avoided this optical handicap!

My kids similarly have issues with certain foods.  However, they definitely have some weird aversions to foods that are generally accepted as "kid-friendly". I shouldn't say "they" because I really just am referring to Matthew. The only thing Emma won't eat is lettuce. Matthew will not touch potatoes in any form (except maybe french fries...maybe), cheese (unless on a pizza), deli meat, and most breakfast cereals. However, he loves tomatoes (he'll eat them whole like an apple), carrots, and coconut. Beets do scare him, however,

However, coconut is one of his favorite flavors! So it came as no surprise that he chose these German Chocolate Cookie Bars to be part of our baking extravaganza. I loved how easy these were to throw together. They utilize a cake mix and although I'm all about making things from scratch, sometimes those cake mix desserts are the greatest! Thanks the the cake mix, this cookie recipe came together very quickly which was invaluable for the small attention span of my little helper.

We waited a good 24 hours to allow the cookies time to cool and chill in the fridge so we could cut them nicely and I assure you the torture was acute. But they were worth the wait! Matthew and I both loved them and how could we not? The gooey, delectable flavors of German Chocolate Cake (which happens to be my favorite) baked into a portable, hand-held form = one awesome cookie!

German Chocolate Cookie Bars
adapted slightly from Favorite Family Recipes

For the Crust:
1 box German Chocolate cake mix (or chocolate cake mix without the pudding added)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg

For the Filling:
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan or line with parchment.

In a medium bowl, mix together the cake mix, butter and egg, and press into the bottom of the prepared pan. The crust should not come up the sides. Bake for 7 minutes and remove from the oven. The crust will not look done.

While the crust is baking, mix together the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, egg, pecans and coconut. Pour evenly over the warm crust and sprinkle evenly with the chocolate chips. Bake for 24-30 minutes, until the top is a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely before cutting into squares. I let these hang out in the fridge for about an hour before they were able to be sliced neatly. Let them come to room temperature before serving.

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