Gooey Chocolate Coconut Bars

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I was in the mood for something rich and chocolaty.  Well ok, I’m usually in the mood for such things!  But anyway, I came across this fantastic sounding recipe at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe and I knew it was perfect.  Well, I was right.  It really was perfect.  Smooth, rich chocolate with a hint of coconut.  Wow!  And although I usually hate desserts that seem doughy or undercooked, I followed the directions to a T and made sure these bars were a little “gooey” in the middle.  Can I just say that my hubby and I both oohed and aahed over  an outer piece then dove for an inner, slightly gooier, piece and we both declared it even better!  So please do not over-bake these. They truly are wonderful on the “gooey” side.  And follow Mel’s advice and serve them chilled…. delicious!

Gooey Chocolate Coconut Bars
submitted by Brittany ~ The Sisters Cafe

For the base:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract

For the topping:
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 egg
1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F and spray an 8×8-inch square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Line the pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the sides and spray the paper or foil with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar until evenly combined. Add the butter, egg, vanilla, and coconut extract and mix with a handheld electric mixer (or use a stand mixer) until the mixture is combined. Gently press or spread the dough evenly into the prepared pan. Set aside.

For the topping, cream together the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl until light and smooth. Add the egg and mix well, then add the cocoa powder and vanilla and mix until well blended. Add the powdered sugar gradually while beating until the mixture is smooth. Fold in the coconut.

Dollop the topping evenly over the base and bake the bars for 30-35 minutes or until the edges are just set and the center is a little wobbly. Cool completely in the pan before lifting out and cutting into squares. The bars taste wonderful chilled, by the way.

recipe source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

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