What to Bring to a Holiday Potluck: Dream Bars
Last week we went to a holiday potluck hosted by Christine of Conscious Cooking. She asked that all the dishes be make from ingredients that minimized plastic packaging and that the dishes be brought in glassware, something recyclable or multi-use plastic. We wanted to make a crowd pleaser, but also something that is easy and quick to make since we were busy getting ready to leave for Indian Wells 70.3 the next morning. Amy’s Bread Coconut Dream Bars were the perfect dessert to make. And, we brought them in a running shoe box, of course!
Why You Should Make These:
1) it's healthy to have treats (sometimes)
2) there are only 5 ingredients
3) they are gooey and sweet and super easy to make.
The Story Behind this Recipe: For years I worked as the accountant for the bakery Amy’s Bread. In order to get to my desk at our Chelsea Market offices, I had to walk through the bakery, in full production mode. I’d weave my way through racks of fresh from the oven rolls, cooling before being packed for delivery. If there looked like there were extra, I’d grab one or two whole wheat walnut rolls for my post-workout recovery snack. I always starved when I got to the bakery because I swam at Chelsea Piers every morning before work. Sometimes I’d pass through the kitchen area of the bakery and find the staff preparing the pastries for the retail store display. If I was lucky, I’d pass by when they were cutting the edges off of a big tray of freshly baked Coconut Dream Bars. The harder edges didn’t cut it for the retail shop, but they made a perfect post-workout treat.
This is Amy’s recipe (with a few slight changes), adapted for an 8”x8” pan. Amy made these on the Martha Stewart show and you can watch a video of that here. If you plan to use a bigger pan (like a 9x13"), use the amounts from the original recipe, which can be found here:
or in the book The Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread
1 1/14 cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 1 sleeve of crackers, plus 4 more) *we used gluten free graham crackers.
1/3 butter salted butter, melted
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup coconut flakes(we like to use the large flakes)
1 cup sweetened condensed milk (this is slightly less than one can)**
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line an 8x8” pan with parchment paper.
Using a blender or food processor, grind the graham crackers into crumbs.
In a small bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter until combined.
Transfer mixture to baking pan and spread it out evenly, using your fingers to press it down firmly.
On top of the crust, spread the chocolate chips and coconut flakes (reserve roughly 1 tablespoon of the flakes)
Pour the condensed milk evenly on top of chocolate and coconut, so that you can no longer see the chocolate or coconut.
Top with the reserved coconut flakes.
Bake for 22-25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. The top layer of coconut should be toasted.
Allow to cool before removing from pan and cutting. Cut with a pizza cutter or a serrated knife.
**Save the rest of the can to use in your next cup of coffee or in a beet smootie.