Sometimes even I can tire of a simple brownie. I want that chocolate high but still something different. But not too different. Oh, dear, I’m over the edge. I need my caffeine. Now.

Which is why this particular recipe will supply all the caffeine you could possibly need. Do not eat these high-powered morsels after 10PM, unless you need to pull an all-nighter. And I suggest having a serious book nearby. If you haven’t read War and Peace, here is your opportunity.

Carol Walter is my favorite baking writer. Her instructions are just so precise, her recipes so thoroughly tested, that you are guaranteed success. This bar cookie, a dense brownie augmented with coconut and covered with a rich ganache, is chocolate combined with chocolate. While you do add a cup and half of coconut, that tropical flavor is not overwhelming. The tones of chocolate and coconut are well balanced. The ganache adds a final decadent richness that makes this dish ideal for dinner party dessert.

Or, you can just eat it all yourself.

Great Cookies Chocolate Macroon Bars


Chocolate Macaroon Bars


2 tablespoons melted butter for pan preparation
1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter
6 ounces fine quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup superfine sugar
2 tablespoons coconut liqueur or dark rum
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
3 large eggs, lightly beaten, at room temperature
¾ cup all-purpose flour, spooned in and leveled
1 ½ cups unsweetened flaked coconut
½ cup recipe ganache glaze (recipe follows for 1 full cup)


Position the shelf in the center of the oven. Heat the oven to 350°F. Invert a 9” square baking pan, then cut a 15 inch square sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil, center the foil over the top of the pan, smooth the surface, and press down the sides.

Carefully remove the foil shell, turn the pan right side up, and place the foil shell into the pan, shaping it smoothly across the bottom and snugly against sides. With the melted butter, use a pastry brush to thoroughly butter the foil, taking care not to tear the foil.

Place the butter in a 3 quart bowl set over simmering water. The bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. When the butter is just melted, add the chocolates and turn off the heat. Let stand, stirring occasionally. When the chocolate is almost melted, remove the saucepan from the heat.

Using a large whisk, stir the sugar, coconut liqueur, and the extracts into the warm chocolate mixture, then mix in the eggs. Sift the flour over the batter and fold it in using a large rubber spatula. Fold in the coconut in two additions. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly with the back of a spoon.

Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, or until the top begins to puff. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out slightly moist. Do not overbake. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. While still warm, pour the glaze over the top, smoothing it with a small offset spatula. Allow to stand at least four hours before cutting into 32 bars.

Alternatively, do not glaze the cookies in the pan. After the cookies have thoroughly cooled, cut them into bars. Place the bars on a large cooling rack with a jelly roll pan underneath. Then spoon some glaze over each bar, allowing the glaze to float randomly down the sides. Let stand until the glaze is set.


Ganache Glaze

Yield: 1 generous cup


6 ounces fine quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate,
¾ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
½to 1 teaspoon hot water, if needed


Place the chocolate in the work bowl of a food processor, fitted with a steel blade, and process until finely chopped.

In a small saucepan over low heat, heat the heavy cream and corn syrup together until it comes to simmer. Immediately pour the hot cream over the chocolate in the processor bowl. Let stand for 1 minute so that the chocolate begins to melt. Pulse 3 or 4 times, then let rest 1 additional minute. Add the vanilla and pulse 4 more times.

Empty the ganache into a container. If the ganache surface appears oily, add the hot water a few drops at a time, stirring well after each addition. The ganache will thicken as it stands, but should remain pourable. If the sauce fails to thicken, refrigerate it for 4 to 5 minutes

Source: Great Cookies by Carol Walter