When my husband and I were seniors in high school, I thought it would be fun to play an April Fool’s joke on him, so I called his mom to get her recipe for his favorite cookies. She said his all-time favorite treat was probably “coconut chews,” which are like coconut blondie brownie bars. She gave me the recipe, and I made a big pan of them, which I took to school and passed out to all our friends over our lunch break. However, I placed a thin layer of cardboard (from the packaging from one of my dad’s dress shirts) in the bottom of the pan, so every “coconut chew” had an inedible bottom layer that made eating the bars extremely awkward! To actually eat them, we all had to scrape off the chewy brownie from the top of the cardboard with our teeth and then throw out the cardboard.
Alan was quite shy and duly impressed by the treat . . . but not sure how to react to the cardboard. As I was very much into practical jokes and having fun, I thought it was a great gag. He must have forgiven me, because we did get married about five years later. I had planned to make him some cardboard coconut chews for a gag again 50+ years hence, but somehow with the COVID crisis, I didn’t have the heart. Nevertheless, I did make some recently, and he still loves them, so here’s his mom’s recipe:
(Makes 12 large or 24 small bars)
Preheat your oven to 350° F.
In a blender add:
3/4 c. softened butter
2 cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
Whip for three minutes or until well blended and a little fluffy, then add:
1 and 1/4 cups flour
2 cups shredded or flake coconut, firmly packed (or, one 7-8 oz package)
Beat until completely mixed, then spread evenly into the bottom of a well greased 9X13″ baking pan and bake for 30 minutes at 350°F. or until the edges and top are just starting to turn a golden brown and the center is relatively firm to the touch. Don’t over cook, though, because you want them to be chewy even after they cool.
Serve warm if you can, although they’re good warm, room temperature, or reheated. Now that I don’t have a big family to eat them all the first day, I keep mine in the refrigerator with saran wrap so they don’t dry out. I can keep them all week that way, but when I’m ready to serve them, I reheat each one for 12-15 seconds in my microwave to make them just a little warm. They also freeze well if you want to make them ahead for a party.
“Through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13).