Brownie Bottom Coconut Bars & Honoring MLK

For about 8 years my family has sought to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King on his birthday weekend.
We talk about the life and work of Dr. King, and we think about what we can do in our lives to carry on the work for equality and dignity for all people that he and his colleagues did. I posted HERE about this tradition. As my kids are getting older, I want to think of some even more significant things we can do for this holiday.

I always make a treat that somehow incorporates chocolate and vanilla to represent racial integration and togetherness.  I have made cookies and cakes of various sorts.  Like this one.

I was trying to decide what to make for this year- a new recipe, one we’ve done in the past, a variation on a standard.  But when I was looking for another recipe in a stack of my old Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food magazines I found this recipe for Brownie-Bottom Coconut Bars.  I have had the recipe in my torn out magazine pages for years but have never made them.  I knew they would have to be good since they are brownie on the bottom and coconut macaroon on the top!  I decided MLK weekend would be a good time to make them, with their black and white togetherness.  They are simple to make and they are really, really good!

They are pretty and feel special.  All of my coconut-loving people gobbled them up.

Brownie-Bottom Coconut Bars 
from martha stewart’s Every Day Food magazine

Chocolate Brownie Base:
1 stick butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp coarse salt
1 large egg
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup all purpose flour

Coconut Topping:
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 package (7 oz.) sweetened shredded coconut (1/2 cup reserved for sprinkling)

For the brownie:
Preheat oven to 375˚
Line a 9 inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving a slight overhang; butter bottom and sides of foil (not overhang)
Place butter in a large microwave-safe bowl; melt in microwave.
Add sugar and salt; whisk to combine.
Whisk in egg, then cocoa and flour until smooth.
Spread batter into prepared pan.

Bake just until sides begin to pull away from edges of pan, 10 to 15 minutes (do not over bake). Let cool slightly while preparing coconut topping.  Keep oven on for topping.

For the coconut topping:
In a medium bowl, whisk eggs with sugar and vanilla.  Gently mix in flour and coconut (except 1/2 cup reserved for sprinkling).
Drop mounds of mixture over chocolate base; spread and pat in gently and evenly with moistened fingers.  Sprinkle with reserved 1/2 cup coconut.

Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes.  Cool completely in pan.  Lift cake from pan,  peel off foil, and cut into 24 bars.

It makes 24 small bars- but they are rich- so being small is good.

In our city Regal Cinemas and Metro Public Schools teamed up to offer free admission to students to see SELMA in the theaters.  We went on Saturday and it was very impactful.  If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend that you do.

It was hard  to watch.  It was emotional  and painful  and honest  and hard.  Lainey and I held hands most of the time and cried a lot during the film.  It was really important though.

It is a very well done film and a raw look at the difficulty of a tumultuous and unjust time in our country and the bravery of some amazing people. I think we need to know and remember and in doing so deepen our compassion for the not-so-long-ago events that continue to have ripple effects today.

Thanking God for the courage, clarity and spiritual strength of Dr. King and his comrades this weekend and praying that we might be people of conviction and action like them.

3 thoughts on “Brownie Bottom Coconut Bars & Honoring MLK

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