White Chocolate Macadamia Coconut Squares

White Chocolate SquaresCourtesy of Lory Utz

• Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
• 9 x 13 x 2 inch metal baking pan

Pan preparation:
Tear off a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil measuring 18 x 16. Invert the pan and center the foil over the pan, pressing it across the bottom and down the sides. Remove the foil, turn the pan right side up and place the foil shell into the pan, shaping it smooth and tight against the sides. Gently butter foil.

Crust:
• 2 1/3 cups all purpose flour, spooned in and leveled
• 2/3 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar, spooned in and leveled
• ½ tsp. salt
• ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into ½ inch cubes

Topping:
• 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
• 1 cup heavy cream
• ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
• 1 Tbsp. strained fresh lemon juice
• 1 ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
• ½ tsp. salt
• 3 cups (about 9 ounces) lightly packed, sweetened flaked coconut
• 2 ½ cups salted macadamia nuts, halved and toasted at 350 degrees till golden
(about 5 minutes – watch carefully so a not to burn.)
• 8-9 oz. of white chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate (I used chips)

Making the crust:
• Combine the flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times to blend.
• Add the butter and process until a smooth dough forms.
• Distribute dough evenly in pan and press uniformly into the bottom of the pan.
• Bake the crust for about 25 minutes, until nicely golden. Crust will pull away from edges of pan.

Making the topping:
• Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
• Combine the granulated sugar, heavy cream, melted butter, lemon juice, vanilla and salt in a large bowl.
• Add the coconut, nuts and chocolate, stirring until the ingredients are coated with the sugar/cream mixture.
• Empty the topping over the hot crust and smooth it with the back of a spoon.
• Bake for 40 to 50 minutes (my oven took 50 minutes), until the topping has flattened, stopped bubbling and is browned lightly. At first it will puff up and then settle.
• Remove pan from oven and set on a rack to cool to room temperature. Then cover with foil and refrigerate for several hours to get cold.
• Holding on to the foil, lift the bar out of the pan. You may need to release the side with a knife to loosen. While the bar is still chilled, trim the hard edges and cut into small squares. Refrigerate or freeze in an airtight container, layered between wax paper.