Thursday, August 2, 2012

No-Bake Coconut Graham Cracker Cookie Bars.

I know these last few weeks of summer are for lighting sparklers and baking banana bread. I know this. There are even three bananas ripening on my counter, waiting to be smashed into some kind of loaf-cake that I will try to pass off as breakfast, and there are still seven things on my summer bucket list waiting to be crossed off. 

But... I'm ready for fall. I can't help it. I'm dreaming of pumpkin spice cakes, cozy sweaters, and homemade kettlecorn. I'm dreaming of baked cinnamon things, stomping on leaves, nutmeg in my coffee, and picking out pumpkins.

I'm dreaming of seven, sun, sand, and ocean-filled days in Hawaii.

Oh and hot chocolate picnics... this should totally be a thing.


One of these things is not like the other.

Pumpkin patches... cinnamon and nutmeg ... beaches?

Yes. This is real! In between pumpkin spice scones and cozy sweaters, I'll be spending a week in Hawaii   this fall and to be honest, I will be absolutely useless until then... unless it involves coconut, sundresses, new wedge sandals, summer beach reads, and, you know, important stuff, like figuring out how to twist my hair into a beachy side-braid or the exact amount of tequila it will take to dull my fear of flying.

Without ending up in a scene out of Bridesmaids. 

That was awkward.

Look. Sugar!

These no-bake bars are kind of like Hawaii in the fall. Graham crackers and pecans... totally fall flavors. And coconut!

Let's take a peek.

Slightly soft graham crackers sandwiched around a crunchy, sweet coconut-pecan-graham cracker filling, all topped with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting.

And it all starts with graham crackers.

This is how you know you're off to a good start.

Now top those graham crackers with a buttery, sweet mixture of coconut, chopped pecans, and crushed graham crackers.

It's kind of like a tropical pecan pie filling.

... I'm liking all these words.

More graham crackers. Good things are happening here.

Good things like sugary cream cheese frosting. You're worth it!

Summer baking = not baking = more time to shop for wedge heels. And... go!

No- Bake Coconut Graham Cracker Cookie Bars

1 (16-ounce) box of graham crackers
1 cup crushed graham crackers
1 1/2 sticks of butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
1 cup shredded coconut

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Line a 13-x-9-inch baking pan with graham cracker squares. 

Melt the butter in saucepan and add sugar. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and milk. Slowly and continuously stir into the butter mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly (to keep the egg from scrambling). Remove from heat.

Stir in nuts, coconut, and crushed graham crackers. Pour over graham cracker squares and spread evenly using a spatula. Top with another layer of graham cracker squares, pressing them down gently into the filling.

For the cream cheese frosting, place cream cheese in a bowl and soften using a rubber spatula. Gradually add butter and beat together until smooth and creamy. Sift in powdered sugar and continue beating until smooth. Add vanilla and stir to combine.

Spread frosting over graham cracker bars evenly. Or not. No big deal.

Chill. Cut into squares. 

Best if kept in the refrigerator and served chilled.

Source: Graham cracker bars from Paula Deen. Frosting from Martha Stewart.