Coconut cherry chocolate bar cookies

Coconut, cherry, chocolate bar cookies

Coconut, cherry, chocolate bar cookies

Happy boxing day!! We’re having such a nice, slow day, surrounded by the chaos of Christmas presents and Christmas wrappings and new toys to play with and things to build (if you’re a boy) or chew to pieces (if you’re Clio). We gave the boys a few noisy toys, which they played with for hours (starting before I was out of bed, of course!). And then, at one point, a hush fell on the room. Malcolm was on the couch reading a new book, cuddled with Clio. I used to love to get books for Christmas. I can vividly remember the keen pleasure of opening a new Tintin, or Joan Aiken, or book about horses. I’d be wearing new Christmas pjs, maybe, holding a new stuffed animal, sitting by the fire, absorbed in this new world. It’s hard to capture that feeling again when you’re an adult, which is why David’s present was perfect in every way. He gave me some beautiful new dishes (one is pictured above), some blank books with little drawings from the dishesdrawing AND a Tintin book!! It’s all about how Tintin is drawn, and has little quizzes to test your Tintin knowledge. I love it!! I feel as excited as a child! As giddy as a schoolboy! And the best part is that I also feel inspired, by blank books and blank dishes. Oh the things I’ll cook to present on the dishes, and the nonsense I’ll write to fill up the books! The books I used to get for Christmas excited me because they contained vast, unknown worlds, and it was such a pleasure to watch them unfold. Of course we all have those worlds in our heads, strange and new – all of us do, and they can all come pouring out onto these blank lines. blank-paper

These cookies were very easy to make, and they seem quite fancy, cause of the chocolate and cherry combination, which always tastes like a celebration. Basically, they’re a coconut shortbread covered with a thin layer of cherry preserves, and topped with a chocolate ganache. Like a version of millionaire’s shortbread, I guess! I put a bit of sherry into the shortbread to make them taste extra Christmassy.

I know I’ve been posting a lot of Jimmy Smith, lately, but he’s just killing me! His songs are so warm, and pleasing, but completely unexpected in parts, till he brings it all home again. Here’s We Three Kings. I love how grand and big band-y it is, before it breaks into this ridiculously joyous and swinging tune.

1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter, softened (10 tablespoons)
1 cup icing sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla
1 T sherry
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 t salt
2/3 cup shredded coconut

1/2 (+/-) cup good cherry preserves
1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350.

Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the sugar till nice and smooth, and then beat in the egg. Stir in the vanilla and sherry. Add the flour and salt, and stir till you have a fairly stiff batter. Mix in the coconut.

Butter and flour a brownie tin or roasting pan that’s about 8 X 12, or thereabouts. Spread the batter in an even layer on the bottom – flour it lightly if it sticks to your fingers. Spread a thin layer of good cherry preserves on top. Sprinkle the chocolate chips as evenly as possible over the jam.

Bake for about half an hour, till the shortbread that peeks through on the edges of the pan looks golden brown.

As soon as the chocolate chips melt, you can use a spatula to make a smooth layer, and then return to the oven for the rest of the baking.

Let cool completely so that the chocolate sets before you cut them into bars. (I let mine cool in the fridge.)


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