walnut, coconut, black currant, chocolate chip bars

Walnut and coconut black currant jam bars

Walnut and coconut black currant jam bars

I’m in a mood to talk about things I don’t understand! Since David is at work, the dog’s not one for abstract conversations, and my imaginary friends are all busy with their monday morning chores, I’ll write about it instead. Or I’ll write about thinking about writing about thinking about it. (Nooooooo, don’t do that, Claire!) I realized recently that for a vague person I have some very strongly-held beliefs. I’m insecure and indecisive, but I’m oddly arrogant as well…deep down I honestly believe that there are certain inexplicable, inarticulable truths floating around in the universe, and I don’t understand them, of course, but I recognize that they’re there. I do! And it bewilders me that everyone else doesn’t recognize them, but they just don’t! I don’t believe that anybody can ever fully understand, but I believe in the value of trying to understand. I don’t think there are any definitive answers, but I think it’s important to constantly ask questions. I believe that words are confusing and clouding and inadequate, but we should never stop putting them together to help us to understand the world around us, and to share our questions. I’m in a mood to read words that other people have written about the questions–philosophers and theologians, possibly scientists and politicians. But I want to just absorb the knowledge–I want to inhale it, I want to eat it! And then I want to pare it down and arrive at my own explanation for all of the mysteries of the universe, in my own arrogant and insecure way. And then I want to write about it in the simplest and most articulate language possible, but, you know, with a touch of poetry. Luckily for you I have to finish the laundry and go to the grocery store, so none of that is going to happen. But the thinking continues…you’ve been warned!!

Let’s talk about bar cookies! They’re the simplest to make. You can combine all sorts of intriguing layers with practically no fussing and fiddling. I’d been reading in my old mennonite cook book about cakes that have a sort of meringue baked right on top of them, and that’s sort of how this worked. But the meringue is combined with walnuts and coconut. And there are finely ground walnuts and coconut in the bottom, shortbread level. And in between we have blackcurrant jam and bittersweet chocolate chips. Yum.

Here’s some Vivaldi that’s dramatic and tender, it’s beautiful, but I’m not sure what to call it. The first movement of a Concerto for two violins in g minor, maybe? Anyway, we’ve been listening it it a lot lately, here at The Ordinary.

1 1/2 cups walnuts
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut
1 t cinnamon
1 t salt
1 cup flour
1 stick unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
2 eggs, separated
3/4 cup black currant jam
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly butter a large baking sheet with short sides. Put the walnuts, coconut and brown sugar into the food processor and process till you have coarse crumbs. Take out half a cup of the mixture. Then process the rest until it’s very finely ground. And the flour, cinnamon and salt, and process till well-combined. Add the butter and egg yolks, and continue to process till smooth.

Spread this batter on the baking sheet in an even layer. It will be quite soft, you should be able to spread it with a spoon.

Cover this with dollops of jam, and connect those to make an even layer. Don’t worry if it gets mixed in with the batter a little bit. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the jam.

Beat the egg whites till stiff. Fold in the remaining walnut/coconut mixture. Spread this evenly over the jam and chocolate chips.

Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, until the top and edges are browned. Let cool to set, then slice into bars.


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