I have this bad habit of amassing baking ingredients because I never know what recipe will catch my fancy and I need to be prepared for that impulse bout of baking. So when I "just happen" to be at Target, I might grab an extra package of chocolate chips, another 5 lb. of flour, a bag of sugar, etc. I won't even confess my acquisitive sins when I'm at Costco (that's right, those 4-lb. packs of butter do go into my cart on almost every visit). It's not such a bad habit, at least not until it hits a critical point when my pantry is stuffed and I can no longer fit anything in my freezer because of the masses of cookie dough, individually wrapped brownies, frozen bags of almonds, macadamias and pecans, and packages of coconut. If I'm ever cut off from the world because of a natural disaster, my sweet tooth and I would survive just fine.
But, I try and use what I have when I do get hit with those fits of baking madness. And anything with a brown sugar crust and a coconut-almond filling topped with melted chocolate is a good kind of madness. My love of coconut continues – I adapted this coconut toffee blondie recipe and made it in tart form in my little tart pans.
The "toffee" in the title refers to the brown sugar crust and the brown sugar in the topping rather than real toffee, but you can always add some if you like. I made a full recipe of the crust and patted the dough into 4 tart pans; there was just enough dough for it. So, I only made half the topping recipe, as I knew I wouldn't need more than that for 4 tarts. If you want to make this as a regular bar cookie, make the full recipe of both the crust and topping and bake in a 8 x 8-inch pan lined with foil. I also melted some chocolate chips with Nutella to get a quick, no-fail chocolate topping. Depending on your ratio of Nutella to chocolate chips, the top may or may not set, but there's nothing wrong with a soft gooey chocolatey topping. Lastly, I sprinkled the top with toffee bits in keeping with the "toffee" in the title.
This turned out to be coconut-almond-brown-sugar-toffee-chocolate heaven. The crust was crisp and buttery, the coconut filling was chewy, the Nutella-chocolate added even more decadence, and the toffee gave it a nice crunch. As in, "I'm going for a run after I ate 1/4 of 1 tart and it was worth every calorie" kind of goodness. These are pretty rich so you may even want to make them in mini-tart pans or mini muffin tins for bite-sized, gooey-rich decadence.
Coconut Toffee Tarts with Chocolate Nutella Topping
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup flour
(make only 1/2 recipe if you're making as tarts)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped almonds, toasted
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup Nutella
Toffee bits for sprinkling on top, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a bowl, cream the butter, shortening, and brown sugar. Blend in the flour. Press the mixture evenly into the bottoms and sides of ungreased tart pans. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden.
While the crusts are baking, prepare the topping: Beat the eggs. Add the brown sugar, vanilla, flour, baking powder, salt, coconut, and almonds and stir well.
Spread the partially baked crusts with the topping and bake for 25 minutes more, or until the filling is golden brown.
Melt chocolate chips and Nutella over low heat in the top half of a double boiler over hot water. Stir until smooth. Spread over each tart and cool completely. If desired, sprinkle with toffee bits and/or chopped toasted almonds.
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