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Source: Fabulous Food Associations

Caribbean Coco-Almond Bars
These bars are incredible. If you like coconut flavor and chocolate, you will love these bars.
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Serves: 16 bars
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes (chill time 4 hours)
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Cookie Crust:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
3/4 cup toasted and finely chopped almonds (about 3 oz.)*
1 tbsp. Dark Rum**
coconut filling:
1 1/2 cups medium shred unsweetened coconut***
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. dark rum
1/4 tsp. salt
Chocolate Layer:
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate (at least 60% cocoa), chopped
2 tbsp. heavy cream or evaporated milk
Additional 1 cup shredded coconut and/or sliced almonds

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8-in. square pan with foil that extends over edges of pan; butter foil.

2. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade or in a large bowl with a pastry blender, combine first 5 ingredients; add butter in small intervals while mixing until texture resembles cornmeal. Add nuts and rum; blend.

3. Press dough firmly and evenly into pan. Bake until crust deflates (it will puff at first) and edges are barely firm to touch, about 15 min. Cool slightly on wire rack.

4. As crust cools, blend filling ingredients together in a bowl. When crust is firm and still warm, spoon on filling; spread evenly. Return pan to oven and bake until edges turn golden, about 15 min. Remove and cool in pan on wire rack.

5. Make chocolate layer by combining all ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat or microwave-safe bowl. Heat (in 30 sec. intervals, if in microwave) while whisking until melted and smooth. Pour hot topping over filling; spread evenly. If desired, sprinkle coconut and/or almonds evenly over top while chocolate layer is still hot.

6. Refrigerate for 4 hrs. or overnight before bringing to room temperature and cutting into bars.

*To toast almonds, place nuts in a single layer in an ungreased shallow pan. Bake at 350°F for 5 to 10 min., or until golden brown. Remove from pan to cool.

**Fruit juice (such as orange juice) may be substituted for dark rum.

***Unsweetened coconut can be found at many specialty and health food stores.  

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