December 15, 2007

21st Century Magic Bars, with Ginger and Dark Chocolate

The gingeriness of these irresistible bars makes them taste really Christmasy to me!

I love Magic Bars but I always feel like I’ve overdone it after eating them. I don’t remember, even, anyone in the family ever making them. Maybe that’s why. Maybe they are a little over the top for the Methodist sensibility (though anyone who knows me knows that I don't suffer much from that malady, myself). But with the recipe below I think I’ve managed to bring the traditional Magic Bars into the 21st century, and it came about through my effort to do something with those failed butter/sugar cookies (from the random recipe) that turned out like rocks. I mean really, how can one just through away the 2 ½ sticks of butter it took to make them? In a nutshell (so to speak), I crumbed the cookies in the blender and used them to replace the graham crackers in the traditional recipe. This version is not nearly so cloyingly sweet as the original, and the bite of the ginger takes it yet further to the side of decadence without toothache.

Magic Bars with Candied Ginger and Dark Chocolate

1 1/2 cups cookie crumbs (you can use graham crackers here, or crumb some butter/sugar cookies)

1 Tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 1/3 cups sweetened flaked coconut, halved
1/3 cup candied ginger bits
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)
1 cup chopped pecans

For Ganache
1 pound dark chocolate, broken up into chunks (the better the chocolate, the better the dish)

¾ cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. With a whisk, combine the ground ginger with the crumbs.
2. Add the candied ginger.
3. Add half of the coconut.
4. Pour the melted butter over the crumb mixture, and toss.
5. Press firmly into a square brownie pan.
6. Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the pressed crumbs.
7. Top with the remaining coconut and press down with fork to compact.
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned.

9. While the baked part is cooling slightly, put the chocolate chunks in a heat-proof bowl.
10. Boil the cream.
11. Pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and let it sit, undisturbed, for five minutes.
12. Whisk the warm mixture until it is homogeneous.
13. Pour it over the baked crumb part.
14. Chill in the refrigerator for an hour, then remove and cut into squares.

Yum! Yum! Yum! Yum! Yum! Yum! Yum! Yum! Yum! Yum! Yum! Yum! Yum! Yum!

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