coconut and cherry bars with a chocolate biscuit base, by combining two recipes that I found in my cook books, but while I was searching online for something suitable, I found this similar recipe from Martha Stewart, which I bookmarked for future use.
When this month's WSC challenge theme was announced as chilli, I had a sudden urge to try chilli, chocolate and coconut together, and remembered the Martha Stewart recipe. The black-bottom layer for her tray bake is a thin layer of brownie mixture, and is topped with a vanilla flavoured coconut macaroon mixture which doesn't contain any added fat.
I followed the recipe exactly, adding half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper (pure ground chilli) to the brownie batter, but baking in an 8" square tin, rather than a 9" tin. This turned out to be a good move - as I had anticipated from experience with other US recipes, the brownie base would have been impossibly thin in a larger tin.
These bars were delicious, proving that the combination of chilli, chocolate and coconut is a winner (Bounty bar manufacturer - take note!). The amount of cayenne I used left a noticeable warm aftertaste of chilli, without being overwhelming, although more could be added for a bit more kick! I cut the tray bake into 12 decent sized bars - trying to cut into 24 pieces, as suggested in the recipe, would only mean eating two at a time!
However, although the flavour was spot on, eating the bars wasn't the great experience it should have been. The weight of the coconut macaroon compressed the brownie layer a lot, making it dense and chewy, and the coconut topping was heavy and dry. I much preferred my previous combination of biscuit base and a macaroon mixture with some butter in it - the combination of crisp biscuit and moister chewy macaroon seemed lighter and was much more pleasant to eat.
We Should Cocoa is the brainchild of Choclette at Chocolate Log Blog, who alternates host duties with guests. This month the theme of chilli was chosen by Shaheen at Allotment2Kitchen, and as Shaheen is vegetarian, she also asked that any entries submitted also be suitable for vegetarians.