Grocery stores carry many kinds of coconut: shredded, flaked, sweetened, unsweetened, bagged and canned. Before you buy any, however, read the recipe all the way through. If it contains a substantial amount of sugar, buy the unsweetened kind.
Jean Galton describes her “affair” with this sweet baking ingredient in a “Seattle Times” article. The affair began when she was a food stylist for the product. It continued in a test kitchen, where she worked on a three-layer cake. After taking courses in Thai cuisine, she was truly in love with it. This international ingredient is not a nut, Galton explains, it is a drupe, “a fleshy fruit with a thick skin and a central stone containing a seed.”
Katherine Miller writes about the whole seed in an article titled “Sweet Essence of Coconut,” published in “The Oregonian.” She tells grocery shoppers to be wary of fresh ones that may have “sat around in less-than-ideal conditions,” and you do not know how long they have been there. Opening the drupe takes muscle. You have to crack the shell, cut it open, remove the meat, and grate it on a box grater or in a food processor. Talk about work!
It is easier to go to the grocery store baking aisle. I do not buy coconut often and, when I do, I use it for this recipe. My mother made these squares when I was a child and I made them for my children. If you want to sell your house, townhouse, or condo, this is the recipe to make. It smells like home and would-be buyers will linger and sniff the brown sugar and butter smell.
You may double this recipe and it freezes well. It travels well, too, and is a wonderful picnic dessert. Serve the squares with whole strawberries and you are in picnic heaven.
3/4 cup presifted flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon low sodium salt
1/4 cup soft butter or margarine
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup coconut (unsweetened preferred)
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 tablespoon melted butter (no substitutes)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Coat an 8″ x 8″ baking pan with non-stick spray. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together. In a small mixer bowl, beat brown sugar, egg, and lemon juice until light and fluffy. Add flour mixture and 1 cup coconut. Pour into baking pan. In another bowl, combine 1/2 cup shredded coconut, melted butter, and sugar. Sprinkle mixture evenly over batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Cut into squares while still warm. Cool and remove from pan. Makes 16 servings.
Copyright 2009 by Harriet Hodgson
Source by Harriet Hodgson