First off, let me start by saying that since we moved out here, I've been going to the store a whole lot less often than I used to. So, I've been stocking up, but no one can prepare for everything. And the first things to go are the snack items. (We finished off the last of the ice cream on Thursday, for instance. And the party bag of peanut M&Ms died a few days before that.)
Okay, so I was sitting around yesterday craving something chocolate, but totally disinclined to venture out into the snowy wasteland. Time to crawl through the cupboards. Still had a package of chocolate graham crackers... a can of sweetened condensed milk... chocolate chips... coconut... Time for layer bars! But seeing as how that would be pretty boring, I looked for something else to add to the layers. You know those sandwich cookies that you buy in a huge pack where one row is vanilla and the other two are chocolate Oreo knock-offs? I had six of those cookies left - 3 white, 3 brown. Crushed those puppies and Voila!
Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Layer Bars with Coconut
1 package chocolate graham crackers (crushed)
1 stick margarine
1 bag of sweetened shredded coconut
1 bag dark chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk
6 leftover sandwich cookies (crushed)
1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
(You will not use all of the coconut or the chips, but it's nice to have extras hanging around. If you don't have full bags, don't sweat it.)
Preheat oven to 350F. Unwrap one end of the stick of margarine and use it to butter a 9x13" pan. Melt the rest of the stick in the microwave (on high for 30-60 seconds or until it's clear.) Combine crushed graham cracker crumbs with melted butter. Press into pan so it covers the bottom. Sprinkle liberally with shredded coconut (but no so liberally that you can't see at least a little brown through the white.) Sprinkle with dark chocolate chips (again, so that you can see the white through the brown.) Open the milk and drizzle it over the chips, as evenly as you can. Shake the cookie crumbs over the milk later - again making it as even as you can. Sprinkle with semi-sweet chips until you think you've got about as much chocolate as you can handle. (But don't be ridiculous. You should still see some cookie crumbs through the chocolate.) Sprinkle more shredded coconut over the top. Slide it into the preheated oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until the coconut is toasty brown and the milk that's bubbled up on the sides is golden, too. Allow to cool completely before cutting (or you'll make a yummy yummy mess.) How many bars you end up with depends on how piggishly-large you cut them. I prefer a cut that makes a bar about 1.5 inches wide by 2 inches long, but I'll go bigger if I really need the chocolate.
I don't need to say it, but these turned out awesome. Om Nom Nom.
You, too, can create your own layer bars with stuff you have around the house. Just remember to layer it such that the wet or melty layers alternate with the dry layers, so when it bakes it all goos together and then when it cools it'll be a bar cookie and not a pile of glop. And always use a cookie/butter base, so it doesn't stick to the pan and always use the condensed milk in the middle. (It's the glue that holds the whole thing together.) I suggest using this method of building...
Base - dry - melty - wet - dry - melty - dry
Then you can use chopped nuts or butterscotch chips or marshmallows or crushed cookies or nutty topping or caramel or peanut butter chips... Use your imagination. Just don't forget to keep in mind what the flavors will taste like together once it's done.
Hmmm... I wonder what a layer of raisins would take like with coconut and chocolate... Heh. Next time maybe.