There is nothing quite like the combination of coconut and chocolate to transport you back to a love of childhood candy bars.
Cocoa nutties are a bar that do just that. A thick set layer of chocolate on the bottom, topped with a buttery, almondy, coconutty, chewy, golden macaroon like cake that melts into pieces of joy in your mouth.
This recipe came from my Auntie Diane, a member of our small London based extended arm of the family. Growing up, she was my surrogate English Grandmother, even though ironically, she was from New York.
Auntie Diane famously made these every year for Passover. Well, when my parents arrived in London, she made them every year. But she was a very astute woman, and soon cottoned on to my mother’s kitchen prowess. After a year or so of them being on this side of the Ocean, Auntie Diane would pop over for a cup of tea a few days before the holiday, with a rather large empty tin in tow for my mother to fill with all of my Aunt's beloved recipes. Yes, this really is true.
Cocoa nutties, are without a doubt, the biggest "must have’s" in our house over Passover. In fact, the only reason we restrict them to this one special week of the year, is because over the course of the holiday I make at least one batch a day. Likelihood is, if you have been anywhere near my house in the Spring you will have had one.
We gorge ourselves on them for 8 days straight, and then cannot look at them again for at least six months. And then we spend those long winter months looking forward with anticipation to the first batch out of the oven, which we wolf down with incredible speed. And then we just keep eating them until we feel positively ill.
So, whether you observe the week long Jewish holiday of Passover when you cannot eat anything leavened, or if you are gluten free, or if you simply love the combination of coconut, chocolate and almonds, these are a real winner. And I hope cocoa nutties become a staple in your house too.
A few tips: The individual stages of these are very quick and easy, but leave yourself enough cooling time for each part. You need enough time to let the chocolate layer set completely before adding the topping. Also, allow the bars to cool completely before slicing as otherwise the chocolate layer will not be firm enough.
200g (7oz) dark chocolate
115g (4oz) unsalted butter (plus more for greasing)
225g (8oz) desicated coconut
175g (6oz) caster sugar
115g (4oz) ground almonds
1/4 tsp salt 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
Butter a 24cm (91/2 inch) square brownie tin or equivalent and line with parchment paper.
Break the chocolate into small pieces.
Place a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water Add chocolate and melt over low heat.
Pour into prepared dish and allow to cool until completely set. I usually put it in the fridge for an hour or leave it overnight.
Once chocolate is set, preheat oven to 180 C (350 F).
Melt butter over a low heat Mix in sugar to melted butter first and then stir in the remaining ingredients adding eggs and vanilla last.
Spread mixture over set chocolate base and smooth the top.
Bake for 25 minutes or until top is golden brown Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.