Monday, September 12, 2011

Congo Bars

Welcome to a new week everyone, I hope that you had a great weekend.  It feels like the summer is slowly winding down and the cooler days of fall are easing in.  Boyfriend and I spent this weekend enjoying New York and paying some tribute to the people that lost their lives ten years ago.  Saturday night we were headed home from the grocery store and noticed a bright spot on the clouds.  After pondering for a moment we realized that the bright spot was caused by the Tribute in Light in Lower Manhattan.

We took a drive up the hill, to the Eagle Rock Reservation, and spent some time enjoying this view...


We weren't the only people to have this same idea.  Even though it was 8:30 at night and the night air was getting chilly, dozens of people were milling about.  They were enjoying the view, remembering the day and what I found most interesting, sharing the story of 9/11 with their children and grandchildren.  The day is so bright in my memory, that it's still strange to think that it was ten years ago.


Ten years ago, I was just an undergraduate.  I had just completed my first analytical chemistry exam of the semester and was headed to the bank.  The radio was streaming news of the events in New York City and I was very confused.  Coming into the story in mid-conversation was very difficult and trying to determine what was happening from the radio was not easy.  From the bank I headed home in time to see the both World Trade Center towers engulfed in flames.


Upon returning to campus, there were televisions everywhere.  About 30% of the student population came from the metro New York area and this event hit our campus very close to home.  With my friends, in the campus lounge, we watched the events of the day unfold.

Yesterday, boyfriend and I headed to New York.  We headed to the New York Times building to check out their pictoral gallery in the lobby.  I had been seeing this 9/11 tribute gallery for the past few days and really wanted to walk through.  If you happen to be in NYC today, you should stop by and have a look, it was very well done. 


On a completely different note, I spent some time this weekend baking.  Boyfriend had some work to do on his computer and I decided that I had some work to get done in the kitchen!    I had a bunch of coconut to use up and thought these bars would be the perfect vehicle for them.  Throw in your favorite nuts and chocolate chips and you've got yourself a perfect treat.  Oh yeah, and did you know that nothing smells better than Graham cracker crumbs and butter?  Delicious.


Congo Bars
Adapted from Fat Witch Brownies

So, I was a little lazy this weekend and bought pre-crumbed, Graham cracker crumbs.  You can, of course, use whole Graham crackers and crust them up.  Take 11 crackers and put them in a zip-top bag, bash the heck out of them with a rolling pin!  Oh delicious graham crackers!

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup Graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup brown sugar
7 tbsp butter, melted

1 1/4 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Pre-heat oven to 350 and grease an 8x8-inch pan with cooking spray.

Mix together the flour, baking soda, graham cracker crumbs and brown sugar.  Add melted butter and mix thoroughly.  Bake for 10 minutes.

Remove the crust from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack.  While the crust is cooling, combine all the remaining ingredients in a bowl.  Add the coconut mixture on the top of the crust and spread evenly.  Bake for another 20 minutes to set the topping.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.  Loosen the edges with a spatula and invert on a cutting board.  Flip over and cut into 9 pieces, OM NOM NOM!!!
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