Say hello to my new favorite thing in the world: the Breckenridge Bar Cookie.
My fortuitous meeting with La Breckenridge took place at Half Price Books, where I stumbled on a slim volume entitled Creme De Colorado Cookbook. This book piqued my interest for two reasons: first, I have a rather keen and slightly obsessive interest in regional cuisine, and second, I've never been to Colorado, so I was very interested in the foods that might constitute the creme de Colorado.
Flipping to the dessert section, I found the Breckenridge Bar right away. I already knew that Breckenridge must be a delicious place based on Rainy Day Gal's guest post on the fair city, but this bar looked like an exceptional specimen of sweethood: comprised of rich layers of chocolate cake, coconut and condensed milk, and chocolate topping. Unfortunately, the cookbook didn't offer any story behind the bar's history or development, so I can only imagine that it is called the Breckenridge Bar because people are eating them all day, every day, there.
Of course, upon reviewing the original recipe it seemed a little low-fat for my taste, so I made it slightly awesomer by adding brown sugar crumb topping and toasty almonds on top, making for a final result which fell, taste-wise, somewhere between brownie, Almond Joy, and crumb cake. A delicious adaptation, if I do say so myself.
Adapted from the Creme De Colorado Cookbook
Makes 24-30 bite-sized bars
Ingredients for base
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans (optional)
Ingredients for middle layer
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- 2 cups shredded coconut (sweetened)
For the topping
- 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the crumb topping, if you want it (you do!), adapted from Arthur Schwartz
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoons salt
- A handful of sliced almonds or nuts, if desired
- Preheat oven to 350.
- In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add cocoa and flour, mixing until incorporated. Add nuts, if adding.
- Spread into a floured and buttered pan (original recipe called for 9x13-inches; I didn't have one handy so used an 8x8-inch pan).
- Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. While baking, mix the condensed milk and coconut; add this to the top of the baked bottom crust and bake for 18-20 more minutes at 350.
- Immediately after removing from oven, add chocolate topping, and then the crumb topping on top of that. Turn off the heat, then put back in the oven for about 10-15 minutes to heat in the residual heat. Once lightly but not completely cooled, cut into squares. (Note: The original recipe simply called for the bars to be removed from the oven and frosted while still warm and that was it--but I think because mine were thicker in the smaller pan, the extra baking time helped them set up better).
- Let cool completely (I put mine in the fridge to set for several hours) before serving.
To prepare frosting:
In a double boiler, melt chocolate and butter until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients until well mixed.
To prepare crumb topping:
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over a low flame. Remove from the heat and cool for about 5 minutes, but do not allow the butter to become cold.
- Add the flour, brown sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Stir with a table fork until the mixture forms small crumbs.