Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
- 1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus 1 Tablespoon for the pan
- 1/2 cup (firmly packed) light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1-1/4 cups sifted unbleached flour
- Macadamia Topping:
- 1-1/2 cup salted macadamia nuts (about 7 ounces)
- 2 Tablespoons sifted unbleached flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup (firmly packed) light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 6 ounces shredded unsweetened coconut (about 2 cups)
Make the brown sugar layer: In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the stick of butter at medium-high speed until it is soft. Beat in the light brown sugar. Beat in the egg and the salt, then beat in the sifted unbleached flour at low speed until it is just incorporated.
Using a spoon, dollop the dough all over the bottom of the cold baking pan. With floured fingertips, pat the dough evenly to cover the bottom of the pan (it will be necessary to re-flour your fingertips frequently). Bake this brown sugar layer for about 14 minutes, or until set. Remove from the oven and let stand. Leave the oven on.
Meanwhile, make the macadamia topping: Shake the macadamia nuts gently in a coarse strainer to remove any excess salt. Sift together the unbleached flour, the baking powder, and the salt, and set aside.
In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs, light brown sugar, and vanilla extract at medium speed until mixed. Beat in the sifted dry ingredients at low speed. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the macadamia nuts and 2/3 of the shredded coconut. Using a tablespoon, dollop the mixture evenly on top of the brown sugar layer and spread to form a smooth layer. Sprinkle the remaining shredded coconut on top.
Bake for 25 minutes, rotating the pan once, until the top is richly browned and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
To slice, cover the pan with a flat board or a cookie sheet and invert. Remove the pan and peel off the foil. Cover with another board or cookie sheet and invert again so that the cake is right side up. Refrigerate or freeze the cake for 1 hour.
Using a large, heavy, serrated knife, cut the cake crosswise into quarters, then cut each strip crosswise into 8 bars, each about 3-1/4 inches by 1 inch (or halve these bars crosswise again to make pieces about 1-2/3 inches by 1 inch.)
Yield: 32 bars or 64 bite-size pieces
Recipe Source: Maida Heatter in America's Best Chefs (Food & Wine Books)
Reprinted with permission.