In last week’s Orange Biscotti post, I told you I’d be sharing the recipe for the Almond Joy Bars I took to the annual Anderson family reunion over Fourth of July. I’m keeping my promise.
I also decided to show off my family. Here we all are. Jerry–the head of this big clan is in the middle holding the two newest family members. And then there’s the rest of us–seven siblings and sixty-something spouses, grandkids, and great-grandkids. And there were at least twenty that should have been there but couldn’t make it this year.
As an only child, I love getting lost in my husband David’s big family. If you wander off for a few hours, no one notices you’re gone. And when you turn up again, everyone is so happy to see you. I also love how big families know how to dole out dessert. Coming from a small family, I plopped my biscotti and Almond Joy Bars down as soon as I arrived. They didn’t last long. If everyone had followed my example, we would have been out of dessert the first night.
Instead, David’s family knew better. In the spirit of their late mother, Aldoris, they squirreled theirs away, hiding mystery boxes in the freezer, brown bags in the pantry, coolers in their rooms. Just when you thought all the cookies were gone, someone with a wise grin would pull a container from the closet, and we’d all gush (and gorge) on the next treat–date balls, Oreo Truffles, Ritz Cracker Cookies (one of my new favorites).
Maybe I’ll remember to hold back next year. On the other hand, someone’s gotta go first, and maybe that’s the role of the only child!
- 7 to 8 whole graham crackers
- 6 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
- 1 package (8 ounces) shredded unsweetened coconut (about 2⅔ cup)
- 2 cups sliced almonds
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375° Line the bottom of a 13- by 9-inch baking pan with a 12- by 20-inch sheet of heavy-duty foil so that it overhangs the 2 long sides (which you’ll use as a sling to pull bars from pan). Arrange graham crackers over the foil-lined pan bottom, cutting the final few with a serrated knife to fit. Heat butter and sugar in a small saucepan until sugar dissolves and mixture bubbles. Pour butter mixture over crackers; spread to cover. Bake until golden brown, 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 325°.
- Meanwhile, mix 1½ cans of the condensed milk with the coconut and the remaining ½ can of condensed milk with the almonds. Spread coconut mixture over graham crackers and the almond mixture over the coconut layer. Bake until bars are firm and golden, about 30 minutes.
- While bars bake, microwave chocolate and oil in medium microwave-safe bowl until chocolate has melted; whisk to combine.
- Remove bars from oven and drizzle with chocolate. Rotate pan to evenly distribute chocolate. Refrigerate until chocolate sets. (Can be covered and refrigerated for several days or frozen for a couple of months.) Use foil handles to remove bars from pan. Cut into squares and serve.