Ever since Merrill posted her Millionaire's Shortbread, they have been haunting me, calling to me, telling me to make them. I've been having the same experience with coconut cream bars from Fran Bigelow's book, Chocolate. So many confections vying for my attention! You can only resist them for so long.
And now I've caved, big time. I decided I wanted to sort of combine the two ideas, and spice them up. Starting from the coconut, I was inspired by the Vosges Nagaga chocolate bar, which has a palate tingling combination of coconut, toasty curry, and deep milk chocolate. I'm usually one of those people who sneers at white chocolate and milk chocolate, but the white chocolate in the center layer here gives it a soft creaminess without distracting too much from the coconut. The little bit of milk chocolate in the ganache topping lightens it just a tad, making it a gentler background for the curry, which has an amazing, hauntingly sweet, almost cinnamony quality when paired with chocolate. And, I used salted butter in the shortbread, to give them a little extra saltiness to offset the sweetness in the rest of the bars, while little speckles of dried apricot add tang.
There's a lot going on here, but it all works really well together. And, while there are a number of steps for making these bars, all of them are quite simple.
And, I hope I'm not infringing on any copyrights or anything with the name! I just thought, they're a bit like Millioniare's shortbread, but with some Indian flavors, so... —fiveandspice
Like their namesake movie, these bars from fiveandspice are full of exotic complexity and odd juxtapositions that are somehow fated to wind up blissfully happy together in the end. Coconuts? Apricots? Curry? Three kinds of chocolate? I, for one, was skeptical, particularly since it took me the better part of a day to make them, and not all the steps were simple. But the results were sensational. The sweet coconut cream somehow seemed cool, while the spiced dark ganache was full of warmth. The contrast of the two, on top of the nubby, fruit-studded shortbread, was an utter delight. Jai Ho! —cheesypennies