Aww, honey... You baked.

I consider myself insanely lucky for my family and friends. Really. You all should meet them sometime. They're good people. Among them, mi amiga Grace.

Grace, or GEG as I call her, is many things. An amazing friend for one. I feel like I've known her forever, when in reality it has been less than a decade since we lived down the hall from each other in the Syracuse dorms. She's laid back and smart as a whip with a fantastically dry sense of humor. And she's always up for anything. Grace would be just as likely to accept your invitation for a casual walk around the neighborhood as she would go sky-diving with you... In Brazil... Tomorrow.

{ Classic GEG & Cat, captured by another wonderful friend and foodie, Miz Kate Duke }

Grace also happens to be a fantastic home cook and baker; the kind that can take the solitary apple, wilted lettuce and half-dozen eggs from your barren college fridge and turn them into something that tastes good. A painting major in school, I always felt like Grace's skill in the kitchen came from her creative side. The dishes she came up with in our skimpy Syracuse kitchenettes blew me away. While I was struggling with scrambled eggs, Grace would be whipping up Inari with edamame salad or a mean lentil soup. It may not sound like much, but we were 19 and most of our peers, myself often included, were subsisting off campus Burger King and Sbarro. At the time preparing edamame was as foreign to me as serving Lobster Thermidor would have been.

So it was with Grace that I began my own explorations into the world of food and cooking. While the campus around us was buried in snow, we occupied ourselves with soups, frittatas, breads, bruschettas and brownies smothered in unmentionable layers of peanut butter and toasted coconut. She affectionately nicknamed my cooking creations (the results of a Barefoot Contessa recipe for turkey loaf became Loafy) and quietly exchanged my chosen recipe ingredients when I made an error in judgement. Whole evenings were spent at Wegmans, sampling the olive bar and "browsing" the candy bins (I know they appreciated our patronage). When graduation arrived, I was distraught at being without my personal in-home chef. But, as it turns out, Grace didn't let me down.

{ Me and Grace, enjoying a little cake at graduation. Pretty typical. }

These days, though we're separated by an entire continent, Grace sends a beautiful package of her baked goods every year for my birthday. It's hard to explain how excited I get when I see her familiar handwriting on a package marked for me. Justin, who also became an addict of Grace's baking during our time at Syracuse, looks forward to the package as much as I do. Each year, the contents vary, and so I get to spend time guessing what she sent and then, inevitably, swooning over the treats. Over the years there have been hazelnut pralines, white chocolate pistachio cranberry cookies, mascarpone brownies and cashew butterscotch bars to name a few. But a consistent favorite in the King household are the WhiteChocolateGingerCoconut Bars (you have to say it fast, so not to waste time talking when you could be chewing on one). Lucky for all of us, Grace has agreed to share the recipe here... Hopefully it will be the first of many.

Thanks a mil GEG, you really know how to treat a lady.

{ WCCG Bars with a delightful cashew concoction and the beautiful birthday card by tall cow hand printed greetings. The card makes me think of this song, which I love }

Grace's Whitechocolategingercoconut Bars

1 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
2 t. ground ginger
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter
1 c. brown sugar (i also like to use cane sugar, palm cane sugar, or raw brown sugar)
1 t. vanilla
1 egg
1 c. flaked coconut
3/4 c. candied ginger, minced
1 bag of high quality white chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350. Prepare 8x8" pan by lining with parchment paper or foil. Easy cleanup is key.

Combine first 4 ingredients in separate bowl.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Once melted, take off heat and add half of white chocolate chips to saucepan, not stirring, until mostly melted (about 1 minute). Add in sugar and vanilla. Stir until sugar is mostly dissolved and mix is cooled. Beat in egg. Stir in flour mix until just combined. Then add in coconut, candied ginger, and remaining half bag of white chocolate chips to dough. *Please be wary, dough is heavenly and highly addictive.

Pour dough into pan. Dough will be super thick, so you will probably have to pat and smooth to get flat and even. Bake 25-30 min. DO NOT OVER BAKE. I generally take them out at 24-25 minutes unless they are totally mushy in the middle. Then cool and try to maintain control. Cut into 1" blocks and enjoy!


  1. Excellent post title, Catherine ;-) I love me some "Clueless" references... and Grace sounds like an excellent friend!

  2. So glad that the "Clueless" reference didn't escape the eye of my pop-culture guru! That line always makes me laugh.

  3. i think it speaks volumes that this is the first I have heard about baked goods being sent on your birthday. I'm going to look under your bed. Perhaps you left some of your stash behind!