CTChef-RudiHaving just returned from a short repositioning cruise from Vancouver B.C to San Diego, I wanted to share a special creation from Executive Chef Rudy Sodamin of Holland America Cruise Lines. Chef oversees everything food on Holland America, and it’s no small feat. The kitchen crew prepares enormous amounts of food, and quality is number one on everyone’s mind. How about these numbers for weekly preparation. 8500 lbs of meat and meat products, 4000 lbs of poultry, 2000 lbs of fish. You get the idea, it does take a highly trained army of dedicated crew members to make all of this happen for the guests. So with Thanksgiving just around the corner, I thought a sweet treat made with coconut and Macadamia nuts would be fun, interesting and delicious too, especially for those who may not find pumpkin pie at the top of their list. CTcoconut

This recipe comes from the book “A Taste of Celebration” by executive Chef Rudi, and Holland America Line.

Coconutty Blondies

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons unsalted butter softened

1/3 cup granulated sugar

½ cup brown sugar

1 large egg

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup shredded sweetened coconut divided

¾ cup toasted and chopped Macadamia nuts or in a pinch Pecans or hazelnuts will work. See note*

Pre heat oven to 350f with the rack in the middle position. Butter an 8 inch baking pan. Sift together flour, baking soda and the salt into a mixing bowl. In another combine the butter, and the 2 sugars and mix well. Next add the egg and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Slowly add the flour on a low speed until it’s just combined. Now with a wooden spoon blend in ¾ cup of the coconut and the nuts. Spread this mixture into the buttered pan, and finally sprinkle the top with the remaining coconut.

* I ground 1/3 of the Macadamia nuts in a dedicated coffee grinder. The nuts contain so much oil that you will quickly have a paste. I then chopped the remainder of the nuts with a knife to about ¼-1/8 inch size. If the nuts are salted, cut back on the salt called for in the recipe. This will still give the bars a nice salty sweet taste.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool your confection on a wire rack before cutting it into small bars. As a chocolate lover, I will always find a way to use it, and I really like chocolate with coconut. So if you do too, you can sprinkle some chocolate chips (I use semi sweet) over the dish as soon as it comes out of the oven. They will melt and add another dimension to this dish. Enjoy, happy Thanksgiving, and get out there and do some cruising with Holland America Lines ! And Thank you Chef Rudi.