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4 eggs, graded "large", preferably at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar, divided
1/4 cup unsifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder (if lumpy, sift before measuring)
Grated rind of 1/2 small orange (zest only--no white pith)
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut flakes
1 cup chopped pecans
2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1-1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
10 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, chopped medium-fine (or use good-quality chips)
Line a 13 by 9 by 2 inch pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, shiny side up, pressing out as many creases as possible. If there is any overhang, fold the foil back against the outer edge of the pan. Adjust rack to center of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
For Topping: In medium bowl, combine eggs, granulated sugar, and half of brown sugar (reserve remainder). With large spoon, stir to mix, pressing out any brown sugar lumps.
In small bowl, combine reserved brown sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt. With small spoon, blend thoroughly, pressing out as many lumps as possible with back of spoon. Add to egg mixture. With large spoon, beat well to combine, about one minute, again pressing out any lumps with back of spoon. Beat in orange rind and vanilla. Stir in coconut and pecans. Cover loosely; set aside at room temperature until needed.
For Crust: In clean medium bowl, combine softened butter and confectioners' sugar. Mix well with large spoon. Stir in flour until incorporated. By small spoonfuls, place this mixture all over the bottom of the pan. Keeping your fingers lightly floured as necessary, press out crust mixture into as even a layer as possible on pan bottom (I use floured fingertips and knuckles; I've tried spreading the crust mixture with a spoon or spatula, but that doesn't work for me).
Bake crust in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes, turning back-to-front once about halfway through baking time. The edges of the crust should be a golden brown.
Remove crust from oven and place on rack. Immediately sprinkle on chopped chocolate or chips as evenly as possible, then cover pan with larger cookie sheet and allow to stand for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, remove cookie sheet. With back of spoon, gently spread melted chocolate evenly on crust, stopping just short of the edges (a few small pieces of unmelted chocolate are OK). Do not work over any one area of the crust too much, or it will pull off onto the spoon.
Remove cover from Topping. Stir Topping well (coconut and pecans will probably have floated to the top of this mixture while it stands). By large spoonfuls, place Topping all over melted chocolate; spread as evenly as possible, right to edges of pan. Return pan to oven.
Bake 22 to 25 minutes. When done, the top should be a light golden brown (the edges will be a bit darker). When the pan is shaken gently, the center will no longer quiver. Do not overbake, or the bars will lose their chewiness. Cool completely on rack before covering airtight. Allow to stand at least 6 hours before cutting. If desired, lightly sift confectioners' sugar over bar tops just before serving.
© Stephanie Zonis, 2002