Monday, March 9, 2015

Chocolate (and coconut) Marble Bars

I received a request in a comment to look for a recipe for chocolate marbled coconut bars.  In addition to being really excited about getting a request (yay!), I can't resist a good search challenge.  (One of my grandmothers was a librarian, so I think it's a genetic issue.)

After looking through a few books, I came across Chocolate Marble Bars in my copy of Pillsbury's Best 1000 Recipes: Best of the BAKE-OFF Collection.  This book was originally published in 1959 and contains the recipes from the first ten years of the Pillsbury baking competition.  These recipes pre-date the use of the convenience foods seen in later competitions, but instead call for Pillsbury flour and other pantry ingredients.  My copy is a facsimile printing from 2009.  The pages are nice quality, but the binding is about two page turns away from disintegrating.  I saw an original copy at an estate sale a few months ago, but I decided to leave it for someone else.  I'm kind of regretting that now...

The recipe says it was the Senior Second Prize Winner by Mrs. William Sawdo, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, but it doesn't state what year.  Fortunately with a quick search, Google News tells us that it was 1951.

As an aside, I've often wondered why women had to give up using their first names after they married.  None of the three contestants mentioned in the article has her first name listed, but the woman who awarded the prizes does.  Interesting...

These came together fairly easily.  My first attempt at melting the chocolate resulted in an oily, chunky mess.  The second time around I used cream instead of water and got a more ganache-like mixture.

I don't think I've ever 'marbled' anything before - that was kind of fun!

chambers 90c  range stove

We initially tried these bars while they were still warm, but in my opinion they are much better when completely cooled.  The texture is that of a dense cake and the coconut flavor was more pronounced when cooled.  The chocolate is very "dark chocolate" tasting, which I like, but one of my tasters found it off-putting.  Semi-sweet or milk chocolate might have a wider appeal.

Chocolate Marble Bars (Printable recipe)
from Pillsbury's Best 1000 Recipes: Best of the BAKE-OFF Collection

2 squares unsweetened chocolate (2 ounces)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup hot water (or cream)
2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup softened butter
3 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup coconut

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Grease a 15.5x10x5x1" jellyroll pan or two 9x9x2 inch pans.

Melt the chocolate, 1/4 cup sugar and hot water or cream in a double boiler.   Cool.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

Cream together the butter, 1/2 cup sugar and brown sugar.  Add the eggs, milk and vanilla; beat well.  Gradually add the flour mixture and mix well.  Stir in the coconut.

Spread the batter in the prepared pan.  Drizzle chocolate mixture over the batter in a diagonal pattern.  Cut through batter with a knife in opposite direction to give a marbled effect.

Bake at 375F for 25 to 30 minutes. 


  1. Hi,
    Third times the charm - I hope! Trying to say "Thanks for your site", but cannot seem to get it to publish. We are in the process of refurbishing a Chambers B Model stove and are looking forward to trying your recipes!
    D. Garey

  2. I'm glad you tried a third time, Diane. :)

    You are going to love your Chambers! It is by far the best stove I have ever used. If you haven't already found them, there are a couple of different forums all about restoring and using Chambers stoves:


    We probably wouldn't have had the courage to dig into the restoration project without the help from the other members, but the people on both of the forums are really friendly and helpful.

    Good luck with your B!

  3. So happy to find this recipe. My mom to make it and I remember coming home from school to find a pan of it cooling in the kitchen. Yim!!!!