Do they have Chinese auctions in China? A quick google search wasn’t enough to give me a clear answer to that question. I can tell you, however, that my neighborhood has too many of them. In addition to Chinese auctions for national organizations, such as Ezer Mitzion, an organization that helps children with cancer and their families; and Sulam, an organization that helps children with special needs, two local organizations had these raffles, as well. That’s at least four Chinese auctions in the last four months. (I think there may have been a fifth that I ignored the flyer for.)
What is a Chinese auction? It is a type of raffle, commonly used as a fundraiser, in which people buy raffle tickets that they choose to place in raffles for a number of different donated prizes. Unlike an auction, the ticket price is fixed. Unlike a regular raffle, you get to choose which prizes you’re interested in winning. I understand why organizations use this fundraising method. It’s effective. People are more willing to donate more money if they have a chance of winning furniture, a vacation, or expensive jewelry. It is sad that we cannot open our hearts and wallets just because it’s the right thing to do, that we need the possibility of tangible personal gain to encourage us. The truth is, I’m getting so tired of all these Chinese auctions that I’m about ready to whip out my checkbook and say, “Sure, how much do you want? JUST NOT ANOTHER CHINESE AUCTION!”
I was recruited to bake something for the refreshment table at last night’s Chinese auction for a local organization that helps children at risk for becoming at risk by providing therapy, mentoring, and homework help. You know how potlucks and refreshment tables work. The good-looking stuff gets eaten, while the plain chocolate cake and sugar cookies are the last to go. Still in an almond mood since Tu B’Shvat’s almond coconut granola bars, I had volunteered to send almond cookies, but they flopped. So I switched to coconut and created these chocolate chip coconut squares.
Unlike regular chocolate chip bars, these are light and fluffy. The coconut milk in the batter lends a rich flavor without weighing them down. The cake itself is not too sweet, leaving room for the full impact of the semi-sweet chocolate chips. The coconut on top adds texture, flavor, and of course, visual appeal.
Chocolate Chip Coconut Squares Recipe
Yield: About 60 (4cmX6cm/2inX3in) bars
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Grease large pan, like a deep cookie sheet or baking pan.
- Mix oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
- Add flour 2.5 cups flour, baking soda, and salt. The dough will be firm, like cookie dough.
- Add coconut milk and mix until a smooth batter forms.
- Add the last cup of flour. The batter will be thicker than the standard cake batter.
- Fold in chocolate chips.
- Pour batter onto prepared baking pan. Spread evenly to fit the pan.
- Sprinkle shredded coconut on top.
- Bake 15-20 minutes.
- Cool and cut into squares.