I love coconut, almost as much as I love Peanut Butter. I like how coconut provides a depth of flavor and hearty texture to baked goods. The picture may look familiar to those who frequent my blog, but I assure you these are new, but very similar to the Blonde Magic bars I made a while ago.
I whipped these up Saturday night as I was asked to make a dessert for a friend’s wedding shower this past weekend. Knowing she loves everything coconut I decided to try a recipe I have had saved for quite a while.
These bars are so quick and easy to throw together and they use ingredients you usually have on hand. They are a good basic recipe but you could jazz them up by adding toasted nuts, chopped Toffee pieces or chocolate chips (I did not add the chocolate chips as called for in the original recipe because I was asked to bring a non-chocolate dessert.)
A warning however, these bars are really really sweet so you may want to reduce some of the sugar in the filling if you are adding a fairl amount of chocolate or candy. After tasting these I wonder how a little lemon/lime juice in the coconut topping (along with some toasted pecans) would have been, I may try that the next time if I don’t add chocolate or candy.
Needless to say, my friend loved these bars and I enjoyed them as well. What I enjoyed the most about these bars, however, was the brown sugar shortbread like crust. It was so yummy and light and a welcomed change from the usual graham cracker crust of the other dessert bars at the shower. I felt the ratio of crust to topping was too small and not sturdy enough for the topping unless the bars were cut small (maybe not a bad things since they were so sweet, but with the addition of chips/candy/nuts I don’t know if they would have held up even cut small).
Next time I think I will make 1 1/2 times the crust mixture and bake a few minutes longer before adding the coconut topping which may pair down the sweetness of the coconut mixture, especially if adding chips or candy.
All in all, a good recipe that can get better with a few tweaks so feel free to make them your own. I am excited to play around with the recipe a bit because I think it has potential to be a quick go-to versitile dessert.
I rate these bars a 7
Coconut Dream Bars
adapted from Recipezaar
1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed (divided)
1/2 cup butter, softened slightly
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional) or milk chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line a 9×13 pan with foil. Spray lightly with PAM.
Using low speed on mixer, combine flour, 1/2 cup of the brown sugar and butter until mixture resembles sand.
Using lightly greased finger tips, press the mixture into bottom of prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
While crust is baking, mix together the remaining brown sugar with eggs until just blended.
Stir in remaining ingredients.
Remove crust from oven when time is up and evenly spread coconut mixture over partially baked crust.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool completely and cut into squares. (Do this or they will be messy!!)