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These chewy Coconut Bars are what coconut dreams are made of! They're filled with butter, sugar and plenty of toasted coconut to create a soft and chewy dessert bar that the whole family will devour.
You should know by now that coconut is one of my favorite flavors. These coconut bars were born when I was craving my coconut cookies, but decided I wanted them in bar form instead.
The result is a soft and chewy bar that's loaded with toasted shredded coconut! Seriously, if you love coconut-flavored desserts, you must add these to your baking list!
- Soft and chewy bars made without condensed milk
- You can easily add chocolate chips if you want the chocolate-coconut flavor combination
- A perfectly buttery dessert bar that any coconut lover will adore!
Butter - I used the real stuff, but dairy-free butter will work too if you want to go that route.
Sugar - Light brown sugar is the way to go here. If you want these to be less sweet tasting, you can use coconut sugar.
Eggs - Or, substitute flax eggs. To do so, mix 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed with 5 tablespoons of water and let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes until the flaxseed has absorbed the water.
Vanilla extract - No substitution.
Flour - I used all purpose flour, and I didn't test these with any other kind of flour. If you want these bars to be gluten free, use gluten free 1:1 baking flour.
Shredded coconut - Sweetened coconut preferably, and you'll want to toast it first (directions below) to really bring out the flavor.
Step 1: Toast the coconut. Add the shredded coconut to a large skillet and heat it over medium-low. Toast the coconut, stirring occasionally, until it's slightly golden, being careful not to burn it. Remove the coconut from the heat and allow it to cool.
If you're looking for more specific instructions, check out this toasted coconut post with tips!
Step 2: Whisk wet ingredients. Whisk the melted butter and brown sugar together in a large mixing bowl, then add the eggs and vanilla and stir to combine.
Step 3: Add the dry ingredients. To that same bowl, pour in the flour, baking powder and salt and gently stir to combine. Last, fold in the toasted coconut.
Step 4: Bake. Transfer the batter to a lined 8x8 baking dish and place it in the oven. Bake the bars at 350° for 27-32 minutes, or until the edges have set. Pull on the parchment to remove the bars and transfer them to a wire rack. Wait for the bars to cool before slicing to prevent them from falling apart.
Tips and tricks
- You'll know the bars are done once the edges have set. The middle is still going to be slightly under-baked, but it will firm up once the bars cool.
- For additional coconut-y flavor, you can sprinkle extra shredded coconut on top of the batter before baking the bars.
- Allow the bars to cool completely in the pan before removing them! I know it's tempting to remove them and eat them right away, but since the middle won't be fully set, they'll fall apart if you try to remove them too soon.
- Make sure to line the baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a 1" overhang so the bars are easy to remove.
- The batter will be a little sticky, so I recommend spraying a rubber spatula with nonstick spray before pressing the batter into the baking pan so the batter doesn't stick to the spatula.
You can add semi-sweet chocolate chips -- about ⅓ cup -- to the batter to create chocolate coconut bars. You don't want to add too many chocolate chips though or else the chocolate will overpower the coconut.
Or, sprinkle some sliced or slivered almonds on top of the batter before baking.
Can these bars be made vegan or gluten free?
Yep! To make vegan coconut bars, simply use dairy-free butter and flax eggs in place of real eggs. To make them gluten free, use gluten free 1:1/all purpose flour.
Can coconut bars be made with unsweetened coconut?
Of course! I like using sweetened coconut in most of my coconut dessert recipes, but yes, unsweetened coconut is perfectly fine. The bars won't be quite as sweet or quite as coconut-y, but it works.
- Room temperature: Store bars in an airtight container on the counter for up to 1 week.
- Refrigerator: Store bars in a container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Freezer: Wait for the coconut bars to cool completely, then place them in a freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature.
More easy dessert recipes
If you made this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Thanks!
- Preheat oven to 350° and line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a 1" overhang.
- Start by toasting the coconut: add the shredded coconut to a large skillet and heat it over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally until the coconut is slightly golden, being careful not to burn it. Transfer the coconut to a bowl and allow it to cool.
- Next, whisk the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Then, add the eggs and vanilla and whisk to combine.
- To that same bowl, add the flour, baking powder and salt and use a rubber spatula to stir everything together. Last, fold in the toasted coconut.
- Spray your rubber spatula with a little nonstick spray. Scoop the batter into your prepared baking pan, then smooth the batter out with the rubber spatula (the nonstick spray will prevent the batter from sticking to the spatula).
- Bake the bars for 27-32 minutes, or until the edges have set. It's ok if the middle isn't fully baked through -- the bars will firm up once they've cooled. Remove the bars from the oven and transfer the pan to a wire rack. Allow the bars to cool completely in the pan before pulling on the parchment paper to remove them. Slice and enjoy!