Flavor combinations don’t get much better than chocolate and coconut. That is unless you use that combo to stack a gooey bar cookie equipped with a buttery graham cracker crust. In this case, it actually does get better.
Chocolate Coconut Bars are an easy-to-make, crowd-pleasing dessert that consists of 5 main ingredients and comes together in less than 10 minutes of prep time.
These bar cookies very closely resemble both Magic Bars or Hello Dolly bars. However, most renditions of these old-fashioned bars are cloyingly sweet and somewhat of a turn-off for today’s palette. This recipe, on the other hand, has been updated with just the right amount of salt for a quick-fix dessert your modern day taste buds will swoon for.
CHOCOLATE COCONUT BAR INGREDIENTS
Chocolate Coconut Bars are extremely simple to make and require only a few ingredients. They’re made up of three layers consisting of a graham cracker crust for the base, sweetened condensed milk, and, of course, chocolate and coconut. The ingredients for the bars are as follows:
- Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
- Unsweetened Coconut
- Sweetened Condensed Milk
- Graham Cracker Crumbs
- Unsalted Butter
HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE COCONUT BARS
- Stir together crust ingredients and transfer to baking dish.
- Add salt to condensed milk and pour over crust.
- Add chocolate chips and coconut, then press down with fork tines.
- Bake, then carefully run a knife along edges.
- Allow cool and cut into bars or squares.
1. MAKE THE GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
The crust for Chocolate Coconut Bars is very easy to make. It consists of graham cracker crumbs, unsalted butter, and salt. To make the crust, all you have to do is melt the butter and stir it into the graham cracker crumbs, along with the salt.
The size of your graham cracker crumb will affect the consistency of your crust. The finer the crumb, the tighter the crust. Alternatively, the larger the crumb, the more crumbly the crust. Both taste delicious, but if you prefer a crust that doesn’t crumble, consider running the graham crackers through a food processor (or purchasing graham cracker crumbs) rather than crushing them with a rolling pin or mallet.
HOW MANY GRAHAM CRACKERS IN A PACKAGE TO MAKE A CUP?
There are nine graham crackers in a package. One package of graham crackers converts into about 1 1/4 cup of crumbs. Therefore, seven graham crackers will yield about 1 cup of crumbs.
2. ADD THE SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK
Sweetened condensed milk is an amazing ingredient for baking. Do not confuse sweetened condensed milk with evaporated milk. After a short stint in the oven, this product offers a sticky-sweet texture and a flavor that very closely resembles vanilla pudding. However, it is very sweet. Adding a little salt across the top will go a long, long way in enhancing the overall flavor of your Chocolate Coconut Bars.
Just pour the sweetened condensed milk over the graham cracker crumbs and then it’s time for the chocolate and the coconut.
3. ADD CHOCOLATE AND COCONUT
The semi-sweet chocolate chips will go on first, followed by a sprinkle of unsweetened coconut. Once the ingredients are in place, you’ll use the tines of a fork to gently nudge the chocolate chips into the layer of sweetened condensed milk.
The bars go into the oven and bake for 28-30 minutes, just until the coconut is tinging with a gorgeous golden-brown across the top.
HOW TO KEEP THE BARS FROM STICKING TO THE PAN
As mentioned earlier, sweetened condensed is heavy on the sugar, which means when it gets hot, it gets sticky. This is part of what makes these Chocolate Coconut Bars so ooey-gooey, addictively delicious, however, if that sweetened condensed milk creeps to the edges of the pan and seeps down along the sides, it could potentially make your bars somewhat difficult to remove from their baking vessel without any breaks.
There are a couple of things you can do to prevent this:
- Don’t spread the sweetened condensed milk all the way to the edges of your pan.
- Run a knife along the edges of the pan as soon as it comes out of the oven and before you cut into bars.
- Or, line the pan with parchment paper or nonstick aluminum foil before you begin.
5. SET AND CUT
Once the bars are out of the oven, you’ll need to give them at least 30 minutes to set up. In fact, it’s actually preferable that your Chocolate Coconut Bars are completely cooled before you make your first cut. If you cut into them too soon, the sweetened condensed milk will likely not stay put in bar form.
HOW TO CUT CHOCOLATE-COCONUT BARS
You can cut the bars into twelve bars or sixteen squares. To make bar shapes, make three evenly spaced cuts going in one direction and four cuts from the opposite direction.
To make squares, make 4 even cuts across the bars in each direction.
HOW TO STORE CHOCOLATE COCONUT BARS
Chocolate Coconut Bars do not need to be refrigerated and can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3-4 days.
HOW TO FREEZE CHOCOLATE COCONUT BARS
If you’d like to enjoy your bars for any length of time beyond this, you should consider freezing them! You can keep Chocolate Coconut Bars in the freezer for up to 2 months. In fact, these bars are just as delicious directly out of the freezer.
To freeze them, transfer the cooled bars to an airtight, freezer-safe container, separated by sheets of wax paper to help prevent them from sticking. Once frozen, you can move them to a freezer-safe zip-top, gallon-sized bag to save space if needed. Be sure to remove as much air as possible before sealing.
Chocolate Coconut Bars with a buttery graham cracker crust, a gooey chocolate center and a golden, flaky coconut topping and just 10 minutes of prep!
- 1 1/2 cup fine graham cracker crumbs
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, separated
- 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (not to be confused with evaporated milk)
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
Preheat the oven to 350° and have ready a greased 8"x8" baking dish.
In a small mixing bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and a 1/2 teaspoon salt. Transfer to the baking dish and press firmly across the bottom.
Pour the can of sweetened condensed milk over the crust and sprinkle a 1/4 teaspoon of salt across the top.
Scatter chocolate chips across the dish, followed by the coconut. Use the tines of a fork to gently press the toppings into the condensed milk.
Bake for 28-30 minutes, until the coconut is tinging golden-brown across the top. Remove from the oven and run a sharp knife along the edges of the dish.
Allow to cool completely -- 30 minutes to 1 hour. Cut into 12 bars or 16 squares, serve and enjoy!
The crust will taste salty before baking.