Naughty & Nice: Chocolate Toasted Coconut Bars

On the third day of Christmas … my true love gave to me … Chocolate Toasted Coconut Bars.

You know the cookie-confection called a Nanaimo Bar? Well, that’s where this exploration began. But somewhere along the way, it lost the middle layer of custard icing, moved the chocolate topping to the middle, and picked up a topping of toasted coconut instead.

Here’s what a true Nanaimo Bar looks like. Are you drooling? If you want to bake a batch to see what all the hoopla is about, Kevin, of the Closet Cooking blog, makes an especially attractive Nanaimo Bar.

So what we have here is NOT a Nanaimo Bar. It’s a crisp, tender chocolate shortbread base, topped with bar chocolate and toasted coconut. If you need to deliver a batch of cookies in a hurry, this recipe is for you. You don’t need to chill the dough (although you can), and you shape the entire batch at once by pressing the dough into a baking pan. I didn’t time it, but active work time is probably under 30 minutes.

This is one of those over-the-top cookie-confections that should be legally required on the Christmas cookie platter. It’s pure indulgence. But to guarantee your time and effort meet with plenty of oohs and aahs from friends and family, it’s imperative to use an excellent bittersweet bar chocolate or couverture chocolate pistoles for the topping, as well as natural, large flaked coconut. Other than that, great results are virtually guaranteed.

And if Santa is coming down your chimney this year, he is more likely to appreciate these decidedly adult cookies than the frosted sugar cookies the kids love–especially if you set out a pot of freshly made coffee as an accompaniment and join him wearing this welcoming Christmas attire.

Chocolate Toasted Coconut Bars

Dark chocolate shortbread, bittersweet couverture chocolate, and large flakes of toasted coconut in each deliciously naughty bite; what could be nicer?

unsalted butter to grease the pan

2 cups King Arthur unbleached, all-purpose flour
½ cup white rice flour (2½ ounces)
½ cup premium-quality, natural process, unsweetened cocoa powder

1½ cups unsalted butter, cool room temperature (3 sticks)
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ teaspoon salt

1½ cups (8 ounces) premium-quality, chopped bittersweet chocolate (62%-75% cacao) or chocolate chips
2 cups lightly toasted, unsweetened, flaked coconut

  1. Closely line a 9- by 12-inch baking pan with foil and butter the foil.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, rice flour, and cocoa powder. Reserve.
  3. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until light and creamy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the vanilla and salt and continue beating until incorporated.
  5. Add the flour mixture and mix very briefly, only until incorporated.
  6. Spoon the dough in dollops over the bottom of the baking pan and then press the base into place, making sure the dough is evenly distributed.
  7. Bake at 350° for about 40 minutes, until set.
  8. Remove from the oven and quickly top with chopped chocolate. Return to the oven for 2-4 minutes, checking every minute or so to see if the chocolate is spreadable. (The chocolate will still hold its shape even after reaching the necessary temperature, so be sure to test frequently. If you overcook the chocolate, it will seize and become gritty. If this does by chance happen, simply scrape the chocolate off the cookie base and try it again. Yes, I’m speaking from experience.)
  9. Using a small offset spatula, quickly spread the chopped chocolate over the top of the cookie base to evenly cover. Immediately top with toasted coconut and press lightly into the warm chocolate.
  10. Set the pan of cookies on a wire rack to cool.
  11. When cool, cut in 1½- by 2-inch rectangles.
  12. When completely cool, store in air-tight cookie tins, layered with wax paper, in a cool, dry location.

Makes 24, 1½- by 2-inch, cookies.

There’s More

Follow along as we bake this year’s cookie collection, and check out our past two collections:

Copyright 2010 Susan S. Bradley. All Rights Reserved.

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  1. says

    Well thanks a lot! :(

    I was planning on making Peanut Butter Nanaimo bars tonight because they can be frozen. I don’t like making Christmas cookies too far ahead, but now you’ve got me confused!! I want this one!!!!!! I guess I’ll stick with my original plan for today and make these for whatever our next dessert-requiring event is. Ooh, actually, I have a potluck at work on the 20th. Maybe I could make a batch for that. They look AWESOME!!!
    Chris at Hye Thyme Cafe recently posted…Archway Cookies – A Challenge of a Different SortMy Profile

    • Susan S. Bradley says

      Chris, thanks for stopping by. I do hope you’ll try these. And of course I hope you win the Archway Cookie Challenge. Loved your entry!


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