I’ve been baking up these decadent Coconut Macadamia Nut Bars for years as part of the holiday cookie trays I distribute to friends and neighbors.
With a layer of shortbread topped with chewy coconut and nut filling, these Coconut Bars are destined to become one of your favorite cookie bars!
Coconut Macadamia Nut Bars
Macaroons, coconut cupcakes, coconut bars I love them all. My love affair with coconut started as a girl. My mom submitted a recipe for Mounds Bars for my first grade cookbook: think graham cracker crust with a chewy coconut middle and a chocolate topping. I love, love coconut cookies, but bar cookies are even easier!!! These Coconut Macadamia Nut Bars are a new favorite!
Tips for Making Coconut Bars
I always include something coconut with my holiday trays and this shortbread based bar is topped with a chewy, nutty coconut topping.
- Pulse your crust ingredients in the food processor. Watch carefully until the butter pieces are the size of small peas or less. These little butter bits will make for a tender crust.
- Use sweetened coconut, like angel flake. I have not tested with unsweetened coconut.
- PRO-Tip: Line your baking pan with non-stick foil. This will prevent the sweet filling from sticking to the sides of the pan.
- Plus, the nonstick foil provides a “sling” for removing the cooled coconut bars to a cutting board. It’s much easier to slice them when they’re not still in the pan.
- Remember to reduce the oven temperature as directed in the recipe. If you forget, your coconut bar edges will be dark, though still tasty!
Don’t wait till the holidays to bake up a batch of these delectable coconut bars. If you love bar cookies, check out the Best Bar Cookie Recipes in my recipe index. Another fan favorite are these Easy Meringue Cookies.
What is Cream of Coconut?
If you haven’t made a lot of Pina Coladas, you may not have seen nor used cream of coconut. Cream of Coconut is sweetened coconut cream. The cream that rises to the top of a can of coconut milk is called coconut cream, so it can get confusing.
That “coconut cream” is not sweetened. In desserts or coconut cocktails calling for cream of coconut or coconut cream, just check the label to see if sugar is an ingredient. I’ve used the brands Coco Lopez and Coco Real in these bars.
This post was originally shared in December, 2010. Photos and text were updated in 2019
More Coconut Desserts You’ll Love:
These super easy Chewy Coconut Cookies are always a hit and I’m also a huge fan of these Chocolate Dipped Macaroons. And truly my favorite coconut dessert are these ultra-rich Cream Cheese Frosted Coconut Cupcakes!
If you’re not in the mood to turn on your oven, this dreamy No-Bake Coconut Cream Lush Cake fits the bill. Or how about adding some coconut to a fruit crisp? This Blackberry Coconut Crisp is calling my name! Check out all my Bar Cookie Recipes, too!
- 2 cups flour
- 2 sticks cold butter, cut into pieces
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 half stick butter (1/4 cup)
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 3/4 cup canned cream of coconut (I use Coco Lopez)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 2/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut
- 1 1/3 cup macadamia nuts, large pieces halved
- Preheat oven to 350º. Grease or line 9 x 13-inch pan with nonstick foil.
- In food processor, pulse together flour, 2 sticks of butter and powdered sugar till butter is the size of small peas and mixture resembles cornmeal. Pat into bottom of prepared pan (the dough will be crumbly). Bake 20 minutes.
- Melt the half stick of butter in a saucepan. Remove from heat. Add brown sugar,and stir till dissolved. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Pour topping over crust. Reduce oven temperature to 325º and bake about 40-50 minutes till bars are lightly browned.
- Cut into bars when cool. These freeze well.
Lambeau, our first pup, circa 2010