Micah Leal
Active Time
20 Mins
Total Time
50 Mins

Many claim they have the best recipe for the Coconut Dream Bar. However, we think that a dessert with so many recipe variations has several good competitors—including ours. While most iterations of this nutty sweet treat have a plain shortbread crust and a gooey filling made with sweetened condensed milk, we take a more refined route. Rather than a traditional shortbread, we make a flavorful shortbread out of browned butter and finely chopped pecans. The browned butter adds a caramelized depth of flavor to the base along with the richness of the roasted pecan pieces packed into the crust. Instead of sweetened condensed milk, our filling is made out of dark brown sugar, eggs, and sweetened shredded coconut. But to top it all off, we sprinkle unsweetened coconut flakes onto the filling so that the coconut pieces toast on the surface as they bake into the sweet filling underneath.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a metal 9- x 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom with a fitted rectangle of parchment paper. Set aside.

Step 2

In a small saucepan, heat butter over medium-high heat, swirling often and scraping the bottom of the pan with a heatproof spatula, until butter foams and then browns, about 4 minutes. Set aside to cool for 1 minute.

Step 3

In a mixing bowl, stir together browned butter, sugar, and milk until combined. Add all-purpose flour, 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, and chopped pecans. Stir with a large spoon until dough forms. Spread and press evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Bake until lightly browned on the surface, about 18 minutes.

Step 4

While crust is baking, whisk together brown sugar, granulated sugar, remaining 3/4 tsp. kosher salt, all-purpose flour, and baking powder until well combined. Add eggs and vanilla, and whisk until there are no more dry pockets. Stir in sweetened coconut.

Step 5

When crust has finished baking, pour the liquid mixture on top of the crust. Sprinkle the surface evenly with the unsweetened coconut chips. Bake until the coconut has toasted and the filling has set, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature before cutting.