Chocolate Coconut Shortbread Bars

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layered bars with a shortbread crust, milk chocolate center, and caramelized coconut topping

yield: approximately 18 bars

  • Author: Kayla Howey


  • 2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 12 oz milk chocolate, chopped (or chips)
  • ½ cup heavy cream, heated
  • 1 (13.5 fl oz) can coconut milk
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 6 oz coconut flakes


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13” baking dish with butter and line it with a piece of parchment paper (allow the parchment to hang over at least 2 inches).
  2. Combine the softened butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Cream together until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add a ½ tsp of the vanilla and salt. Mix well. Add the flour in two batches, mixing until incorporated.
  3. Press the shortbread dough evenly into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden. Let cool.
  4. Add the milk chocolate to a mixing bowl. Pour the heated cream over top. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add the remaining vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Spread the chocolate mixture into an even layer over the shortbread crust. Chill for 1 hour until set.
  5. Add the coconut milk and brown sugar to a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk to combine and bring to a simmer. Add the coconut flakes. Simmer on medium for 8 minutes, stirring often, until deeply golden in color and thickened. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 more minutes until almost all of the liquid has been reduced. Stir in a pinch of salt. Turn off the heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
  6. Pour the coconut mixture over the chocolate layer and spread evenly. Chill for at least 3 hours until set. Use the parchment paper to lift the bars out of the pan. Cut into squares.


Storing: Store the bars in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.