Coconut Cream Bars

I have had a lifelong love affair with coconut.  I don't know why but I do know if there is coconut mentioned, I am there.  I recently saw a post for Coconut Cream Pie Bars and if you know me, you know that making a pie crust is not my favorite thing.  Being a lover of coconut cream pie, I figured I had accomplished two things.  I would get to eat one of my favorites as well as not have to make a pie crust!  How cool is that?  For me to make a pie means that I am in some sort of a blogger recipe exchange where I have to make a, I have to tell myself to get over it and just make the pie!

Well, that is not the case here, I was happy to make coconut cream bars!!  ...I ended up with three layers:  a buttery crust, a wonderful creamy, coconutty (is that even a word?) custard, and a whipped cream topping with lots of extra coconut on hand.  To make it even better, I was coffee hostess at church and I thought this would make a great little bite for everybody.  So, I knew I wouldn't sit down and eat the entire pan single-handedly and never be able to stand up and walk again!

I went directly to the kitchen and I soon had toasted coconut to munch on while I got things together!

Coconut Cream Bars
adapted from Willow Bird Baking

Crust Layer
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Coconut Cream Layer
3 cups half and half
3 cups coconut milk
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 tsp coconut flavoring (or extract, if available)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Whipped Cream Topping
1 Tbsp cold water (for stabilizing)
1 tsp gelatin (for stabilizing)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3-4 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 cup coconut, toasted

Crust Layer
Preheat oven:  350° F.

Prepare baking dish (9 X 13 inches) by making a foil sling by folding an 18" piece of foil lengthwise to an 8" width.  Fit the foil into the length of your baking pan.  Push it into the corners and up the sides of the pan.  Allow the excess foil to hang over the edge of the pan.

Cut a 14" length of foil and fit it into the width of the pan in the same manner, pushing it into corners and up the sides of the pan.  It will be perpendicular to the first piece.  Allow the excess foil to hang over the edge of the pan.

In a bowl, cut the butter into the flour and the powdered sugar, by hand or in the food processor.   Press the dough evenly into the baking dish,  Bake 18-20 minutes or until light brown.  Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool.

While the oven is on, toast the coconut for the topping.  Lay a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet.  Spread about 1 cup coconut flakes on the baking sheet and bake in the oven for 3-6 minutes. Stir every few minutes until the coconut is a golden brown.  Remove from the oven and spread on a separate baking sheet or a plate to cool.

Coconut Cream Layer
In a large saucepan combine the half and half, coconut milk, eggs, sugar, cornstarch, and salt.  Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat.  Whisk constantly until it is thick and bubbling, approximately 20 to 30 minutes.  Add the coconut flavoring, vanilla extract, and 1 1/2 cups flaked coconut (not toasted).  Stir.

Pour the mixture over the cooled crust.  Allow to cool.  Place in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours to chill until firm.

Whipped Cream Topping
Put 1 Tablespoon cold water in a small microwave safe bowl.  Sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the surface.  Let the gelatin soften for 2 minutes.  Microwave for 30 seconds.  Whisk to dissolve the gelatin.

In the bowl of your mixer, beat the 2 cups of heavy cream and powdered sugar together until the cream forms stiff peaks.  Stop about halfway through to add the gelatin mixture.  Gently spread the cream over the top of the bars.  Sprinkle the toasted coconut on top.

Chill until ready to serve to allow the whipped cream to set up.

Use the sling to lift the bars out of the dish.  Slice with a sharp knife and enjoy!


The Verdict:  The bars were amazing.  We loved them.  The learning was that these are not finger food!  They are creamy and delicious but I decided that they were not really firm enough to easily handle and balance coffee at the same time!  So, they never made the trip to church...but, we shared with neighbors and friends and did our fair share.

I am sharing today at Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage, Foodie Friday hosted by Michael at Rattlebridge Farm as well as SEASONS, hosted by St. Germain's Blog.


  1. They were as good as they look!!Think coconut cream pie....oh my

  2. Kate, These coconut cream bars look and sound great! My wife and I both love coconut and these look so nice and moist too... Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  3. We will love your Coconut Cream Bars, wish I had one right now. Thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a great weekend!
    Miz Helen

  4. I'm sure everyone loved this treat. It looks wonderful!

  5. Have been missing you at SEASONS - maybe you don't realize that you can link up ANY experience during the SEASON (so it does not always have to be nature - really any experience is great- so also recipes! I would love if you link this one up.
    There's still time till Wednesday until 7pm Pacific time to add your yummy desert. Hope to see you there! Enjoy your week:)

  6. Congratulations!
    Your recipe is featured with the most page views on Full Plate Thursday this week! Enjoy your new Red Plate and have a great weekend!
    Miz Helen


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