Grand Prize Coconut-Caramel Bars

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Grand Prize Coconut-Caramel Bars

star rating (21) rate this recipe »
Published prior to 2008

These gooey, chewy bars are loaded with coconut AND caramel AND chocolate. They’re a tasty substitute for those Samoa cookies the Girl Scouts sell, if you’ve devoured your stash and just can’t wait till Girl Scout cookie time comes around again.

1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) butter
1 1/2 cups (11 1/4 ounces) brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla-butternut flavor
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups (5 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or White Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups (6 ounces) shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened, toasted (1/2 cup reserved for topping)
1 cup (10 ounces) caramel cut from a block (or about 36 individual caramel candies), divided*
1 1/2 cups (9 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) milk or cream

*Or use 10 ounces of caramel sundae sauce, if you don't want to melt caramel.

To toast coconut, spread it in a 9" x 13" pan, and bake it in a preheated 300°F oven for 18 to 22 minutes, stirring it halfway through, or until it’s a light golden brown. Watch it very closely towards the end, as it’ll go from golden to dark brown very quickly. Increase the oven heat to 350°F. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla, and egg. Mix in the flour, salt, baking powder, and 1 1/2 cups of the toasted coconut.

Spread the mixture in an ungreased 9" x 13" pan.* Bake for 15 minutes. Just before the 15 minutes is up, melt half the caramel (1/2 cup); a VERY brief burst in the microwave makes this easy (probably 15 seconds or so). Drizzle the melted caramel (or caramel sauce) over the crust and return it to the oven for 10 to 13 minutes; when done it'll be medium-brown and the caramel will be bubbly.

Remove the crust from the oven and, working quickly, use a heatproof plastic knife (plastic reduces the drag in sticky baked goods), or a bench knife, to loosen the edges of the crust from the pan, and to cut 2 dozen bars, leaving them right in the pan. It’s easier to cut these bars while they’re warm. Sprinkle the bars with the chocolate. Allow the chocolate to soften for about 5 minutes, then spread it evenly atop the bars. Set aside to cool completely.

Loosen the bars from the edge of the pan again, and use a flexible spatula to lift them out and set them on a rack. Combine the remaining caramel with 1 tablespoon milk or cream, and heat until the caramel is pourable. Stir to combine with the cream, and drizzle over the bars. (Or drizzle bars with caramel sauce, if desired.) Garnish with the reserved toasted coconut.
Yield: 24 bars.

*These bars usually aren’t a challenge to get out of the pan. But if you’re at all nervous, line the bottom of the pan with parchment, if desired.

Reviews

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  • star rating 03/20/2015
  • gigi from st paul
  • These were dang close to a Girl Scout Somoa Cookie and way easier than several "Pinterest" recipes I've tried. I did substitute "dulce de leche" made from condensed milk in the middle and topped with a little caramel sauce from a jar,. Next time I'm going to use block caramel as the recipe recommends. It was a little cumbersome to spread the thick "dulce de leche" on top of the hot, partially baked crust layer. Since I love caramel, but hate to make it, it may be worth buying the big block.
  • 01/09/2015
  • Cape Cod Girl from Maryland
  • >I haven't made these yet. Can I use a Silpat mat instead of parchment paper to line the pan?
    I would not recommend this,as the recipe recommends using an ungreased 9" X 13" pan and cutting the bars while they are still in the pan. This would ruin your Silpat. Barb@KAF
  • star rating 12/16/2014
  • LArcher from London, Ontario
  • Oh so good! I bought a 5 lb block of caramel from King Arthur and this is the first recipe made using it. Awesome! My daughter is allergic to nuts and so has never had a Twix chocolate bar and these bars are very close to a twix. I threw some in the freezer to save for some holiday platters. I used all the caramel in the recipe in the filling and cut while warm as the recipe suggested. Then topped with the chocolate and after spreading topped the chocolate with toasted coconut.
  • star rating 11/03/2014
  • Sonya from San Diego, CA
  • Delicious! A word of advice - if you're using homemade caramel, it may get a little more chewy/hard during the reheating process, so if you know ahead of time you'll need it for this recipe, cook it to a lower temperature. Otherwise the tops of these bars are hard to chew. But still very yummy :)
  • star rating 09/17/2014
  • Nicole from NH
  • I made these for the first time using caramel ice cream sauce. I let them sit overnight and they were still really soft and gooey in the morning. You could cut them, but eating them was like eating sugary mush (albeit decent tasting sugary mush) on a soft crust. I put them in the fridge for an hour and that firmed them up a bit, which helped a lot. It made them much chewier and far less mushy. They are very good, but they are very sweet. I think if the crust was thicker, it would actually help temper the sweetness of the caramel and chocolate. I did use sweetened coconut. Knowing how sweet the topping makes this, I think it might have been better to use the unsweetened. Also, I just sprinkled the remaining toasted coconut over the chocolate right after I spread it. Additional caramel on top would really be overkill, and using ice cream topping caramel on the top would not look like the picture, but would spread and make it even softer and stickier. Overall, would make them again. I am curious how they would come out melting the caramel candies instead of the much runnier ice cream topping. I think that kind of caramel would have firmed up better.
  • star rating 06/24/2014
  • Nikki from Crystal Lake, Illinois
  • Amazing flavor. Actually they are phenomenal. I used the Ice cream topping rather than the firmer caramels and as a matter of fact I used the entire 10 ounces over the base. I did omit the caramel from the top. I was going to be transporting these and thought that it would be less sticky that way. These are easy to make, I lined the pan with parchment so cutting and clean up was easy. By the way these freeze well, had to do that so I would not eat them all. (the ones in the freezer call to me..I hear the "eat me, eat me" as I pass and it is hard to ignore that voice) These are a new favorite, although I say that almost every time I try a recipe from this site!
  • star rating 03/03/2012
  • zanychar from KAF Community
  • I do adore these bars! As with another reviewer, however, I did find the bars to be nearly liquid at the end of the designated baking time after adding the caramel sauce (perhaps the sauce vs. candies makes it wetter?) I ended up baking an additional 12 mins. or so and that worked out well. I'm taking these to a party this afternoon so I don't end up eating them all myself!
  • star rating 02/14/2012
  • Sue from Western MA from KAF Community
  • These are worth the calories! They're very similar to the Coconut Caramel Candy Bars, so I combined the two recipes. I used half a jar of caramel sauce over the cookie base, and 6 ounces (instead of 9 ounces) of bittersweet (instead of semisweet) chocolate to spread over the top, omitting the extra caramel drizzled over the top.
  • star rating 02/09/2012
  • shorebecky from KAF Community
  • I SO wanted to love these, but they did not come out as I anticipated. I used the caramel candies and I am not sure if it was the brand I used, but they took much longer to melt in the microwave than the recipe indicated and even when they were melted it was difficult to drizzle the caramel onto the bars. In the end, however, the caramel was rock hard. :-( We have "managed" :-) to eat the bars by sticking them in the microwave for a few seconds to soften up the caramel (and they taste great!), but aside from doing that they are way to hard to chew. I am going to try again using ice cream topping carmel and hoping that works out better.
    One secret to the melted caramel is brief melting time in the microwave. If that is difficult to achieve with the individual candies, it may be best to use a caramel sauce rather than melting your own. We hope you try this again. Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF
  • star rating 01/18/2012
  • sarahjakeroe from KAF Community
  • I have no review b/c I am not finished with them yet..I took them out after the allotted bake time and they are ridiculously gooey and I can't even cut through them..it's like cutting through raw batter! What did I do wrong? Currently I am giving them a few more minutes (in the oven..which is gas) but then I'll have to give up and hope and pray they come out OK..maybe you should say somewhere in the recipe about how they are supposed to look (consistency wise) when they come out of oven? Grrr! I'll post more when they are done..Oh and no one was available for chat..;(
    I am really sorry that you were unable to chat with us. Perhaps you caught us during a break. I hope that you will try our service again soon. These bars are extremely gooey, but cutting them should not be a problem while they are still warm. Please give us a call on the baker's hotline so that we can talk in more detail. ~Amy
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