Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie Bars

I want to weep, these bars are so good. It’s like these bars and this pie and a million other decadent creamy desserts rolled into one.

If you would have told me that adding a thin sliver of rich chocolate to already perfect coconut cream pie would make it better, I would have walked away in a huff, offended that you dared insult one of my favorite pies. But you would have been right. The layer of chocolate on these silky, dreamy coconut cream pie bars is just the start of something so wonderful, it surpasses reason. Think if it this way: A butter, tender crust followed by that aforementioned slathering of dark chocolate, topped with an ethereal coconut cream mixture and a dollop of sweetened whipped cream.

Based on that, how could you not want to make them? (Unless you despise coconut, upon which we need to have a serious talk…)

Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie Bars

One Year Ago: Chocolate Peanut Butter Wafer Cream Cake
Two Years Ago: Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole
Three Years Ago: Spinach Chicken & Pasta Salad with Teriyaki Vinaigrette

Chocolate and Coconut Cream Pie Bars

Yield: Makes 16 bars

Chocolate and Coconut Cream Pie Bars

Note: To toast the coconut, place it in a single layer in a nonstick skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until it browns evenly. Watch closely so it doesn't burn. I've also halved this recipe with great success - use a 8-inch or 9-inch square baking pan. Because many of the steps can be prepared ahead of time and/or need to be coordinated, read through the recipe before starting. Also, these bars can be made up to a day in advance - if doing so, I recommend not topping them with the whipped cream until you are ready to serve (whipped cream that hasn't been stabilized by gelatin, which I chose not to do here, has a tendency to weep and give off liquid if refrigerated over an hour or so).

Ingredients

    Crust Ingredients:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cut into 10-12 pieces
  • Ganache Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 6 ounces (about 1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips
  • Coconut Cream Filling Ingredients:
  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 3 cups coconut milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup sweetened, flaked coconut
  • Whipped Cream Topping Ingredients:
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3-4 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut, toasted (see note above)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9X13-inch baking dish with foil or parchment paper, leaving a 2-3 inch overhang on both of the long sides to help remove the bars after baking.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour and powdered sugar. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry blender, two knives or using a food processor for this entire step. Press the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 16-18 minutes until the crust is light brown. Cool on a wire rack.
  3. While the shortbread is baking, place the chocolate for the ganache (1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips) in a medium bowl. Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan (or microwave it for a 30 seconds or so). Once the cream reaches a simmer, pour the cream over the chocolate and let the mixture stand for 1-2 minutes. Stir completely until a shiny, smooth ganache forms. Once the crust has cooled fora bout 10 minutes, pour the ganache over the bottom of the crust and smooth to the edges. Place the chocolate covered crust in the fridge to chill until the ganache is set into a firm layer and the crust is cooled completely.
  4. While the crust is chilling, make the coconut cream filling by combining the half-and-half, coconut milk, eggs, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly until it is very thick like warm pudding. Alternately (and I've actually done it this way for the coconut cream pie with great results), you can combine all those same ingredients in a large microwave-safe bowl and cook for one-minute increments, stirring well after each minute. It will take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes to thicken in the microwave. I always strain my custard/pudding mixures through a fine-mesh strainer into another bowl. That is optional but it helps get rid of any little bits of cooked egg. Once the mixture thickens and after it has been strained (if you choose to do so), stir in the coconut and vanilla extracts and untoasted coconut. Pour the filling over the chilled ganache and refrigerate the bars until they are firm and set up, about 4 hours.
  5. For the whipped topping, combine the heavy cream and powdered sugar in a large bowl and blend on medium-high speed with a handheld electric mixer until soft peaks form and the cream is thick and stabilized. Spread the cream over the chilled bars and sprinkle on the toasted coconut. Chill until ready to serve. Use the foil or parchment overhang to lift the bars from the pan. Cut into pieces and serve.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/chocolate-and-coconut-cream-pie-bars/
Recipe Source: adapted from Willow Bird Baking

33 Responses to Chocolate and Coconut Cream Pie Bars

  1. Kim in MD says:

    YUM! Is it bad that I want one of these for breakfast? ;-)

  2. Georgia says:

    These look delish! Would it be possible to use the heavy cream in place of the half & half? You have to buy it anyway, for the ganach, and it seems wasteful to throw that away and use half & half..

  3. Yum!!! Sound sinfully good and could become my favorite dessert!!! These would taste so good with the cup of coffee I am having right now!

  4. Lauren says:

    Is the coconut milk full fat canned?

  5. StephenC says:

    I’ve bookmarked this page, ’cause there’s no miracle sweets like this in my diet until Jan. 1 when I will celebrate my weight loss (and return to my former slender self) with a pig-out of historic proportions.

  6. My grandma used to make something a lot like this! Love it!

  7. Mel says:

    Georgia – it’s worth a try!

    Lauren – I used the full-fat canned coconut milk but I will definitely try light coconut milk in the future since I’ve used it in the coconut cream pie recipe with good results.

  8. Amanda says:

    Oh my! this looks like a dream come true! Your old fashioned coconut cream pie is my all-time favorite, so I can’t wait to try these!

  9. Amber says:

    Oh, these will make an appearance at Thanksgiving. For sure!!

  10. Ang says:

    This looks so good! Why can’t I find coconut extract anywhere? I’ve looked at just Target and also two different health food stores…any suggestions?

  11. OMG – I don’t know if I can wait until I get home to make these – they look SOOOO good. Definitely on this weekend’s to do list.

  12. kimberlee says:

    You weep, I faint! This recipe may just be a once a year treat, or my birthday cake! I think to add to the coconut in this I might substitue coconut oil for the butter in the shortbread crust. Trader Joe’s coconut oil has more of a coconut flavor than most other coconut oils.

  13. Kim says:

    So I made your coconut cream pie for Thanksgiving last year and was SO HAPPY with it, it was amazing! I’ve had disappointing ones in the past so was sure that my search was over – and now you post this! Now I don’t know which to make for Thanksgiving. Is this recipe basically the same, just larger to fit the pan and with the ganache? Could I add the ganache layer to Aunt Marilyn’s recipe? Important decisions…

  14. Carol says:

    I’ve made this with Willow Bird Baking’s recipe and it was amazing! Thanks for reminding me.

  15. Whisk says:

    Well done, Lady Mel.

  16. This sounds delightful – like a creamier, more spectacular, Almond Joy. I can’t wait to make these.

    Oooh, what if a person decided to spread some nutella on instead of making the chocolate ganache? I might have to investigate this idea. :)

  17. Mel says:

    Ang – that’s strange that you can’t find the extract easily. I usually find it at Walmart or any large-ish grocery store by the vanilla extract. I’m sure you can nab it online (amazon.com) if you need to. Good luck!

    Hi Kim – the recipe differs slightly than Aunt Marilyn’s coconut cream pie recipe but all in all it’s pretty much the same idea. And yes, I think you could absolutely add a layer of the ganache to the pie. Love that idea!

    Sarah – um, yes, brilliant thinking on the nutella.

  18. Farmgirl says:

    I made this today for my family! It is soooo good! I love coconut milk and toasted coconut. The chocolate gnache just takes it one level higher! Thank you! I will be making this one again!

  19. Mallory says:

    Did you use imitation or pure coconut extract? All I could find was imitation and I wasn’t sure if it’s any good or not.

  20. Mel says:

    Mallory – I’m pretty sure all I’ve been able to find lately is imitation coconut extract and it tastes fine to me.

  21. [...] Mel has great recipes with basic ingredients and her instructions are very clear and easy to follow.  The recipe was easier than I thought it would be – the instructions clear and concise and the resulting dessert was fantastic.  You can get the complete recipe here. [...]

  22. grace says:

    i’m totally adding chocolate to my next coconut cream pie. the whole 9×13-inch pan idea is wonderful and also being filed away in my brain. bravo!

  23. Emily says:

    I made this over the weekend. It was wonderful! I learned 2 things. 1- don’t forget the warmed up cream in the microwave…it won’t melt anything when it’s cold. 2- always run this through the strainer if a 3 yr old is trying to help…lots of egg shells. Great recipe, will definitely be made again.

  24. Kasey says:

    Have you ever tried cream of coconut rather than coconut milk? I made your coconut cream pie at Easter and since I only put the coconut on the top of the pie, I felt it didn’t have as much coconut flavor as I would have liked. (It could have also been a lower quality coconut extract.). if you have tried the cream of coconut, did you cut back on the sugar?

  25. Mel says:

    Hi Kasey – I’ve never tried cream of coconut. Keep in mind it is much sweeter than coconut milk so if you want to use it, definitely cut down on the sweetness in the pie (like you mentioned in your comment). Good luck if you try it!

  26. Lilly says:

    I am the ultimate coconut lover – I have several coconut recipes in my arsenal and if the recipe doesn’t call for coconut I often times will implement it anyways with great results. I made this recipe as part of my Christmas meal and it was phenomenal! I used a pre-made pie crust instead of the shortbread (time wasn’t on my side!) and it came out great! I will say that I must’ve thickened the filling too much on the stove because straining it was a chore, but well worth the tedious task! This is really a stellar dessert and one that others will be impressed about! Thanks Mel!

  27. Elizabeth says:

    Mel, I am looking at this recipe and I have always used canned coconut milk for recipes. (like coconut chicken curry). Recently I have found coconut milk at walmart in the refrigerator section (next to the soy milk and almond milk), have you ever used that instead of the canned stuff?

  28. Mel says:

    Elizabeth – I’ve never even see the refrigerated coconut milk. If it really is just coconut milk (no added ingredients) it should work just fine.

  29. Barb says:

    These were so good I didn’t want to share, but I did, and then regretted it, haha!

  30. char says:

    One word – DELICIOUS! It was a huge hit with everyone.

  31. Andrea says:

    This was AMAZING! The best dessert I have made in a long time. I was even a little skeptical of adding chocolate to a perfectly delicious coconut dessert, but it worked so well & bumped up the flavor. Everyone loved it at our gathering. I love to cook but don’t love to bake & make desserts. I can tell you this was not difficult at all to prepare & came out perfect! I will definitely make this again.

  32. Julie says:

    Wow! We are coconut lovers and with twin 17 year old boys I thought these would be just inhaled, but they are soooooo rich! I mean million dollar rich, it even slowed them down. I just hope they keep well so the crust isn’t soggy by the time we get to the last row. I followed the recipe to the letter and it is a good one, just have somewhere to share it or you will be in a coconut coma it’s so good!

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