Brownies and Bars/ Dessert/ Recipes

Toasted Coconut Cookie Bars

Lately, I’ve been seeing my friend, Heather Christo, post these absolutely drool-worthy photos of sugar cookie bars all over the Internets. Heather has a book coming out soon and I’m SO excited about it! I can’t wait to get my little paws on a copy.

Anyway, the cookie bars divine with a thick sugar cookie base and frosting on top. I knew I had to make an Easter version. You guys, if you’re a coconut fan you’re going to go crazy over these! They’re absolutely addicting. They sort of remind me of those thick lofthouse cookies. So bad…but oh, so good.

The special part about these bars though is the frosting. It’s a basic buttercream frosting with tons of toasted flaked coconut in it, giving each bite of cookie bar a sweet crunch.

Confession time.

The photo above is my second batch of toasted coconut. The first batch I tried to toast in the oven, since I’m such a genius {note the sarcasm here}, and about four minutes later my kitchen was filled with smoke. I couldn’t believe how much smoke there was from a pan of coconut. Maybe that’s a sign to clean my oven? I frantically flung the back door open, threw the black coconut into the sink, took a deep breath and then started over. On the stove.

Moral of the story? Toast your coconut on the stove….and keep an eye on it.

I brought these bars to our community group last Thursday night and everyone loved them! Everyone except Adam. I don’t know how I got roped into marrying a coconut-hater, but it’s happening.

I guess that means more for me.

Toasted Coconut Cookie Bars

yields about 2 dozen bars

Sugar cookie bar recipe adapted from Heather Christo

Print this Recipe!


for cookie bars—

2 sticks butter, room temperature (1 cup)

3/4 cup powdered sugar

2 egg yolks

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

for toasted coconut frosting —

3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut

2 sticks butter, room temperture

2 cups powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 12″ pan well with nonstick cooking spray.

Beat together the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and egg yolks and keep beating until well combined. Add the flour and salt and mix until a soft dough forms.

Press dough into the bottom of your pan and prick several times with a fork. Bake for about 20-23 minutes until edges are golden brown.

Let cookie bar base cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, toast the coconut in a small pan over medium/high heat. Watch this — it burns quick! You want nice golden brown bits of coconut.

After the coconut has been toasted, set aside. Cream together the butter and powdered sugar until very light and fluffy. Add the coconut, reserving two tablespoons. Mix well. Spread frosting over bars and sprinkle extra toasted coconut on top. Slice into little squares and serve!


45 minutes


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  • Maria
    March 25, 2013 at 7:26 am

    I made a sugar cookie bar too! Love your coconut version!

  • Heather @ Heather's Dish
    March 25, 2013 at 7:27 am

    Yeah…no way could I be left alone with a pan of these guys!

  • Deborah
    March 25, 2013 at 7:27 am

    I am a coconut addict and need these in my life!!

  • Heather Kneisler
    March 25, 2013 at 7:28 am

    Looovveee coconut! My hubby isn’t a fan either though… 🙁 Can’t wait to try them.

  • Jenn
    March 25, 2013 at 7:34 am

    These look delicious!
    With Luck Blog

  • Sarah @ Yogi in Action
    March 25, 2013 at 7:54 am

    haha I love that Adam was the only one who didn’t like them. That happens to me all the time with my boyfriend- and I just tell him that I’ll eat his share.

    Those look delicious- and since I am NOT a coconut hater, I will definitely be making them. And then eating them all to myself….

  • joelle (on a pink typewriter)
    March 25, 2013 at 8:10 am

    This frosting looks magnificent, and I’m not much of a frosting fan (gasp, I know). Also, i think coconut might be an acquired taste; I’ve definitely grown to appreciate it.

    Ps. for reader questions, what is the best email to contact you?

  • Sarah @ making thyme for health
    March 25, 2013 at 8:11 am

    These look divine! I know a few people who don’t like coconut and they say it’s a texture thing. I don’t get it, coconut is the best!

  • Abby @ The Frosted Vegan
    March 25, 2013 at 8:13 am

    Oh my word lady, these look divine!!

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks
    March 25, 2013 at 8:24 am

    The bars look wonderful and the frosting…even better! Coconut hater, well, more for you – you’re right! Lately I’ve been cooking/baking more with coconut oil than coconut shreds/flakes because even the coconut haters I know don’t seem to mind the oil!

  • Anne
    March 25, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Coconut is my spirit animal – can’t wait to make these!

  • Laura
    March 25, 2013 at 8:55 am

    Those look awesome, and a perfect Easter treat. I may have to whip them up this week! How was your shower??? Dying for an update! 🙂

    • jenna
      March 25, 2013 at 8:56 am

      It was SO FUN!!!! I’ll be sharing some photos tomorrow!

  • Stan Shores
    March 25, 2013 at 9:19 am

    I agree with Laura these would make an excellent Easter snack. I’m going to make them for our Easter dinner. My wife likes coconut and sugar cookies so she is absolutely going to love these. I’m sure I will eat my share!

  • Jenna | The Paleo Project
    March 25, 2013 at 9:19 am

    I love the sound of these – you’ve just inspired me to try to create a “clean” version for my eating lifestyle and I’m so excited. My mom hates coconut too. Never understood it.

  • Alexis @ Hummusapien
    March 25, 2013 at 9:29 am

    You had me at the title! Toasted coconut frosting may be the best thing I’ve heard all week. Holy yum!!

  • Kelsey @aslolife
    March 25, 2013 at 10:10 am

    I used to absolutely hate coconut growing up and have only recently discovered its amazingness. Who knew what I was missing?? Definitely making these over spring break!

  • Yohann
    March 25, 2013 at 10:16 am

    I love coconut! I was planning on making my treat of the week lemon bars. I guess I’ll just have to try these as well!

  • Laurie {SimplyScratch}
    March 25, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Toasted. Coconut. Awesomeness.

  • Stacey
    March 25, 2013 at 10:33 am

    I’m marrying a coconut-hater too! It’s just terrible…maybe you and I should start a support group for women like us? Haha! 🙂

  • M.C. @ThousandStoryKitchen
    March 25, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Ooh, what’s wrong with people who don’t like coconut? They’re cocoNUTS! Glad to know I’m not the only one who had smoke in the kitchen this week! Mine was in the toaster oven- flames were involved, actually. Good times. 😉 These look heavenly.

  • erin@
    March 25, 2013 at 10:54 am

    these are made of so much win. sugar cookie bars and coconut. perfect.

  • Miss Kim
    March 25, 2013 at 10:58 am

    I so want some! They look delicious and so “spring-y”. I don’t understand coconut haters. We have a pastry chef (at work) who is allergic (not a hater but just as bad) a to coconuts, so he is unable to do any recipes that involve coconuts. We still make them, but HE just can’t be in contact with or near the coconuts. What a shame. He’s missing out on so much goodness!

  • Jane {In the Pink and Green}
    March 25, 2013 at 11:10 am

    My husband hates coconut too…but I love it! These bars looks delicious, I’ll definitely have to give them a try! xo

  • Michelle
    March 25, 2013 at 11:28 am

    those look delicious!

  • Caroline L.
    March 25, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Perfect Easter treat! I’ve been obsessed with coconut oil lately, and I keep on opening up the jar to catch a whiff of the coconut scent, so I’m sure I’ll be in love with these!

  • Julia
    March 25, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    I love coconut! These look perfect for Easter.

  • Makenzie Ann
    March 25, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Yum 🙂 These would be perfect for Easter…especially if you die the frosting a nice pastel color!

  • Ja @Athlete Within Ja
    March 25, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    My husband loves coconut, will definitely make this for him!!! 🙂 Thanks!

  • Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough
    March 25, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    These sound absolutely magical. YUM!

  • Becky
    March 25, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    My husband is a coconut hater too. On the other hand, my mouth is totally watering after looking at your pictures. I can’t wait to try out this recipe soon (and not have to worry about sharing).

  • Kiran @
    March 25, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    We are celebrating my Husband’s birthday today, and I baked him a coconut cake! I’ve been seeing so many coconut recipes floating around today 🙂

    Can’t believe Adam hates coconut!! Noooooo!!!

  • Elisabeth
    March 25, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    A coconut hater…!!! I love all things coconut, especially coconut cream pie 🙂 I’ll be trying these bars ASAP!

  • Jane @ Not Plain So Jane
    March 25, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    I was planning on making this bird’s nest dessert for Easter (rice krispies but made with peanut butter & coconut with Jelly Beans for eggs!) but this would definitely be a grown up, more elegant dessert! Love coconut!

  • Amber @ Mommy's Me Time
    March 25, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    These are beautiful and look absolutely delicious. Coconut and cookies sound like the perfect combo!

  • Sara {Home is Where the Cookies Are}
    March 25, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Oh my goodness, YUM! My mom would love these! I’ll have to save the recipe and send her some for Mother’s Day!!

  • Megan {Country Cleaver}
    March 25, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    Coconut gives me heart palpitations – in all the very best ways. I’m utterly, hopelessly addicted. Heather knows a good cookie fo’ sho’.

  • Tieghan
    March 25, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    yum, yum, yum!! Jenna these look awesome!

  • Moni Meals
    March 26, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    oh yes and oh yum!! Great recipe Jenna. 🙂

  • Laurie {Simply Scratch}
    March 26, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    Jenna! So I’m a work and a co-worker comes up to me and tells me she made your {these} bars.. she gave me a piece and OMG sosososososo good! Totally going to make myself a batch!

  • Lorna
    March 28, 2013 at 7:50 am

    I made these bars the other night. My husband’s comment was, “4 sticks of butter?!”. They are delicious, and decadent. I’m ready to try the pinto grigio chicken next!

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  • Donny
    March 29, 2013 at 7:55 am

    These look really good! Also look very dangerous for my wasteline – 2 sticks of butter, nearly 3 cups of sugar (powdered + normal): the problem is any time I make something like this I cannot stop eating them. I would probably need to make a 1/4 batch just to be safe 🙂

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  • Jen D.
    March 30, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    I made these for our dessert fellowship after the Good Friday service, and added a chocolate ganache layer between the frosting and the 2 T of sprinkled coconut. They were a hit (how can you go wrong with 4 sticks of butter, sugar, coconut, and a chocolate ganache?!)!! Definitely wouldn’t make these for my husband and I (we’d eat them all, not super healthy; ), but fabulous to bring to an event where you can share them!! Thanks for the recipe!

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  • Sydney
    April 1, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Oh dear these are good. Glad I made them for Easter dessert & left most of them with other people!

  • Deborah Barnes
    April 16, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Fabulous, this was a hit with my whole family, a coconut lovers dream dish!! Thank You, Debbie

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    May 27, 2013 at 12:41 am

    Can you please add these to your Recipes page?

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