Macadamia nut shortbread, coconut caramel, toasted coconut, and dark chocolate.
If you like Samoa girl scout cookies, you are going to love these coconut caramel bars. Their toasted mac-nut shortbread, coconut milk caramel, and dark chocolate conjure a bit of nostalgia that you can enjoy anytime!
Pre-cutting the shortbread isn’t necessary. But because of the texture differences between the cookie and the caramel, pre-cutting makes for smoother, even slices.
I use a piping bag to drizzle the dark chocolate over the bars for even distribution. You can also spoon it over, drizzle with fork tines or use a squeeze bottle.
These bars are the best served at room temperature. The caramel will be soft and chewy. If you live in a hot, humid climate as I do, you may want to refrigerate them to prevent them from becoming too sticky. The caramel will not become solid so, you can eat them directly out of the fridge. Or let them sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.
Coconut Caramel Bars
- 1/2 cup macadamia nuts
- 1 1/2 cups +2 tbsp flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup butter 2 sticks softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 cups shredded coconut
- 1 can coconut milk 13.5 oz
- 3/4 cup corn syrup
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 6 ounces dark chocolate or semi-sweet chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the mac-nuts and shredded coconut (for the caramel) on a sheet. Toast for 5-8 minutes. Set aside to cool. Finely grind the mac-nuts in a food processor and mix with flour.
- Line a 9×13 pan with foil or parchment and grease. Cream the butter, sugar, and salt in a mixer. Mix in the vanilla and flour/nut mixture. Press the dough into the pan in a smooth layer. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes. While still warm cut the shortbread into 18 bars 3×6. Set aside.
- Toast the coconut with the mac-nuts and set aside to cool. Mix the coconut milk, corn syrup, and salt together and set aside. In a pan combine the sugar and water. Heat the pan over high heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Do not stir after the mixture begins to boil. Boil until the syrup reaches 310 degrees. Remove from heat and cool for 1 minute. Add the coconut milk mixture to the syrup and return to the heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves into the milk and cook until the caramel reaches 240 degrees. Remove from heat and stir in the coconut. Pour the caramel over the shortbread. Allow to cool to room temperature and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Set up a sheet pan with a rack. Place the chocolate in a bowl and set it over a double boiler on medium-low heat until melted. Flip the bars onto a cutting board and remove foil or parchment. Follow the cuts in the shortbread to cut through the caramel layer. Dip the bottoms of the bars in the chocolate and place face down on wire rack. Refrigerate for 10 minutes or until set. Flip the bars over and drizzle with the remaining chocolate. Refrigerate again to set the chocolate. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.