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Coconut cookie bars are the perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth! These coconut dessert treats start with a layer of chocolate lovers chocolate chip cookie dough, a layer of homemade custard and are finished with coconut and meringue. Perfect all year round, but they make adorable Easter desserts!
COCONUT COOKIE BARS
A few weeks ago, I mentioned the way to my heart was a good cup of coffee. Looking back, I know that my mom knew my dad's love language is coconut cream pie. As kids, we weren't really won over by the dessert. But oh man, my dad loves it.
I can remember how much we loved watching her beat the egg whites with air, watching those pillowy fluffs suddenly appear in the mixing bowl. So shiny and glossy, it was one of the greatest science experiments performed in the kitchen.
When I reached college age, and my taste buds evolved, I discovered I liked the taste of coconut. Especially when it was combined with chocolate. I use to enjoy a coconut mocha now and again during stressful exam time.
The other day, I noticed coconut was trending, and I started thinking back to my dad and all those coconut cream pies. I knew my kiddos would not be a fan. But like me, chocolate and coconut together- well they could get behind that. So I decided to make homemade coconut cookie bars.
The premise is simple. Use pre-made cookie dough to save time! I selected Nestlé® Toll House® Ultimates Chocolate Chip Lovers because nothing beats a classic dough with an added amount of chocolate chips! Not having to mix up a batch of cookie dough saved me a ton of time. I felt like the bars really needed this layer, but if I made from scratch cookie dough along with the custard it would have been too time intensive. I grabbed the Nestlé® Toll House® cookie dough bars while I was at Walmart, grabbing more socks for my son who seems to be wearing his out during track practice.
Next, I topped the cookie dough with a small layer of coconut and a big layer of homemade custard. Thick and gooey. Classic custard. This is the most time intensive part. Stirring that custard until its just right!
But it's so worth the wait!
Finally, I topped with meringue swirls piped across the top. And because I couldn't resist- chocolate candy swirls.
And because it's springtime and Easter is around the corner, I thought I'd make a fun spring twist on it:
SPRINGTIME COCONUT COOKIE BAR DESSERTS
How adorable are these??? It's the same dessert modified just slightly. Instead of using a layer of dough, each little pot has a single cookie from the Nestlé® Toll House® premade cookie dough. I nixed the meringue from the top and used colored coconut shreds in a larger amount. A few jelly bean eggs, and a cute bunny party pick and they are all done!
I made the bunny picks myself. It was a craft that was done within 15 minutes and I'll be sharing it with you soon so you can make some too!
I especially love the little pompon tail!
Although the bunnies are adorable, I decided I needed a fun "Happy Easter" Banner to add some height to the dessert display. I personally love the bunny on the right that is diving head first into the dessert. Me too my bunny friend!
My grandma always colored our coconut at Easter. I love the vibrant colors it gives. So what about you - would you make the traditional coconut cookie bars or will you be making the fun Easter grass bunny desserts for your spring brunch?
Still looking for more desserts? You might like these:
COCONUT COOKIE BARS RECIPE:
Coconut Cookie Bars
For the Chocolate Cookie Layer
For the custard:
- 4 cups milk
- 3 egg yolks yolks & whites separated
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the topping:
- 1 cup coconut, shredded & sweetened divided.
- 3 tablespoon sugar
- 3 egg whites
To make the cookie layer:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking pan (9x13) with non-stick cooking spray.
- Remove Nestlé® Toll House® Ultimates Chocolate Chip Lovers cookie dough bars from package, and smush down to cover the bottom of the baking pan.
- Place in oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges just begin to brown. Keep in mind, You'll bake these more later, so it's okay if they are still a bit gooey. Keep on a cooling rack while you are making the custard.
- In anticipation of the meringue stage, turn oven up to 400 degrees
To make the custard:
- In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, vanilla and milk. Place over a medium heat, and stir.
- While the milk mixture is coming to temperature (keep stirring, don't neglect it!), lightly beat the egg yolks with the cornstarch making a nice creamy mixture. When the milk is just begining to warm, add about ½ cup very slowly to the egg mixture. Mix well, and quickly so that the eggs don't scramble. Transfer a bit more milk mixture, and then once well mixed, transfer the egg mixture to the saucepan.
- Continue cooking. You'll be stirring and stirring and stirring. It will bubble up and you will think it's taking forever. It is. But really it should only take 10-15 minutes. Eventually you'll reach that magic moment where it suddenly thickens up. You'll know it when you see it.
- To test and make sure, coat the back of your spoon with the mixture and run your finger through it to make a line. Move the spoon around. If the line stays, it's done!
- Set the custard aside for a moment, and sprinkle ½ cup of coconut over the cookie crust. Then pour the custard on top of that. Sprinkle the remaining coconut on top of the custard.
To make the meringue:
- In a large bowl, begin whipping the egg whites with a hand mixer. You'll want to incorporate as much air in as you can. Very slowly, add in the 3 tbsps on sugar, one at a time. Keep beating the eggs until peaks begin to form. The mixture should be glossy and shiny.
- You can drop blobs of the meringue mixture on top of the custard, or you can pipe the meringue to give yourself a bit more control. I used Wilton tip #195. There are enough egg whites to cover the whole dish, I just left the edges raw for the photos.
- Make sure you changed the oven over to 400 degrees.
- Place the baking pan in the oven on the middle rack and bake for about 15 minutes. Keep an eye on your meringues, so that they do not over brown.
- Place on a cooling rack and cool for about a half hour. Then transfer to a refrigerator.
- Serve very cold. ENJOY!
TO MAKE THE BUNNY EASTER CUPS!
- Bake each cookie in a single ramekin. I baked for 12-14 minutes because I wanted the cookies to be cooked all the way through since I was skipping the meringue stage.
- Make the custard exactly the same. I didn't put a layer of coconut in between the cookie crust and custard because I needed a lot of "grass" on the top level.
- Place about ⅓ cup of the custard in each of the 12 ramekins
- Top with a portion of colored coconut, place a few jelly bean eggs on top, and finish with a bunny rabbit party pick