Jun 11, 2012

Coconut Dulce de Leche Bars

As far as bars go, these take the pole position often. I can´t begin to tell you how good coconut pairs with our sweet milky jam. On a layer of shortbread. They could pretty much be called coconut billionaire shortbread. I wonder how a layer of chocolate would go. Maybe too much, or maybe not. Another thing to try, since my list is so short...
There was a time when coconut was only found as a lame decoration in old bakeries across this country; the popular alfajor and the even more popular pasta frolla. All had a sprinkling of coconut that forever put that poor ingredient in the ugly category.
Years later, that was changed. So much, that nowadays coconut and dulce de leche bars are a sell-out everywhere. You´ll understand when you taste this. Because I know you will make them and remember the pushy lady that insisted you try this buttery, sweet, caramel-y thing.

The idea here is to watch for a few details. Be sure to bake it in a not too hot oven, so the coconut layer has a chance to cook and become golden at the same time. If you brown it too quickly it stays mushy inside and you don´t want that. Please. You´ll think I´m the crazy pushy lady if you eat this raw; it´s not good. This will also allow for the dulce de leche that´s touching the sides of the pan to caramelize even more. The only way to understand how good those crunchy sides are is to try them.

So see? You have to make them. I already tried this combination as a variation of the coconut friands. And now I´m here again, rallying for the same cause. Here´s hoping you´re listening. Because they are that good.



Shortbread base(see recipe below)
18 to 21oz. (500 to 600g) dulce de leche
Coconut topping (see recipe below)


Preheat oven to 350ºF / 180ºC.
Bake shortbread base for 15 to 20 minutes, until it begins to lightly golden.
Turn oven down to 310ºF /160ºC.
Spread dulce de leche evenly over it. You can do this while the base is hot or cold, it doesn´t matter.
Evenly distribute the coconut topping over the dulce de leche, spreading it lightly with your hands. You don´t want an even, compact layer. Barely pat it down so it´s easy to cut later.
Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until the top layer is golden and the ddl bubbles a bit.
Cool on wire rack, lift aluminum foil carefully and transfer to cutting board.
Cut into 12 squares.

Shortbread base: from Ina Garten

8oz. (225g) unsalted butter, at room tº
½ cup (100g) sugar
Pinch of salt
2 cups (280g) all purpose flour

Line a 9x13 inch (23x33cm) pan with aluminum foil with long sides hanging over pan.
Beat butter with sugar until combined. Add salt and flour and mix just until it starts to come together. Dump into prepared pan and patiently, pat it covering bottom and 1-inch up sides. Try to get an even layer as possible.
Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Coconut topping:

4 cups unsweetened coconut
½ cup sugar
½ cup (110g) unsalted butter
1 egg

In a food processor put coconut and sugar and pulse a few times to mix. Add butter and pulse until it blends well together. Add egg and process until it becomes a uniform paste. It will be sandy and clumpy.


  1. This sure looks delicious!! Thanks for sharing such great recipes!!!

  2. I love every layer of this! There is always a bunch of chocolate around but I think the dulce de leche is really on the mark with this recipe. Well done-yum!

  3. These bars look so delicious. I can understand why these are an instant sell-out, I would eat as many as I could on the spot!!

  4. these certainly look decadent!

  5. Just the words 'coconut and dulce de leche' make me giddy. These bars are genius, Paula! hey're going into my cookie/bar boomarks :) That said..I have to try those overnight oats with apple juice by La Tartine Gourmande. Do ou have a link? Sorry for the cliffhanger again...Oh..wait..not lol

    1. I´ll trade a few for a peek at your last chapter...!

  6. You had me at dulce de lche. Anything that has dulce de leche is a winner for me :D

  7. Yum, Paula! I have a jar of Dulce de Lece from the Farmers' Market that was just waiting for this recipe!

    1. I can see no better way to use that jar!

  8. Mmm...coconut dulce de leche. Yum!

  9. This sounds really good and reminds me of a vintage candy that my mom loved as a kid in the Bahamas... coconut Long Boys :)

    1. Never heard of it, but sounds interesting...eating the candy on the beach sound even more interesting!

  10. These sound incredible! I love living someplace where dulce de leche is readily available! ~ David

  11. Are these like the Hungarian shortbread bars we made for FFWD? I want to try Ina's shortbread version that you posted. (Don't you love how I use only her first name?) I think if these are such a South American treat, I will definitly acquire a taste for coconut and dulce de leche bars before I come south. Reading your Blog makes me even more excited about my traveling plans.

    1. These are different from the hungarian because the topping has coconut in it. You won´t regret baking them!

  12. These sound completely amazing!! Coconut and Caramel.. My two favourite ingredients!! Brilliant.

  13. I really love any excuse to use coconut in a recipe :D so this is a no-brainer for me. Looks absolutely delectable.

  14. This looks delicious. Right now I am busy using up summer produce, but once there is no fruit left to bake with, I absolutely have to make these. Also, I was thinking nutella might work to make a different variation. My cousin in Italy once made a cake iced with nutella and garnished with coconut that was to-die-for.


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