2/6/12

toasted coconut-cream cheese bars

toasted coconut cream cheese bars 10

Remember as a kid when you made your first batch of chocolate chip cookies from scratch? How hard you worked and how amazing they tasted? Then remember when you found out you could make them into bar form? How cool and fancy that sounded to make them into bar form? Oh I sure do. Then I finally figured out the bar form is a lot easier; just throw it in a pan, no scooping or forming. Then came the add in's, the chopped up candy bars, nuts, etc...and you still thought how cool is that? Thinking I'm going to add in something that nobody else has ever added in before? Then you found out everyone was actually adding in peanut butter cups all the time, and you were so bummed.
These coconut bars reminded me of those past days. Long ago I did a cookie post (coconut cream cheese cookies) about 2 years ago, that is still, today, one of the most searched for recipes via google. It's kind of nice knowing there are that many coconut lovers out there. I've always wanted to re-create those cookies somehow, someway, and only came up with these bars. Not exactly the same recipe, this one is more of a crispy crumb cake with a cookie taste. Just as good though.
Lately I've been craving coconut; I do almost every winter.
Curious as to what is in coconut that my body craves, I did a little research and found a coconut research center. LOL How very cool. It seems legit; I did do some fact-checking to confirm their sayings. Apparently coconut is very useful for almost all things related to healthy gut, kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, gum disease and cavities, pneumonia, and gonorrhea, and other diseases. Helps in the absorption of calcium and magnesium, is good for utilizing the blood glucose...the list goes on and on. Read here for all the facts.

toasted coconut cream cheese bars 2

toasted coconut cream cheese bars 3

toasted coconut cream cheese bars 4

And for those of you who (like me) love real coconut to nosh on. Try these little gems. Inside are real pieces of coconut, not processed. Dipped in dark chocolate. Really good. I found them at my local natural health food store. I think Whole Foods carries them too.

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toasted coconut-cream cheese bars
print recipe

dough:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup (or more if desired) shredded coconut (not toasted)
½ ts sea salt
1 large egg
1 ts pure vanilla extract

cream cheese filling
8 ounces cream cheese, room temp
1 large egg yolk
½ cup toasted coconut
Pinch of salt

Cook notes: This bakes up very fast, so please check it at the 30 minute mark. These are very crispy bars. I’ve said that you need half the dough for the bottom and the other half for the top (crumb topping) but you may need a little more dough for the bottom than just half. It might be a nice addition to add some toasted pecans or walnuts to the cream cheese mixture.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease up a 8 or 9-inch square baking pan with butter. If you feel safer using parchment paper, then go ahead and butter up your pan then line with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl mix the cream cheese, egg yolk, toasted coconut and salt until well combined; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt.
With a pastry cutter, fork or your hands, cut up butter and mix in with the flour mixture until you have large coarse-like crumbs. No need to over work.
In a small bowl, beat the egg and vanilla extract. Add this into the flour mixture and mix until it all just comes together.
Divide dough in half. Take one half and place in pan. Wet your fingers to smooth out the dough and make sure to get all the corners.
Take the cream cheese mixture and place over the dough. Keep the cream cheese mixture at least ½ inch away from the edges; this way nothing will seep out as it bakes.

Take the other half of the dough and crumble on the top, do not pat down. Just crumble as you would a crumb cake. Take the untoasted coconut and sprinkle over top (optional but wonderful).
Bake until topping is deep golden brown; which should be about 30 - 45 minutes.
Let cool completely in pan. Run a sharp knife around edges to help loosen it up. Then using a spatula to help you lift it out, place on cutting board and finish slicing.
Should make about 10-12 small bars.

31 comments:

  1. I seriously adore coconut! Every recipe its in reminds me of vacation! This is totally vacation in a bar! Heart

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  2. This recipe is like a dream. I need these right now. My hubby loves coconut and I may just have to make these for him for V-day. Thanks!

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  3. Nex to lemon coconut is by far mt favourite ingredient!

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  4. Where did you get the dark choc coconut? Looks good!

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  5. Love these! I adore anything with coconut, but if it's got cream cheese, too, it's doubly awesome.

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  6. holy moly, this is a dream bar for me...the coconut, the CREAM CHEESE, the multiple layers with differing textures. And all in bar form, i.e. easier usually than making cookies, one by one. I am a slap it a pan kinda girl whenever possible :)

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  7. Wow, do these ever look delicious!! I love the taste (and smell) of toasted coconut :) this is a stunning recipe, one that I must try soon!!

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  8. So what you're saying is that if I eat more of these bars, I'll live forever? I'm okay with that.

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  9. Coconut and cream cheese?? How did you read my mind. Oh lord, can I make them and eat the whole batch myself....

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  10. Oh, those look so scrumptious and tempting! I am such a sucker for bars.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  11. Waw! Gobsmacked here!

    Those toasted cream-cheese & coconut bars look like the real thing: Beautiful, grand & truly appetizing too!

    So easy to make as well! ;)

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  12. Oh well. I KNEW I shouldn't have clicked on Vanilla Sugar today. I am TRYING to take off some bad pounds I put on over Christmas. Bad me.
    The kids are coming the end of the month...hope these freeze. (Who am I kidding?)

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  13. yummy!! and that chocolate covered coconut sounds awesome!

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  14. My sister-in-law love coconut and cream cheese, and her birthday is this week. I am sure she will jump for joy when I make them for her!

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  15. I love coconut. And I kind of want to add chocolate chips to these? Is that wrong? In my head it tastes like a macaroon but better!

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  16. I know, you made these for me! I love love love coconut. Add cream cheese? Fabulous!

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  17. oh my heavens, i do love my coconut. these sounds like they're you're ticket to my heart ;) ha. must be plagued by the v-day chatter i hate. but seriously these are getting made someday soon!

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  18. Delicious and really pretty! What a unique idea.

    xox

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  19. Ho quelle délicieuse gourmandise
    Je te souhaite une bonne journée, chez moi c'est sus la neige avec -9°C
    Valérie.

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  20. Why oh why aren't you my neighbor? They look so amazing... wish I had one right now.

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  21. Great blog, I love your recipes and post!
    I´m your new follower.
    I invite you to visit my blog, I hope you enjoy it.
    I have a google traslator, so you can read without problems!
    Kisses from Spain ^^
    http://janakitchen.blogspot.com

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  22. i, for one, wouldn't mind working with coconut all day every day. these bars are magnificent, dawn, from top to bottom!

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  23. First off you are killing me with these scrumptious looking bars, then you have to throw in the coconut candy! Now I am on a hunt for that candy!!

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  24. I found my self staring at the photos cant help it :)
    all spice with coconut is the best :)

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  25. oh my!! these are going to the top of my to-make list!

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  26. Oooh now they look good! Coconut AND cream cheese - I'm there!

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  27. I'm all about bar cookies! These look sooo good :)

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  28. Personally, I find coconut a little challenging. Like the flavor but don't enjoy the texture. But both my parents are HUGE coconut lovers, my dad especially. His birthday is later this month and I'm always looking for special things to make for him. Thanks, as always, for the inspiration.

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  29. This looks absolutely incredible! I must, MUST try it!!

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  30. I am liking the sound of the cream cheese and coconut combo!

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  31. Really love this recipe!!!! I will make this again!!!

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