black bottom coconut-graham bars


Ever try a recipe and it just does not come out? And you think, hmmm, that's weird, it's from a trusted source. I ran into that with the martha stewart black bottom coconut bars (I added in a layer of graham for texture and flavor--quite good actually).
If you read through my cook notes you'll see where the errors were. Don't get me wrong, I do love martha stewart recipes, and always will; I guess every once in a while it happens.
Of course you don't have to add in the layer of graham, I did solely for the reason of wanting to have some graham with my coconut. Graham and coconut, what a great pair.
I might try this again with a layer of marshmallow. Now that's a a trinity: coconut, graham and marshmallow.





black bottom coconut-graham bars
recipe base adapted from Martha Stewart
print recipe

chocolate base:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)

graham center: (I added this in, optional but wonderful)
3/4 cup crushed graham crackers, (I like rough chop, not powder, to keep it crunchy)
4 ounces melted butter

coconut topping:
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar (I used ½ cup)
1/2 ts vanilla extract (I used almond extract)
1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 package sweetened shredded coconut (7 ounces), 1/2 cup reserved for sprinkling

Cook notes:
The original recipe does not call for a graham center. I wanted to add this in for a nice crunch effect. Up to you if you want to add it in—it does lend a nice flavor and texture.
Also, I ran into a problem with Martha’s original recipe. In Martha’s recipe, it says to pre-bake the chocolate base for 10-15 minutes; I only prebaked it for 7 minutes. On the first batch, I did the 10-15 minutes, it was way too long/much and it ended up being overdone when I had to bake it again. So I highly suggest only prebaking for 5-7 minutes or not even prebaking it at all. The chocolate base is VERY THIN. Maybe if you double the base ingredients, then prebaking would come out fine. Also the original recipe says it makes 24 bars? From an 8-9 inch pan? I only got about 12.

For chocolate base:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving a slight overhang; butter bottom and sides of foil (not overhang).
Place butter in a large microwave-safe bowl; melt in microwave. Add sugar and salt; whisk to combine. Whisk in egg, then cocoa and flour until smooth. Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake just until sides begin to pull away from edges of pan, 10 to 15 minutes (I only prebaked for 5-7 minutes). Let cool slightly while preparing coconut topping. Keep oven on for next sets of toppings.

For graham center:
Melt 4-5 ounces of butter, let cool a bit. Then mix with the ½ cup of crushed graham. Sprinkle this mixture over the chocolate base. Next move onto the coconut topping.

For coconut topping:
In a medium bowl, whisk eggs with sugar and vanilla. Gently mix in flour and coconut (except 1/2 cup reserved for sprinkling).
Drop mounds of mixture over chocolate base; spread and pat in gently and evenly with moistened fingers. Sprinkle with reserved 1/2 cup coconut.
Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes (mine was done at 22-23 minute mark). Cool completely in pan. Lift cake from pan, peel off foil, and cut into 24 bars (mine made 12 bars). Store in an airtight container 3 to 4 days.


  1. Every layer looks more mouth-watering than the next! I love layered bars. YUM!

  2. a trinity: coconut, graham and marshmallow <-- best trinity ever

    okay so much to say - yes, her recipes can be wrong (as can anyone') but what i think happens is she has so many recipes for say vanilla cupcakes, some are a batch size of 12, 18, or 24 and some have filling, things dropped in the center, etc. that there is one set of baking instructions and the editors or powers that be don't think logically that if you drop in x item into the center, it will take longer to bake. Or if you are baking 12 or 18 in an oven at one time, not 6, that will effect it all - case in point with your crust situation. They much have meant a 9x13 pan but even still the baking time would be off, but serving size correct. And I wouldn't have pre-baked for the record on that.

    Any way you factor it, these look amazing!! Every flavor is right there and on point. Love them!

  3. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  4. TOTALLY know what you're saying. Such a bummer though- especially when you have high hopes for the recipe. I love how you made this work- and the layer of graham is fanastic

  5. Ahh poor martha! I guess she can't get it right EVERY time. But that does sound like a holy trinity to me. (do it do it do it)

  6. Love your improved version! love me some coconut

  7. i've totally experienced that kind of thing with martha's recipes. i definitely agree with averie about the time/quantities thing. but these bars look awesome...i'm loving anything coconut these days!

  8. Bummer to go through the steps and not have it turn out quite right. Next time you will win.

  9. do you think unsweetened coconut would work? that is what i tend to have in the kitchen.

    love your version of the trinity :)

    1. i don't see why not?
      might be even better actually.
      let me know how it turns out.

  10. Loving all this coconut goodness. I can see myself very easily devouring an entire batch of these!

  11. I'm on a coconut kick right now so those look luscious!

  12. ooh, yum!! but i dislike recipes that don't turn out right... even when they are from martha ;)

  13. coconut, graham crackers, and marshmallows--be still, my heart! do it! i can't think of any finer combination!

  14. Why oh why do I come here when I am craving dessert. I would give anything for one of these babies right now. You rock Dawn & I really REALLY wish you were my neighbor!!!!

  15. I have just tried this recipe with rice crispies instead of graham crackers - cant wait untill it comes out the oven!


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