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Chocolate-Coconut Bars


These decadent bars are inspired by Hello Dollies, a popular Southern dessert.

Source: Everyday Food, June 2005
Total Time Prep Yield



Cook's Notes

Sweetened condensed milk is made by heating whole milk and sugar until much of the liquid has evaporated. Do not substitute evaporated milk, which is unsweetened.

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How would you rate this recipe?
  • HarrietGilkers
    19 DEC, 2018
    A co-worker talked about "magic Christmas bar" cookies which sounded like bar cookies my sweet Aunt Lydia use to make. When googling for a recipe, up popped MS's Chocolate-Coconut Bars recipe. It sounded like the what I remembered my Aunt's cookies to be. I didn't have cookie crumbs on hand in the house so I substituted crushed saltine crackers. Besides using a mixture of white, semi-sweet and caramel sea-salt chips, that was the only alteration I made to the recipe. The saltiness of the saltine crackers paired with the chocolate and coconut was really good. To be honest, I don't think I will use cookie or graham cracker crumbs in the recipe. Will stick with the saltine cracker substitute.
  • andersongregory
    14 DEC, 2018
  • usseryc
    17 MAR, 2018
    I was thrilled to find this recipe! We've been searching for a recipe my DH's mom used to make at Christmas when he was a child. After repeated attempts at various recipes by both his sister and myself, tonight the memory was partially recreated. When he walked in the door, he immediately recognized the smell, and later declared it to be "The Recipe". Thank you, thank you for posting it! It was a treasured moment to get to share with him a memory, enhanced by smell and taste, of sweet times spent with his Mom. The only change I made to the recipe was to back off somewhat on the sugar, using softened unsalted butter instead of melted, and we used dark chocolate chips instead of milk chocolate, which was, as another commented, a nice contrast to the super sweetness of this recipe. When I make it again, I will omit the sugar. The sweetened condensed milk provides plenty sweetness, the dessert is very rich, so I know that it won't be missed.
  • RazorbackGuy
    24 JUN, 2014
    For at least 30 years I've made a similar bar called a "Five-Layer Bar". The only difference? After the layer of chocolate chips, layer 1 cup of butterscotch chips. Then continue with the coconut and sweetened condensed milk and bake as directed. Super decadent! I always say you need a bowl of vanilla ice cream to act as a chaser after eating one of these bars! Super easy to make, it takes longer for them to cool than to actually whip them up!
  • Linda_kan2
    14 FEB, 2014
    I didn't have certain ingredients so I improvised for crust I used vanilla wafers and I didn't have chocolate so it used half butterscotch morsels and half white chocolate. I used almonds and pecans. It was delicious.. Thanks on my next attempt I will definitely use what it ask for....
  • Jonesfamilyof8
    14 JUL, 2013
    This was amazing! So simple, I just love Martha's stuff! I didn't have graham crackers so I used Ritz crackers and added an 1/8 C sugar to the crust, the buttery crisp cracker was a perfect substitute. I also didn't have enough nuts so I combined chopped almonds and chopped walnuts together. Again, I didn't have enough (1/2 C) so I added 1/2 C extra chocolate chips. With a few dashes of cinnamon to this recipe, it was Amazing!
  • MS12014586
    8 JUN, 2013
    I 'cheat' when I find recipes like this that have a crust that give trouble. I take a pre-made pie crust. Roll it out thinner, put into pan for bars. Pre-bake 10 minutes so they don't get soggy. Gives a pastry light crust and cuts very well.
  • Jessielee6285
    22 APR, 2013
    These were AMAZING. My boyfriend and I could not stop eating them! not only are they delicious but they are super easy to make! I recommend these 100 %
  • MS112584657
    20 MAR, 2013
    To make this a PERFECT Passover dessert, replace the cookie crumbs (strictly forbidden on this holiday) with the following: re-create a crust by breaking down pre-made or packaged macaroons in the food processor until they are chunky-crumbly, toasting them lightly, and combining them w/the sugar (a little less) and butter per the recipe. Fabulous.
  • VGFBaker
    28 JAN, 2013
    This is NOT the "Magic Cookie Bars" from the Eagle Brand Condensed Milk can -- it uses the same ingredients, but the proportions and directions are significantly different. Not everything made with the same ingredients is the same thing, as every baker knows.

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