Pineapple Coconut Bars are very summery and tropical! With traditional shortbread crust to support the thick pineapple-coconut filling, it’s like your favorite beach cocktail, in dessert-bar form.
Pineapple and coconut are two winning flavors, whether you enjoy them apart or together. In this easy bar cookie recipe, I’m combining the two to make the ultimate twist on old-fashioned lemon bars. These sweet little bites will bring a taste of the tropics right to your kitchen, no matter where you are!
So bring me two… of these gooey, decadent pineapple coconut bars. Yes, they’re that good – everyone will be asking for seconds, if not singing for them. In fact, you may want to double the recipe – to share, or to save for another time!
The Ingredients You’ll Need
One of the keys to making this recipe a success? Using well-drained pineapple. Draining the pineapple thoroughly ensures that the filling won’t be watery. But feel free to reserve the pineapple juices for another use!
- Butter: The butter for the crust should be at room temperature.
- Sugar: Just a little bit, to sweeten the crust and give it a real shortbread flavor.
- Flour: I used regular all-purpose flour. A gluten-free 1:1 blend would probably also work fine, although the texture might vary a little.
- Sweetened, Shredded Coconut: For texture and flavor.
- Kosher Salt
- Pineapple: I used canned, crushed pineapple.
- Sweetened, Shredded Coconut: The same kind as in the crust – you’ll need about one cup for the filling mixture.
- Brown Sugar: Dark brown sugar or light brown sugar, either is fine.
- Eggs: Large, whole eggs help the filling set and give it some richness.
- Flour: Flour also helps the filling set. I recommend all-purpose flour, or if you’re going for a gluten-free dish, try using cornstarch or arrowroot powder, instead.
- Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract gives the best flavor.
- Sweetened, Shredded Coconut: Yep, the same as in the crust and the filling. It’s just so good!
Is Shredded Coconut Usually Sweetened?
The coconut used in many baking recipes, including this one, is usually sweetened. However, if you have (or would prefer to use) unsweetened shredded coconut, that will work too. It may be slightly more dry than sweetened coconut, and you may find that you need to up the amount of sugar a little bit. It’s definitely up to you, though!
How to Make Them, Step by Step
There are basically two components here: the crust, and the filling. Much like making lemon squares, you will make and pre-bake the crust, and then add the moist, flavorful filling on top. Here are the steps:
- Prepare the Oven and the Baking Dish. To begin, set your oven to preheat to 350°F. Next, grab a square 9×9 baking dish, and line it with parchment paper. Set it aside for now.
- Make the Crust. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all of the crust ingredients, and mix them on medium speed to make a smooth dough. At first, this mixture will look very dry and crumbly, but no worries – it will eventually come together. This can take around 3 – 5 minutes.
- Bake the Crust. Press the crust dough into your prepared baking pan, spreading it evenly across the bottom but not up the sides. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the crust is just starting to turn light brown around the edges. Take it out of the oven, and set it aside.
- Make the Filling. To make the filling, dump all of the filling ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl, and stir to combine. (If you’re worried about lumps from the flour, you can sift it over the other ingredients after mixing them, and then give the filling a final stir or whisk to blend it in well.) Pour the filling on top of the par-baked crust, and sprinkle the final half-cup of shredded coconut over the top of the filling.
- Bake the Bars. Return the baking dish to the oven, this time for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the filling is set and the top is lightly browned.
- Enjoy! Let the bars cool before cutting with a sharp knife and serving.
Before you start baking, hang on a second! There are a few helpful tips and tricks I’d like to share, to make sure your pineapple coconut bars are the best they can be. Read on, and enjoy!
- Draining the Pineapple: I used crushed pineapple in 100% natural juice, and drained it and pressed it in a colander to make sure it was very dry. You could also put the pineapple in a cheesecloth and squeeze it well.
- Brown Sugar: I like dark brown sugar for the filling, because it gives a deeper caramelized flavor to the pineapple filling.
- Control the Sweetness: You can cut down the sugar in the filling to ½ cup, if you prefer a slightly less sweet dish.
- Extract Options: If you want more coconut flavor, you can substitute coconut extract for the vanilla extract.
These bars should be refrigerated for the best results, and will keep for about one week in the fridge in an airtight container.
Can I Freeze Pineapple Coconut Bars?
Definitely! Just wrap the cooled bars in plastic wrap, and then store in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to four months. Thaw before serving.
Pineapple Coconut Bars
For the Crust:
- ½ cup 1 stick butter, room temperature
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sweetened, shredded coconut
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
For the Filling:
- 1 20 oz can crushed pineapple, well-drained
- 1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Topping:
- ½ cup sweetened, shredded coconut
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper, set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add all the crust ingredients and mix on medium speed until it combines into a smooth dough. At first, this mixture will look very dry and crumbly. It will eventually come together but may take 3-5 minutes.
- Press the dough into the prepared baking pan and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the crust is just lightly starting to brown around the edges and looks set up. Remove from the oven while you prepare the filling.
- Add all the filling ingredients to a medium-sized mixing bowl and stir to combine. Pour filling on top of the cooked crust and sprinkle the top with the ½ cup shredded coconut.
- Add to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the filling is set and the top is lightly browned.
More Easy Dessert Bars
- Banana Pudding Bars
- Easy Nanaimo Bars
- Cake Mix Cookie Bars
- Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars
- Best Pumpkin Bars
- No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
- Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars
- Millionaire’s Shortbread
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