I have mentioned before that I’m not too fond of coconut in baked goods. Yet I have noticed a fair amount of coconut recipes here in my blog. I’m not counting the coconut milk ones however because I adore coconut milk and would happily eat it straight form the can day in and day out if it wouldn’t leave me weighing as much as a semi. Yet I said something about not caring for coconut in this post for Chewy Coconut Lime Cookies and I used coconut here in these Oatmeal Coconut Raspberry Bars . I sure whine a lot about not liking it and then use it anyway. In my defense though, the ones with real coconut in them have it on top, not IN it. Coconut inside a baked good, I have said before, has, to me, the same appeal as finding a hair in my food.
Moving on… remember this Caramel Sauce that we made a few weeks ago? What do you mean, you never got around to making it!? Sigh. What am I going to do with you people? Now before you can get to making these amazing cookie bars, you have to make the caramel. If you had listened to me weeks ago, you would be all set for baking. But noooo…. nobody listens to Zathras! Bonus points if you know (without googling) where that line came from.
Well, that caramel sauce you forgot to make is being put to use today. A very very good, very rich very “omg, I want 16 of these right now” sort of use. My step daughter, who is visiting, said they exert a gravitational pull on her and she can’t stay away from the pan. I found the basic recipe for these on about.com. I really didn’t change much though any of you who have read this for a while know I can’t not change SOMETHING, usually something that makes recipes more caloric, higher in fat and working towards getting voted “Most Likely To Clog Your Arteries In One Bite”. So what did I change? I used home made caramel sauce… you know, the one you forgot to make *sticks my nose in the air and looks snotty* instead of jarred, I doubled the amount of coconut flavoring because the original amount was chintzy, I kinda, maybe, could have, might of, quadrupled (or more) the amount of chocolate chips, double the amount of the caramel sauce and used about an extra half cup of shredded coconut. WHAT!? Don’t judge me. It had to be done. It was a moral imperative!
These are like Girl Scout Samoa Cookies (or whatever they are called now) on steroids. They are way more…well…everything, including tasty. My husband is a major fan of Samoa cookies and I think this means I will be making these often. I have to admit it, I loved them too. They are rich and gooey…boy, are they gooey. Plus they have one heck of a dose of chocolate and the home made caramel sauce is awesome in these.
So git to cooking… though now you have to make the caramel sauce first, you doofus. Then come back and tell me how wonderful I am to have shared this recipe with you. I can take the heavy praise if you need to give it out. Don’t overcook these or the crust will get too crispy.
Coconut Caramel Cookie Bars AKA Samoa Wanna Be Cookie Bars
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
- 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon coconut flavoring (in the same aisle as the vanilla extract)
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups quick cooking oats (not instant)
- 2 cups chocolate chips plus another 1/2 cup for the top of the bars
- 1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
- Â 1 cup caramel sauce (preferably home made)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13×9 inch pan with foil and butter well or spray with cooking spray.
- Spread the coconut on a cookie sheet and toast until lightly browned, stirring every few minutes. Watch carefully; coconut can go from pale to burntÂ very quickly. When it’s done, set aside.
- Place the softened butter and the brown sugar in a large bowl and beat well, until relatively light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla, coconut flavoring and egg. beat well.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, oats, 2 cups chocolate chips, baking soda and salt. Stir to combine then add into the wet ingredients. Stir well to combine.
- Press the mixture into the bottom of the foil lined pan. Top with the extreme abundance of caramel sauce, then the shredded coconut. Top this with the extra 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.
- Bake at 350 until the bars are just barely set. The middle shouldn’t wiggle but should just feel barely firm when pressed. Don’t press too hard because molten caramel on your fingertip hurts. Don’t ask how I know this please.
- Let cool for about 15 minutes in the pan, then use the foil to lift the bars out of the pan to finish cooling on a rack. If they start to collapse onto themselves when you lift, let cool for a while longer.