These chewy coconut and caramel bars, my friends, are a wonderfully addictive combination of – shortbread, caramel, coconut and chocolate (aka just a few of my favourite things).

A little like Girl Scout samoa cookies in bar form, these delicious treats are 3 simple layers;

  1. 3 ingredient buttery shortbread base
  2. Easy caramel mixed with shredded coconut
  3. Chocolate drizzled over the top

These chewy caramel bars have the most amazing texture of crumbly shortbread base; the perfect vehicle for that super gooey and chewy topping. And they’re incredibly easy to throw together. Don’t skip the chocolate – it takes them to a whole other level.

Try this Biscoff millionaires slice too.

This recipe was first posted here on July 25th, 2019. It has been updated with more information and step by step photos.

Two coconut caramel bars stacked.

What are samoa cookies?

For those of us not in the know, samoa cookies are a very popular and seasonal US Girl Scout cookie. They are composed of a round shortbread cookie, with a hole in the centre, that’s topped with a caramel coconut mixture. The base is coated in chocolate and there’s a chocolate drizzle over the top.

While I didn’t originally set out to recreate a samoa cookie or variation of it, this was a very happy accident because these gooey caramel bars taste so, so good. Coconut and caramel are truly delicious when combined and that buttery shortbread base is the perfect vehicle. Plus, these are available all year round in any part of the world, so you can get your fix at any time.

Ingredients you’ll need

Ingredients for the caramel bars.

Jump to the recipe for full ingredients and instructions.

  • Butter: I use unsalted butter in this recipe. You can use salted though leave out the extra salt the recipe calls for.
  • Sugar: Just white granulated sugar for the shortbread cookie base. You can swap for light brown sugar if you want to continue the caramelly flavours.
  • Flour: You’ll need plain flour (aka all purpose flour) for the shortbread base too.
  • Chewy caramels: I use Werthers chewy caramels for this but Kraft caramels if you can get them will work too. In fact, if you don’t want to fork out for wrapped caramels, I give some tips on how to use store-bought caramel sauce or dulce de leche too.
  • Coconut: To get that chewy factor, use shredded coconut. It’s not as fine as desiccated coconut. Try to get unsweetened so that you aren’t adding excess sweetness.
  • Cream: You’ll need thickened cream / heavy cream.
  • Chocolate: Dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate is your best bet here for the best flavour.

Feel free to sprinkle some nuts over the top of the caramel coconut mixture too, to add a bit of crunch. Pecans, walnuts and cashews all work well.

How to make coconut caramel bars

Jump to the recipe for full ingredients and instructions.

Making the shortbread for the bars.
  1. The shortbread base is 3 ingredients simply blitzed together in a food processor (photo 1) until you have a clumping soft dough (photo 2). It’s that simple and takes all over 3 minutes.
  2. Press that shortbread dough into a lined 8×8 inch square baking tin (photos 3&4) and bake for 22-25 minutes until starting to turn golden brown on top.
Making the coconut caramel topping.
  1. To make the easy caramel just take store-bought wrapped chewy caramels and dissolve them together with a little cream over low heat (photo 5). Don’t let it boil and keep stirring until you have a smooth caramel sauce (photo 6). While it’s tempting to drink this stuff, it’s pretty hot at this point so hold off.
  2. Stir through a little salt then mix the caramel with shredded coconut (photos 7&8).
Pressing the caramel mixture into the pan.
  1. Pile this all on top of the baked shortbread and spread it out (photos 9&10) – I find lightly wetting your hands makes this easier and now that the coconut is all mixed in, the caramel mixture is much cooler.
  2. Drizzle with chocolate and chill them to set. I actually like drizzling the chocolate on mine after they’re sliced and if there are any caramels left, melt them with a dash of cream just like you did with the filling and drizzle that over too. You can never have too much caramel right?!

In the past, and in the video shown here, I would use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment for the shortbread dough, first beating softened butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, then gently mixing in the flour. You can choose either way, but the food processor is much quicker and produces a perfect shortbread base.

Tips and tricks

  • Crumble the shortbread dough over the base of your lined tin first to make it easier to spread out.
  • I use Werthers Chewy Caramels but Kraft Caramels will work too. They can be a little pricey and while these bars really are worth it, if you want to save a bit of money just mix 1 cup of caramel sauce or dulce de leche through the coconut, spread it over the shortbread, then bake a further 5-8 minutes.
  • Lightly wet your hands before spreading out the slightly cooled caramel so that it doesn’t stick.
  • Use a hot knife (warmed under hot water) to cut through the bars.
  • Not all chocolates melt the same: I love using Lindt chocolate as it melts so beautifully fluid and is easy to drizzle. If yours is quite thick when melted, transfer it to a squeezee bottle or a ziplock bag with the corner snipped off to drizzle it over instead.
12 coconut caramel bars drizzled with chocolate.


Once set, these coconut caramel bars can be stored in the pantry in an airtight container for 4-5 days (if they last that long). You can can keep them in the fridge for up to 1 week but let them come to room temperature before serving.


How do you keep melted caramel from hardening?

First, make sure you’re using Werthers chewy caramels and not the hard candy type. Once it cools it will firm up but won’t be hard.

Can you freeze these coconut bars?

Yes, these can be successfully frozen then defrosted at your next craving. Place the bars in an airtight container for up to 2-3 months in the freezer. These are best frozen in a single layer or with a piece of baking paper between each.

Can I make these coconut caramel bars no bake?

Sure thing. Just blitz together 250g digestive biscuits or graham crackers in a processor and mix through 100g of melted butter. Press this into the base of your lined tin. Now they’re only 6 ingredients and you don’t even have to turn on the oven.

Closeup of a caramel coconut bar.

Did you try this coconut caramel bars recipe?
Leaving a rating and comment below the recipe is so helpful!

Hungry for more? Subscribe to the newsletter for free recipes straight to your inbox. Also, follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

Top down view of 8 coconut caramel bars.
5 from 6 ratings
These chewy coconut caramel bars are a delicious mix of buttery shortbread topped with caramel, coconut and a little chocolate. They incredibly delicious.




  • 115 g unsalted butter, cold (½ cup / 1 stick / 4oz)
  • 50 g caster sugar (superfine sugar) (¼ cup / ~2oz)
  • 130 g plain flour (all purpose flour) (1 cup / 4 ½oz)


  • 255 g store-bought chewy caramels (I use Werthers chewy caramels) (9oz) (notes)
  • cup thickened cream (heavy cream) (80ml)
  • 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut (140g / 5oz)
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 50 g dark chocolate (semi sweet chocolate) (~ 2oz)

For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided




  • Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan forced) / 350F. Line an 8 inch square baking pan with baking paper.
  • Place the butter, flour and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process on the low setting until it starts forming large clumps
  • Transfer the shortbread dough to your prepared pan, then use your hands to press it out into an even layer over the base.
  • Bake for 22-25 minutes turning the tray at the halfway point so that it bakes evenly, until it turns golden brown on top.
  • Allow it cool for 5 minutes before making the caramel coconut layer.


  • Place the unwrapped caramels and cream in a medium saucepan over low heat. Heat, stirring until the caramels melt and the mixture is smooth.
  • Remove from heat and mix through the salt and coconut. Let it cool for just a minute or so.
  • Tip the mixture into the pan and gently press down into an even layer over the top of the shortbread crust. You can lightly wet your hands to help you press the caramel mixture out without it sticking.
  • Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour to cool completely and set.
  • In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring well between each until just melted.
  • Cut the bars into 16 pieces and drizzle with the melted chocolate. Place back in the fridge to set for another 10 minutes.
  • Please take a moment to leave a comment & rating. It's appreciated and so helpful.


  1. Tablespoons: I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (equal to 4 teaspoons). Check yours before measuring.
  2. For best results, you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
  3. Nutrition details are approximate only – scroll below the recipe to find the full nutritional information.

Tips and tricks

  • Crumble the shortbread dough over the base of your lined tin first to make it easier to spread out.
  • I use Werthers Chewy Caramels but Kraft Caramels will work too. If you want a more affordable option, you can use caramel sauce – see the notes in the post above.
  • Lightly wet your hands before spreading out the slightly cooled caramel so that it doesn’t stick.
  • Use a hot knife (warmed under hot water) to cut through the bars.
  • I like to use a squeeze bottle to drizzle over the melted chocolate.
  • Reserve just a couple of teaspoons of caramel to drizzle over the finished bars as well.
Have you tried this recipe?Don’t forget to leave a rating and comment below and let me know how it was! I love hearing from you. Nutrition information is approximate and derived from an online calculator. The brands you use may cause variations.
Nutrition Facts
Coconut Caramel Bars
Amount Per Serving (65 g)
Calories 266 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Fat 18g28%
Saturated Fat 13g81%
Trans Fat 0.2g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 22mg7%
Sodium 83mg4%
Potassium 135mg4%
Carbohydrates 26g9%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 15g17%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 260IU5%
Vitamin C 0.3mg0%
Calcium 34mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.