These Chewy Caramel Coconut Bars, my friends, are an insanely addictive combination of – shortbread, caramel, coconut and chocolate (aka just a few of my favourite things).

In fact, if you’re in the US, you may think they look something akin to homemade samoa, and if you’ve never heard of those read on.

A stack of 3 caramel coconut bars on a piece of baking paper with a glass of coconut in the background

What are samoa cookies?

For those of us not in the know, samoa Cookies are a very popular and seasonal US girl guide cookie. They are basically a round cookie, with a hole in the centre, topped with coconut and caramel, then dunked and drizzled in chocolate.

While, I didn’t set out to recreate a samoa cookie, it is a very happy accident because these things taste so, so good. These ones are also available any time of year so no need to stockpile samoa cookies to get your fix at any time.

What are Chewy Caramel Coconut Bars?

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

Wait a 3 ingredient shortbread? Yes, because when a craving hits (and it will) you want them made quickly, with ingredients you have on hand. Call me an enabler – meh.

That shortbread is simple and buttery and all the vehicle required for the gooey, chewy caramel coconut topping.

A group of caramel coconut bars, drizzled with chocolate on a piece of baking paper

How to make Chewy Caramel Coconut Bars

And indeed, how to make homemade samoas.

  1. The shortbread base is 3 ingredients beaten together until the dough starts to clump. I like to use a stand mixer for ease.
  2. The shortbread dough is pressed into an 8×8 inch square baking tin and baked for 25 minutes until starting to turn golden.
  3. To make the easy caramel just take store-bought wrapped chewy caramels and dissolve them together with a little cream over low heat. Don’t let it boil and keep stirring until you have a smooth caramel sauce.
  4. Stir through a little salt then mix the caramel with shredded coconut.
  5. Pile this all on top of the baked shortbread and spread it out then drizzle with melted chocolate.

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.
  • 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.

A group of caramel coconut bars, drizzled with chocolate on a piece of baking paper

Can you freeze these coconut bars?

Yes, these can be successfully frozen then defrosted at will.

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 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.

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2 caramel coconut bars stacked on a piece of baking paper.

What are you waiting for? Chewy Caramel Coconut Bars are gooey, sweet and super scrumptious and I don’t know about you, but I can never say no to a treat I can freeze ready for when a craving hits.

Other recipes you might like

A group of caramel coconut bars, drizzled with chocolate on a piece of baking paper

Chewy Caramel Coconut Bars

5 from 3 votes
This simple recipe for Chewy Caramel Coconut Bars, similar to homemade samoas, are a
shortbread cookie bar topped with easy caramel, shredded coconut and a drizzle
of chocolate. Only 7 ingredients and highly addictive.

Ingredients

FOR THE EASY SHORTBREAD BASE

  • 113 g unsalted butter, softened (½ cup / 1 stick)
  • 50 g caster (superfine) sugar (¼ cup / 1.8oz)
  • 130 g plain (all purp) flour (1 cup / 4.6oz)

FOR THE CARAMEL COCONUT

  • 250 g store-bought chewy caramels (notes, 8.8oz)
  • cup thickened (heavy) cream
  • 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • 50 g chocolate, melted

Equipment

  • An 8x8 inch square baking tin
  • I find a stand mixer easiest for mixing the dough

Instructions
 

FOR THE EASY SHORTBREAD BASE

  • Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / 160C fan forced. Line an 8 inch square baking tin with baking paper.
  • Place the butter, flour and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until it starts to clump.
  • Use your hands to press the shortbread mixture into an even layer over the base of the baking tin.
  • Bake for 25 minutes turning the tray at the halfway point so that it bakes evenly.
  • Allow it cool for 5 minutes before making the caramel coconut layer.

FOR THE CARAMEL COCONUT

  • Place the unwrapped caramels and cream in a saucepan over low heat. Heat, stirring until the caramels melt and the mixture is smooth.
  • Remove from heat and mix through the salt then stir through the coconut.
  • Let it cool for a couple of minutes then tip the caramel coconut mixture onto the shortbread.
  • Lightly wet your hands and press it out gently and evenly over the shortbread base. Place in the fridge for 1 hour to cool completely and set.
  • Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring well between each until just melted.
  • Cut the bars into 12 pieces and drizzle with the melted chocolate.
  • Place back in the fridge to set.

Video

Notes

  • I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (= 4 teaspoons worldwide)
  • 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).

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.
  • 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.
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Have you tried this recipe?Rate or comment below and let us know how it was!