25 Days of Holiday Recipes: Coconut Layer Bars

Over the years, I’ve been collecting recipes from friends and family when I was especially interested in recreating something yummy that appeared on a table.

Coconut layer bars are one of those recipes — whenever they are brought to a church potluck or cookie walk, they just disappear. I’ve been holding onto this precious recipe for years and now I find that they are one of the easiest desserts to make that I’ve ever done.

You just have to get past the butter swimming in the bottom of your Pyrex pan and focus on the outcome. Gooey chocolate and crunchy coconut combined with the salty pleasure of the pecans.

Dessert doesn’t get much better than this.


Coconut Layer Bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 30 small bars

Coconut Layer Bars


  • 1 1/2 c butter or margarine
  • 2 c vanilla wafer crumbs or flour
  • 1 c chocolate or toffee pieces
  • 1/2 c chopped nuts
  • 1 c coconut flakes
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk


Melt butter in baking dish. I created the Stonehenge of butter since I don't think I have ever used this much better in a recipe and wanted to memorialize the moment.

Layer wafer crumbs, chocolate pieces, nuts and coconut over butter.

One box of vanilla wafers makes a little less than four cups of cookie crumbs. I roll them out in the bag using a wooden rolling pin -- it makes less crumbs on your cooking surface.

Since the recipe says you can use either cookies or flour, I combined the two together because I was making two pans.

Add the candy pieces -- I used a combination of semi-sweet chips and toffee bits.

Add the nuts. I used pecans because they have a sweet/salty taste that works well with the other ingredients.

Add the coconut.

Pour condensed milk over all the layers.

Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes. They firm up while cooling, so let them cool completely before cutting into bars.


This whole recipe got started because I had some leftover coconut in the fridge that I wanted to use up. Check the bag to see how much you need — I should have, because now I have another unused bag in the fridge.

I guess I’ll have to make these again! Darn.

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