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April 06, 2011

German Chocolate Bars | Pecan & Coconut Cookie Bar with Brownie Bites | Dad's Birthday Package

German Chocolate Bars for my Dad's Birthday

German Chocolate Bars | Pecan, Coconut & Chocolate Bars

My Dad loves anything chocolate - his favorite being German Chocolate Cake.  The icing of German Chocolate Cake is a pecan and coconut caramel icing.  I decided to try to incorporate chocolate, pecan and coconut into a 'mail-able' cookie bar to send to him for his birthday.

I had some fudge brownies around the house (that I needed to get rid of before I finished them off!) so I used that to crumble into the bar, but I think I will use semi-sweet chocolate chips next time.  So, this recipe shows the chocolate chip version, but feel free to be creative and incorporate any sort of chocolate you have.

This recipe is based around The Barefoot Contessa's Pecan Bars.  I used her shortbread cookie crust and the caramel for the pecans, but added toasted coconut and chocolate.

Cream the butter and sugar.
Add egg.*
I was making a 1/3 batch... 1/3 of the pan.  The entire recipe calls for 3 eggs and makes 24 bars.
Add dry ingredients.  Don't over mix at this point - just combine.  You don't want to begin to develop the glutens in the flour... it will become bread-like.
Press into an ungreased pan.
This was my creative way of creating a smaller baking sheet... I wish I had my tart pans - they would have been perfect, but alas, they are in boxes!  One thing catering taught me : make due with what you have... be creative.

Bake for 15 minutes.
Topping :

Make caramel topping by melting butter, corn syrup and brown sugar together.
Cook for 3 minutes, remove from heat and add pecans...
I toasted half my coconut for 3 minutes to give it a little flavor.  I kept the other half untoasted for the moisture.
Add coconut to mixture.
Cookie crust is baked and ready for brownie crumbs (or chocolate chips - whatever you have!).
Crumble on brownies - maybe more than I've pictured for extra chocolate impact.
Top with pecan mixture.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top has set.
Let it cool in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.  Remove it from the pan with a spatula - easier than you think.  It comes right out - must be all of the butter in the crust...
Trim the edges for nice square bars... and for sampling of the edges.

Cut in half.
And into squares.
To package (for gifts), you'll need a roll of parchment paper and baking twine.  I save this red and white twine from some takeout baked goods...

Mike thought I was nuts.  "You're saving string?"  "Yes, I'm saving string - it is cute string."
Wrap it up like a package.

German Chocolate Bars | Recipe Card

Shortbread Cookie Crust*
*I love shortbread crusts, my mom's cheesecake uses this sort of crust instead of graham cracker - it is so good and more special than graham cracker.
1 1/4 pounds unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt 1 pound unsalted butter
1 cup corn syrup
3 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 pounds pecans, coarsely chopped
2 cups of coconut (toasted, if you like)
1 cup of chocolate chips

For the crust, combine sugar and butter in a mixer until light, about 3 minutes.  Add eggs and vanilla, combine.  Add flour, salt & baking powder - stir just until combined.

Press the dough into a baking sheet.  It helps to sort of make a raised edge around the sides.  Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

For the topping, melt butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Add honey and brown sugar.  Cook over low heat for 2-3 minutes, then raise the heat and cook for 2-3 more minutes, boiling.  Remove from heat, add pecans and coconut.

On the crust, sprinkled the chocolate chips.  Pour over the pecan topping, spreading evenly.   Bake for 25 minutes.  Let it set out, then cool in the refrigerator to make it easier to cut.  Cut it into large squares when it has cooled.


  1. i love how you reinvented an amazing cake into an even more amazing bar cookie, which is what i prefer anyway:)
    p.s. i totally save string, boxes and all sorts of "weird" things, it makes my husband nuts! they just don't understand our vision.

  2. These look great! I might go the graham cracker route, though...making crusts aren't my forte. :)

  3. Sarah2:29 AM

    Jenny did you use sweetened coconut? Thanks for your help.

  4. Hi Jenny I just wanted to give you a heads up that you refer to adding honey for the topping although you do not list it in the ingredients. I believe what you are referring to is the corn syrup. Also, you list salt as an ingredient for the topping however you instruct to put salt in the shortbread not the topping. Just thought I would let you know:)


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