These Praline Pecan Coconut Shortbread Bars are deliciously crispy and rich. The shortbread base is easy to put together in the food processor, and the topping comes together in one pan.
I was a little nervous about making the praline topping because it requires precise timing before removing it from the heat. Caramelizing ingredients without burning them can be pretty tricky. Caramel can go from tan to burned pretty quickly. I had a hard time deciding when the thick mixture was actually boiling, so I started the timing when the mixture was bubbling in the middle and it worked out perfectly.
I am a huge fan of shortbread, as evidenced by the 13 (now 14) shortbread recipes in my recipe index. It is so versatile and crumbly good. In this case, it makes a wonderful base for this caramelized pecan and coconut praline topping.
Side note: I have an inordinate amount of ingredients in my house and I'm trying really hard to not buy new ones, especially if I already have the ones I need. Seriously. These days, once I've decided to make something, I make a shopping list, and then shop in my pantry and freezer first, because there's been some "ingredient creep" going on here (I once bought the cutest pair of pants, and when I went to put them in the closet, hanging there were the exact same pair).
I knew I had some coconut in the house from making these muffins, but I could not find it! During the search, I got totally sidetracked and consolidated nuts, seeds, and flours by type (and discovered I had three bags of rice flour). I finally found the coconut in the overfilled bin with all of the chocolate chips. Do you ever come home with ingredients that you didn't realize you already had?
Of course, I always know where the butter is.
To make these bars, you will need a heavy sauce pan and a 13 inch by 9 inch baking pan. I used a metal cake pan, but I think a quarter sheet pan or a glass casserole dish would be fine too.
This month the bakers from the #CreativeCookieExchange are making layered bars! After the recipe, you will find lots of delicious links to many more.
Praline Pecan Coconut Shortbread Bars
13 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch square pieces
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
8 1/2 ounces (2 cups) unbleached all purpose flour
6 ounces chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
3/4 cups unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp salt
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line a nine inch by 13 inch pan with foil, leaving an overhang on both 9 inch ends.
- In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt until pebbly and blended. Add about 2/3 of the flour and pulse until it comes together and "clumps" in the food processor. Add the rest of the flour and pulse about five more times. Turn the dough out onto the counter, and knead the flour into the dough.
- Press the dough evenly into the pan, from edge to edge. Bake for 18 to 23 minutes, until you see just a faint bit of color.
- Remove from the oven and set aside.
- In a 3 or 4 quart heavy sauce pan, add all of the topping ingredients, and heat on medium low, stirring constantly until the butter is completely melted and everything is mixed together.
- Turn the heat up to medium, and bring it to a boil, continuing to stir. Once the mixture reaches boiling, boil it for two minutes.
- Remove the topping from the heat, and spread it evenly over the warm shortbread.
- Place the pan back into the oven, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until bubbly.
- Cool in the pan completely. When cool, lift the ends of the foil and place on a cutting board. With a large chef's knife, cut the slab in half, through the foil. Peel the foil off of the bottom of the cookie slabs, and then cut each half into 16 pieces.
- Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks. They also can be frozen.
Makes 32 bars. Adapted from the amazing Simply Sensational Cookies by Nancy Baggett.
The theme this month is Layered Bar Cookies--if you like crispy, crunchy, chewy, creamy or gooey layers packed into one cookie you have come to the right place!! If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links. You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes--be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of our bloggers have made this month:
- Caramel Swirled Cheesecake Bars from The Spiced Life
- Hawaiian Layer Bars from Food Lust People Love
- Praline Pecan Coconut Shortbread Bars from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Cookie Dough Brownie and Cheesecake Bars from Spiceroots
- Club Chocolate Peanut Butter Layered Bars from Our Good Life
- Nanaimo Bars from A Shaggy Dough Story
- Gooey Pumpkin Cookie Bars from Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks
- Magic Peanut Butter S'mores Cookie Bars from Rhubarb and Honey
- Double chocolate caramel squares from Flours and Frostings
- Caramel Apple Bar Cookies from 2CookinMamas
- Churros Cheesecake Bars from A Baker's House