coconut titlewp Coconut Milk Bars

Can we have a heart to heart? Please! Good. Thanks! It’s about this recipe.

Happy Accidents should be the name of these Coconut Milk Bars.

You see, it all started out so beautiful and promising – with sugar and butter and coconut, I was on my way to making what would have been the sweetest, silkiest coconut truffles. I had a couple of hours to myself thus I thought I should use up that time and experiment in the kitchen.

Half way through my experimentation, I knew I was not going to see the results that I wanted. Eh, I thought, let’s just keep going. And going, and going, and… I kept whisking, and whisking some more, but I could not get the milk mixture to solidify. Seriously! I was not prepared for this! Argh!

coconut 4wp Coconut Milk Bars

I walked away from the kitchen for about 20 minutes – had to take care of my Pinterest fix – and when I came back, a remedy for my failed attempt came to mind. If you can’t roll it, spread it! Ahem… I’m talking about the milk mixture.

And just like that these super-sweet Coconut Milk Bars were born.

Here is how it goes it: You make a simple syrup, boil it, and let it boil – – and then you dump a stick of butter in there. You melt the butter and whisk in powdered milk. You continue to whisk until your arm falls off. Then you spread that over this amazing brown butter crust, dress it up with lots of shredded coconut, and bam! Coconut Milk Bars in your hand. Happy Accidents.

coconut 2wp Coconut Milk Bars

Thanks for listening. icon smile Coconut Milk Bars

By the way, did you need a use for that huge jug of powdered milk? Cause if you did, this is where you should use it. Totally.


Coconut Milk Bars
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Moist, gooey, super sweet Coconut Milk Bars made with milk, shredded coconut, and a sprinkle of hazelnuts.
Serves: Makes 16 Bars
For the Milk Mixture
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 stick butter, cut into 6 cubes
  • 3 cups powdered milk
  • 2 cups shredded coconut, divided
  • ½ cup hazelnuts, chopped
For the Crust
  • 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Milk Mixture
  1. Pour water and sugar in a large sauce pan and bring to a boil; continue to boil for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and add in butter; stir until melted.
  3. Gradually pour in the powdered milk while continuously whisking until thickened and smooth.
  4. Let sit in cool temperature for 2 hours, or until completely cooled and thick, but spreadable.
  5. In the meantime prepare the crust.
For the Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Grease a 9x9-inch baking pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper with baking spray and set aside.
  3. In medium-sized bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a separate large bowl, with a mixer beat together brown sugar, butter, oil, egg and vanilla until smooth.
  5. Stir in the flour mixture and mix until well blended.
  6. Take about ⅔ of the dough to the prepared pan and press the dough down onto the bottom of the pan in an even layer.
  7. Spread 1 cup of the shredded coconut on top of the dough.
  8. Put the pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and spread the cooled milk mixture over the baked crust.
  10. Sprinkle the rest of the dough over the milk mixture.
  11. Evenly sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts and layer the rest of the shredded coconut.
  12. Put back in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until puffed up and golden brown
  13. Cool completely before cutting into bars.
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35 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Sally November 24, 2014 at 9:55 AM - Reply

    When I put the 3 cups of powdered milk into what little simple syrup I had after boiling for 15 minutes. I couldnt even stir it. It looked like dry cake mix. Seriously. I had to add at least 1/2 of milk back to the mixture for it to even looked “spreadable”. I hope it turns out. What did I do wrong?

  2. Karolyn December 15, 2013 at 1:48 PM - Reply

    No vanilla? I can’t help but think these would be even better with vanilla extract.

  3. Angie@Angie's Recipes September 5, 2013 at 12:18 PM - Reply

    This would be a hit in our house too. Love the milky coconuty filling!

  4. Alison Lewis May 4, 2013 at 3:00 PM - Reply

    omg love these

  5. Jaime March 9, 2013 at 3:49 PM - Reply

    Do these need to be refrigerated if not cutting right away? Also, when doing the milk mixture it came out like taffy. Hopefully, it will taste awesome!

    • Katerina Petrovska March 9, 2013 at 7:29 PM - Reply

      Hi Jaime! You can either refrigerate it or just keep it in a cool place after it has completely cooled. You should also cover it.
      Let me know how it turns out!

  6. amcken3 February 26, 2013 at 12:48 AM - Reply

    Canola oil =(

    • Katerina Petrovska February 26, 2013 at 8:43 AM - Reply

      You can use coconut oil, if that’s what you prefer.

    • Jaime March 9, 2013 at 3:48 PM - Reply

      Do these need to be refrigerated if not cutting right away? Also, when doing the milk mixture it came out like taffy. Hopefully, it will taste awesome!

  7. Kate February 25, 2013 at 4:30 PM - Reply

    Hi Katerina! Well i`m here to appreciate your great job. It`s really delicious and simple to bake. I`m a true fan of coconut & milk : ) The recipe is just great!

  8. Liz February 24, 2013 at 8:35 PM - Reply

    How come my flops in the kitchen don’t turn into delicious bars???? These look amazing, Kate!!!

  9. Jennifer February 24, 2013 at 5:49 PM - Reply

    Were you using just the milk powder, or had you combined it with milk? I tried this and I had quite a bit of trouble with it. Did you use sweetened coconut or unsweetened? I tried with unsweetened, and the whole thing was a little dry.

    • Katerina Petrovska February 24, 2013 at 5:53 PM - Reply

      Hi Jennifer! I did not use milk… only the simple syrup, and I added the milk powder to that. I should have indicated sweetened shredded coconut. Where did you have trouble?

  10. Melissa@EyesBigger February 22, 2013 at 8:32 PM - Reply

    I am a sucker for anything with coconut in it so these are totally going on my list. I think I’ll toast the coconut first – gets it even sweeter! Thanks goodness for happy accidents!

  11. Nami | Just One Cookbook February 22, 2013 at 2:50 PM - Reply

    I’ve been dreaming about this Kate, since I saw the picture. As a coconut lover, this is WONDERFUL! Your picture is amazing… it looks so real, and I feel like I can grab it from the screen. Hope you have a fantastic weekend!

  12. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious February 21, 2013 at 3:50 PM - Reply

    Amazing! I can’t believe these were through a “happy accident.” I totally need to make these myself, although I won’t be able to stop myself from eating every last one of these!

  13. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts February 21, 2013 at 2:27 PM - Reply

    What a great accident! Love when mistakes actually turn into something amazing!

  14. Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen February 21, 2013 at 2:24 PM - Reply

    What a save, Kate! You are my hero. Recipe development almost got the better of me early this week…twice. Nearly gave up. But, had a craving…went right back in the kitch and got busy on a new recipe that begged developing. (My craving.) It was kismet! (Recipe posted today.) “Keep on keeping on” seems to be the motto this week for woman who view failure as not an option! xo

  15. Jean (Lemons & Anchovies) February 21, 2013 at 9:53 AM - Reply

    Great save on the recipe–I actually like the sound of these better than the truffles. These bars were meant to happen. :)

  16. Ramona February 21, 2013 at 6:40 AM - Reply

    I am all for happy accidents. I don’t bake that much so all my baking is basically put in the oven with a prayer. I love when prayers get answered. :) This looks scrumptious. :)

  17. Terra Baltosiewich (@CafeTerraBlog) February 20, 2013 at 11:03 PM - Reply

    I love happy accidents!!! I had one once, I was supposed to have muffins, and had crumble instead. So made a parfait, was awesome! I am LOVING your delicious and yummy happy accident:-) Hugs, TerraTerra

  18. Valerie February 20, 2013 at 9:50 PM - Reply

    I would pick these silky, creamy bars over truffles any day! Hurray for accidents! :)

  19. Fabiola February 20, 2013 at 9:32 PM - Reply

    This looks great! Thanks…

    It’s necessary 1 stick of butter, or could be only a half?



    Greetings from mexico

  20. Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef February 20, 2013 at 8:40 PM - Reply

    oh man, these look amazing! will have to try asap :)

  21. Laura Dembowski (@piesandplots) February 20, 2013 at 7:46 PM - Reply

    These bars look like the happiest accident ever. I love hazelnuts and coconut. And now I have something to do with leftover powdered milk after I make Momofuku cookies. Can’t wait to try these!

  22. Meghan February 20, 2013 at 5:32 PM - Reply

    I love all things coconut and these look amazing! The filling looks perfect!

  23. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen February 20, 2013 at 4:04 PM - Reply

    I’m all about coconut lately, I just can’t seem to get enough!

  24. Laura (Tutti Dolci) February 20, 2013 at 2:47 PM - Reply

    These bars sound like the perfect happy accident to me! :)

  25. Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet February 20, 2013 at 2:20 PM - Reply

    I want a whole pan just for myself! Is that bad? LOVE coconut! These bars look so creamy and delish! Happy accidents in the kitchen are the best :)

  26. Paula @ Vintage Kitchen February 20, 2013 at 12:25 PM - Reply

    That milk mixture blew me away, it´s so unusual! How great that you find a way with it. It would´ve been a shame really not to post these!

  27. Becky February 20, 2013 at 9:53 AM - Reply

    I love coconut in anything and your bars are amazing, and all of that milk. Kitchen accidents can turn out to be the best, like your bars.

  28. kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts February 20, 2013 at 6:32 AM - Reply

    Your photos are lovely–these bars look delicious. 3 cups of powdered milk–holy cow! I bet your arm was tired. I need to buy bigger containers of powdered milk. I’m always shocked at the price of the little box, so when I use it in bread I tend to hoard it for the bread. But these look very yummy, so a bigger box is in order.

  29. Natasha February 20, 2013 at 5:48 AM - Reply

    Sometimes kitchen accidents are my favorite, especially when something awesome like this comes out of it. I love the browned, crispy edges and crust, and the filling looks wonderfully creamy!

  30. Averie @Averie Cooks February 20, 2013 at 5:35 AM - Reply

    I’ve made two things with coconut this week….these bars need to be the third. Stunning. Creamy, sweet, coconutty perfection!

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