These Sky-High Shortbread Macaroon Bars are made of a tender, buttery shortbread base, with layers of coconut macaroon and a coat of dark chocolate.
I’ve spoken about this in quite a few posts, but I’ll say it again: Food and family are always intertwined.
Take these Sky-High Shortbread Macaroon Bars. If I saw these in a store window, I’d be taken back to my years at home, carefully opening the white cardboard bakery box filled with sweets after dinner. In my family, it was always a wonderful treat when my Dad stopped by the local Scottish bakery, an incredibly unassuming little store that looked like a front business but was actually home to the most delicious British pastries.
Those white cardboard boxes had treats like empire cookies, shortbread biscuits or fern tarts. If you have lived your life without knowing what those are, I encourage you to look them up. They all get an A+ for tastiness.
Perhaps these bars that I’ve made here have a different name, but we always called them coconut squares in my house. A Google search for ‘Scottish coconut squares’ produced nothing but a few photos of true Scottish macaroon bars, which are basically chunks of pure sugar coated in chocolate and toasted coconut. Or, as my Dad would say, the sweetest thing you’ll ever eat.
No, these Shortbread Macaroon Bars are different. They’re sky-high versions of traditional small macaroon cookies. A homemade buttery and floury shortbread base is topped with layers of thick slab-like coconut, sweetened condensed milk, meringue, and vanilla. They’re gooey in just the right way—still sticky and macaroon-like, but they’re baked enough to hold together nicely so you aren’t pouring liquid coconut mixture in your mouth.
The baking time is slightly longer than most squares, but because they’re so thick they need the extra few minutes in the oven. Wait until they’re room temperature before dunking them diagonally into a bowl of melted dark chocolate, then leave them to harden up at room temperature.
The chocolate dipping is key here. The shortbread macaroon bars I had growing up always had that perfect chocolate coat to them to mix up the sweet, coconut taste. Today’s a true throwback, folks. I wouldn’t change a thing!
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Total Cost = $10.55 (Budget breakdown below recipe)
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup corn starch
- ½ cup confectioners' sugar
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ½ cup cold salted butter, chopped small
- 7 and ¾ cups sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 and ¼ cups sweetened condensed milk
- 1.5 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 egg whites
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 4.5 oz. dark chocolate, chopped small
- Prepare an 8x8 square baking pan with aluminum foil, extended over the edges so you can lift the bars out later. Spray with cooking spray; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, add flour, corn starch, confectioners' sugar and salt and whisk well. Add in the cold, cubed butter and cut with a pastry cutter or your fingers until mixture is coarse with pea-sized pieces of butter.
- Spread mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan evenly. Do not spread up the sides, only the bottom. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Once crust has set in fridge, bake in preheat oven for 13-14 minutes. Once finished, keep oven on, but turn down temperature to 325 degrees F. Let crust cool for 5 mins, then place pan in fridge to cool faster.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl stir coconut, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla; set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat cold egg whites and salt until stiff peaks form when you lift the whisk out. Fold egg whites into the coconut mixture until combined.
- Spoon macaroon mixture into the 8x8 pan evenly, smoothing the top with the back of a spoon. Bake in preheated 325 degree F oven for 55 minutes until relatively firm to the touch and slightly golden brown. Place foil on the edges and over top of the pan if it starts to get dark while baking. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove from pan using the overhanging aluminum foil and let come to room temperature.
- In a small bowl, add the chopped dark chocolate and microwave on medium power for 30 second intervals until almost completely melted. Stir well to melt the remaining chunks. Once bars have cooled, cut into squares. Dip the squares diagonally into the chocolate. Near the end, you may have to spoon chocolate onto the squares. Let harden; serve.
Adapted from Once Upon a Chef here and here.
3/4 cup all-purpose flour = $0.09
1/4 cup corn starch = $0.09
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar = $0.12
1/4 tsp. salt = $0.01
1/2 cup cold salter butter = $0.43
7 and 3/4 cups sweetened shredded coconut = $5.00
1 and 1/4 cups sweetened condensed milk = $2.50
1.5 tsp. vanilla extract = $0.10
3 egg whites = $0.45
1/4 tsp. salt = $0.01
4.5 oz. dark chocolate = $1.75
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