Chocolate Coconut Bars

22 January 2013

Post image for Chocolate Coconut Bars

With Australia Day approaching, my thoughts have been turning to traditional Aussie cakes and pastries, and these Chocolate Coconut Bars are hard to go past. Perhaps these slices are not what one would think of eating on Australia Day (lamingtons are more common), but this classic recipe from the Australian Women’s Weekly is one which I have grown up with and I was only too happy to be reminded of it recently when the recipe was posted on the AWW’s Facebook page.

True to the style of the Australian Women’s Weekly, this recipe is a doddle to make and uses ingredients which you are likely to have in your fridge and pantry. There are no fancy ingredients required here – the chocolate component is derived from cocoa powder. But, as always, some good quality cocoa powder would be recommended to make these slices extra special.


Once you discover how quick and easy these slices are to make, you will be looking for excuses to make them again and again. In fact, I might make another batch myself …

As much as I would love to be back in Australia right now, sitting on the verandah in the blistering heat with a glass of cold Tiro Pink Grapefruit and in the company of my friends who I miss so much, I am content to be cosied up in my warm apartment in Zurich, sipping a cup of tea with a slice or three of these Chocolate Coconut Bars. Outside, the snow is casting a thick white blanket over the streets below. Australia Day this year looks to be a cold one!

Chocolate Coconut Bars
Recipe adapted from The Big Book of Beautiful Biscuits by the Australian Women’s Weekly









Cook’s Notes

According to the AWW Facebook page, the (new) vintage edition of Big Book of Beautiful Biscuits will be released in March 2013.

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Liz Headon 22 January 2013 at 3:30 pm

Presumably you stir in the 90g of coconut in with the other dry ingredients ? I think I can see it in the photo but the instructions don’t seem to mention it…


eat, little bird 22 January 2013 at 5:56 pm

Oops! Baby brain! I have updated the recipe photo accordingly. But yes, the coconut is added with the other dry ingredients. Thanks for letting me know :-)


Liz Headon 22 January 2013 at 6:44 pm

They look and sound rather like a recipe called Chocolate Orange Bars, from my childhood, which I haven’t made for years but now have rather a fancy to try them again. They use oats where yours have coconut, and have an almost fudge-y texture. Like these, they are simple and economical, because they use cocoa rather than lots of expensive melted chocolate (better not let anyone hear you say that in Switzerland though !)


eat, little bird 22 January 2013 at 11:32 pm

I love the sound of the Chocolate Orange Bars. If you do get around to making them again, I’d love to see a photo on FB :-) You are absolutely right to point out that this recipe is economical – there’s something very comforting about that thought. My “everyday” cocoa happens to be a Cailler brand which is much cheaper and accessible than the Bensdorp cocoa which I stock up on whenever I am in New York. But given that I will be doing much less long- distance travelling in the next year or so, I’m more than happy to resort to the local produce :-)


tanja 22 January 2013 at 3:45 pm

Oh my gosh, how did I forget these? I have not eaten them in so long but I will tonight. Thank you for bringing back such nostalgic memories. Yumo.


eat, little bird 22 January 2013 at 5:56 pm

You’re welcome! Enjoy the trip down memory lane :-)


Fiona 22 January 2013 at 6:50 pm

Oh my – an absolute gem from my own Australian childhood! I am off to make a batch right away.
Thanks so much for reminding me about them, and enjoy your snowy Australia Day.


eat, little bird 22 January 2013 at 11:34 pm

I’m loving the comments from readers like you who also enjoyed these slices in their childhood. Goes to show how far-reaching the AWW recipes have been. I’m happy to have reminded you of this recipe!


Fiona 23 January 2013 at 9:53 pm

And ironically I live just outside Zurich, so I love how you post recipes I remember, but can also get the ingredients to over here!


eat, little bird 26 January 2013 at 11:15 am

Lovely to hear from another Aussie in Switzerland! I’m always happy when I can recreate an Aussie recipe using ingredients which are readily available here, though that’s not always the case. So I love that these bars use ingredients which can be found almost anywhere.


Paula 22 January 2013 at 9:30 pm

That’s funny, I have some little books of Women’s Weekly!! One with gratin recipes, and the other about cheesecakes, they’re not the best cookbook, but gives ideas, and it’s OK for the for day to day.

It’s great to find again a step by step with photos, I love so much yours!! And the recipe, even with the numerous ingredients, is simple! My boyf loves chocolate/cocoa + coconut, his (second) favourite chocolate bar is Bounty, so he’d love this!! We must try!!

And I’m in love with the texture, even if I only can see it at the photo 😉


eat, little bird 22 January 2013 at 11:41 pm

The AWW cookbooks are not as glamourous as most other cookbooks, particularly since they are not personal to any chef and the recipes are often quite simple and instructional. But I think the AWW are slowly changing that by releasing new editions of their old books. Still, their recipes often stand the test of time and perhaps provide more inspiration than people realise. My first set of cookbooks included a few from the AWW and I still cook regularly from them today :-)

If your boyfriend loves Bounty bars, I think he would very much enjoy these slices. In fact, these slices are recommended to anyone who loves chocolate and coconut!


Louise 22 January 2013 at 10:41 pm

Chocolate Slice! Yummy!
I made these for the first time in my Year 8 Home Economics class.


eat, little bird 22 January 2013 at 11:45 pm

Hi Louise! Lovely to see you here :-) Isn’t it a wonderful recipe? I can’t quite remember when I first made these slices but I know I definitely bought them from the cake stalls at school. Those cake stalls bring back such nice memories :-)


Priya Sreeram 23 January 2013 at 12:43 am

chocolates & coconut a heavely pairing; am bookmarking this recipe :) looks swell


Melissa 23 January 2013 at 3:59 am

Could you replace the plain flour with gluten free plain flour?


eat, little bird 23 January 2013 at 7:19 pm

I’ve never baked with gluten-free plain flour but I imagine that it would work fine in this recipe. Please let me know if you do try it.


thelittleloaf 23 January 2013 at 2:27 pm

Lovely looking bars! I don’t bake with coconut enough – every time I eat it I love it but never seem to have it in the kitchen. May have to buy myself a bag especially to make these!


eat, little bird 23 January 2013 at 7:21 pm

I always keep a stock of dessicated coconut in the pantry for lamingtons and coconut macaroons. But I have been using it a lot lately just for these bars! And they really are worth it :-)


Melange 23 January 2013 at 2:56 pm

Stunning presentation as usual.Being a person from coconut savvy land,I was stumbled on this recipe.I loved everything in it.Moreover this is a revelation to me that Australia has such a coconut background…Cheers !


eat, little bird 23 January 2013 at 7:22 pm

Oh yes, coconut features quite a lot in Australian baking. My favourite would have to be lamingtons but these bars come a very, very close second.


anita menon 23 January 2013 at 3:04 pm

Such a lovely looking treat!!! Hope you are doing well!


eat, little bird 23 January 2013 at 7:23 pm

Thanks, Anita! I’m recovering well and am slowly getting back into the swing of things (or so I think!). My next task is to catch up on all of my favourite blogs, including yours!


Nisha 24 January 2013 at 6:43 am

These look amazing! I just wanted to say that I LOVE your blog – I’m newly married and always on the look out for recipes to make for my hubby. We have made a number of things from your blog and find them easy to follow and always delicious! Wanted to let you know that you’re an inspiration to me and your recipes and photos are fantastic.
Can’t wait to try the chocolate bars. P.S. You’re right, its currently stinking hot in Australia – I’m jealous of the snow you’re getting in Zurich!


eat, little bird 26 January 2013 at 11:12 am

That is the sweetest compliment! Thank you – you have made my day :-)

I hope married life is treating you and your husband well. Lucky guy that he has someone like you to cook for him! I hope you will continue to enjoy the recipes here on this blog :-)


Starla 26 January 2013 at 11:39 pm

Making them now. :-)
Did you use sweetened or unsweetened dessicated coconut?


eat, little bird 28 January 2013 at 2:25 pm

I’m guessing it is unsweetened dessicated coconut. The dessicated coconut which I buy in Switzerland (and in Australia) doesn’t specify if it is sweetened or not, but I’m guessing it’s not. I hope these worked out for you!


Starla 28 January 2013 at 11:32 pm

I used unsweetened and they turned out beautifully. Even the picky eaters in my house that don’t like coconut (and we live in Maui, HI where we are surrounded by coconuts!) loved them. :-)


eat, little bird 29 January 2013 at 6:42 pm

That’s great to hear! :-)


Rushi 28 January 2013 at 11:06 am

Mmmm these look delish. Those AWW cookbooks have some great ideas and you are spot on, they have stood the test of time. Well I’m guessing that I could have a couple as a breakfast treat, well it’s got coconut so that’s healthy 😀 I know for a fact that my mom will love these but I think I will do a test batch, you know just to see how they are, lol.


eat, little bird 28 January 2013 at 2:24 pm

I would recommend that you make a double test batch … these disappear really quickly!


The Patterned Plate 6 February 2013 at 8:44 pm

Thanh, I made these tonight for a bake sale and I almost, almost reconsidered giving it away. You know of my coconut obsession. They were incredibly moreish, impossible to stop at one. Irresistible is a term that’s used fast and loose in the baking world but these babies can only be described as such. It’s a definite keeper and especially as it’s so darn easy to whip up! I LOVE IT! xx


eat, little bird 10 February 2013 at 11:24 am

I’m thrilled that you enjoyed this recipe so much as to recommend it to the folks on CF :-) and I love that you made these for a bake sale – that’s probably how I first tried these slices, back ehen I was a youngster in primary school. The AWW recipes are always great for bake sales – they’re easy to follow, reliable and economical. This recipe is a keeper for sure!


Hannah 8 February 2013 at 11:42 am

Just made these after Carries nudge on CF’s! They look and smell Devine, can’t wait to try a slice! thanks Thanh and thanks Carrie!


eat, little bird 10 February 2013 at 11:29 am

I’m so happy that you enjoyed these! I love your photo of these bars. Bon appétit!


Michelle 9 February 2013 at 10:10 am

These were delicious! Not sure why however mine turned out with a very crumbly base so were hard to eat. Will have to try again with maybe a bit more butter.


eat, little bird 10 February 2013 at 11:33 am

The base should be a little crumbly, but not overly so such that they become difficult to eat. I wonder if maybe the base was baked for a bit too long? Ovens vary a lot and one guess is that maybe you could take these out of the oven a few minutes earlier. I hope you will give these another try!


The Patterned Plate 15 February 2013 at 11:56 am

I underbaked the second time I made these (arhem, I’ve baked these about four times in the last two weeks!!) and the base was quite crumbly and difficult to cut neatly. I find that the best way to judge is to test the surface and it should feel quite firm, without too much given. If it dips when pressed with your fingertip, it’s under, if it doesn’t budge, it’s over! A bit of a balance but I found 18 minutes to be perfect.


eat, little bird 16 February 2013 at 12:12 pm

Thanks Carrie! Cooking times can vary so much depending on your oven, type of pan used, temperature of ingredients, etc. I often check about 5 mins before the stated time for this reason. And your tips are spot on – the cake should feel quite firm to touch but not rock hard.


Emma 26 February 2013 at 7:01 pm

Hello mama thanh : ) I grew up on these and your post has brought back lots of lovely memories of me being in my beautiful mum’s kitchen. Am back in oz soon and I might just ask her to bake some for me : )


eat, little bird 27 February 2013 at 3:30 pm

Hello! Some things taste best when made by others, especially by your own mother :-) Hope to catch up soon. xx


Maria 21 March 2013 at 9:59 pm

Amazing photography and an amazing blog!


sula 22 July 2013 at 10:04 pm

Thank you for sharing this recipe, I have just made it and can’t wait to give to my son in the morning. He is allergic to egg and loves coconut. I used egg replacement powder to subsitute the egg and they are perfect


eat, little bird 23 July 2013 at 10:16 am

I hope your son will enjoy these slices! I make them so frequently and we never tire of them :-)


Dina 8 August 2013 at 11:54 pm

these sound like yummy bars!


Pratima kapoor 16 August 2013 at 8:26 am

Greetings from Delhi,India.
Just stumbled upon your recipe via pinterest. Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe with amazing photographs.
Your recipe lifted up my spirit on this wet and dull morning out here. I have all the ingredients on hand right now and i am making this before preparing lunch.


eat, little bird 16 August 2013 at 2:49 pm

Oh I’m so glad to hear that this recipe has cheered you up :-) Enjoy this recipe – it’s one of my all-time favourites!


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