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Caribbean Coco-Almond Bars



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3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 tsp. salt, divided
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces plus 5 tbsp. for filling
3/4 cup almonds, toasted and finely chopped (about 3 oz.)
3 tbsp. dark rum, divided
1 1/2 cups medium shred unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup sweetened and condensed milk
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate (60% cocoa), chopped
2 tbsp. heavy cream or evaporated milk
1 cup shredded coconut or sliced almonds (additional)


  1. 1
    Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8"x8" square pan with heavy-duty foil that extends over edges of pan; butter foil.
  2. 2
    In a food processor fitted with a metal blade or in a large bowl with a pastry blender, combine flour, brown sugar, 1/4 tsp. salt, cinnamon and allspice; add 1/2 cup butter in small intervals while mixing until texture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add nuts and 1 tbsp. rum; blend.
  3. 3
    Press dough firmly and evenly into pan. Bake until crust deflates (it will puff at first) and edges are barely firm to touch, about 15 minutes. Cool slightly on wire rack.
  4. 4
    As crust cools, blend filling ingredients together in a bowl such as 1 1/2 cups coconut, milk, 2 tbsp. butter, 2 tbsp. rum and 1/4 tsp. salt. When crust is firm and still warm, spoon on filling; spread evenly. Return pan to oven and bake until edges turn golden, about 15 minutes. Remove and cool in pan on wire rack.
  5. 5
    Make chocolate layer by combining all ingredients such as 3 tbsp. butter, chocolate, 2 tbsp. heavy cream or milk and 1 cup shredded coconut or sliced almonds in a small saucepan over low heat or microwave-safe bowl. Heat (in 30 second intervals, if in microwave) while whisking until melted and smooth. Pour hot topping over filling; spread evenly. If desired, sprinkle coconut and/or almonds evenly over top while chocolate layer is still hot.
  6. 6
    Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight before bringing to room temperature and cutting into bars.


To toast almonds, place nuts in a single layer in an ungreased shallow pan. Bake at 350°F for 5 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from pan to cool.

Fruit juice (such as orange juice) may be substituted for dark rum.

Unsweetened coconut can be found at many specialty and health food stores.

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preparation methods
cuisines North & South American, Other South American
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