Coconut Pecan Shortbread Squares

I’ve been on a bit of an unplanned hiatus from BoB. No big reasons, just a whole bunch of little ones that add up. I actually haven’t quite gotten around to turning the oven back on. I do plan on getting back in the kitchen this week. In the meantime, I’ll share these bars that I made a while back.

You regular readers know all about Quinn’s long-standing aversion to coconut and my abiding love of it. My coconut-containing baked goods are few and far between. I have to plan it out in advance so I have someone else who will take them off my hands once I’ve had my sampling.

You only need 5 ingredients to make these sweet, nutty, chewy, gooey, delicious Coconut Pecan Shortbread Squares. - Bake or Break

These bars feature not only coconut, but also my beloved pecan sitting atop a shortbread crust. They are gooey and chewy and just plain delicious. The flavor of them reminds me a bit of that wonderful traditional frosting on German chocolate cake. The crust is a very simple combination of butter and flour. It’s understated and that works very well with the flavorful topping.

The recipe comes from More From Magnolia, the follow- up to The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook. The book describes these by saying that they couldn’t be easier to make. That’s very true. Just five ingredients and very little time are required to make them. The only difficult part is waiting overnight to get to eat them.

Coconut Pecan Shortbread Squares

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 24 2-inch squares

Coconut Pecan Shortbread Squares


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped toasted pecans
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk


Preheat oven to 350°.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together butter and flour until crumbly and well combined. Transfer to an ungreased 13″x 9″pan. Pat crust firmly and evenly into the pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle pecans and then the coconut over the crust. Pour condensed milk on top, completely covering the coconut. Spread with a spatula if necessary. Bake 30-35 minutes or until lightly golden.

Cool to room temperature. Cover tightly and allow to set overnight before cutting.


Recipe adapted from More from Magnolia.

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  1. Jenn August 10, 2008 Reply

    I know exactly what you mean! My boyfriend won’t touch coconutty baked goods, and I adore them. So I too need to find people to take the majority of them away BEFORE I even start baking. :( Lord knows what might happen if I was left with all of them…

    This looks delicious! I might swap out the pecans for macadamias though; I have some leftover that need to be used up!

  2. Oooh, that looks good! I too love coconut anyting, toasted even better! My Husband could care less about it. I say we coconut lovers get together and share treats :)

  3. the caked crusader August 11, 2008 Reply

    ooh – you’re talking my language with these; I’m a sucker for coconut!

  4. Culinarywannabe August 11, 2008 Reply

    I’ll take some of the unwanted coconut baked goods anytime! These look delicious – I’m down for anything that even resembles German chocolate cake!

  5. Amy August 11, 2008 Reply

    These look delicious and the recipe seems so simple! Well, simple except for that minor issue of letting the bars sit overnight before you cut into them… I will have a very hard time following that direction.

  6. Katie August 11, 2008 Reply

    These look amazing! The perfect treat to disgust my husband with, he hates coconut and any kind of nuts!

  7. Hannah August 11, 2008 Reply

    Wow! These look really good! I love coconut!


  8. Elle August 11, 2008 Reply

    These look incredible! I love anything with coconut, and luckily, my husband does, too. Add pecans and well, these are just about perfect!

  9. jennifer August 11, 2008 Reply

    Jenn, I think macadamias would be great.

    Rachelle, we need to organize a coconut convention so we can enjoy all of its goodness. 😉

    caked crusader, you and me both!

    Culinarywannabe, it’s been ages since I had german chocolate cake. I so love it.

    Amy, I admit that I didn’t realize they had to sit overnight until I was finished. Not cool.

    Katie, I’m beginning to think the aversion to coconut is a male thing. Maybe it’s genetic. 😉

    Thanks, Hannah!

    Elle, you’re very lucky that you can bake freely with coconut. :-)

  10. Kate August 11, 2008 Reply

    Cant not love this, all the goodie ingredients. I always end up baking stuff like this ans eating alone as hubby cant eat anything sweet.
    The second shot looks so good, its like almost going all the way to my mouth :)

  11. Ashley August 11, 2008 Reply

    Ooo these look good. I love coconut anything and this sounds like such a yummy baked good!

  12. Katrina August 11, 2008 Reply

    Been wondering what happened to you!
    Love the coconut bars. I recently made some similar bars and posted them—
    I didn’t really like mine as they had a graham cracker layer on the bottom and I felt that it overbaked, but I would LOVE this shortbread crust. Thanks for the recipe!
    Guess I’m lucky, my husband likes coconut–at least I know he’ll eat an Almond Joy or Mounds!

  13. dawn August 11, 2008 Reply

    I made these once but used strawberries instead of coconut because I have, like you, a coconut-hater in the house.
    These look good, really good.

  14. jennifer August 11, 2008 Reply

    Thanks, Kate and Ashley!

    Katrina, yours have the added benefit of having chocolate. That’s the only thing that could potentially make these better.

    dawn, thanks! These coconut-haters are nothing but trouble. 😉

  15. giz August 11, 2008 Reply

    I have that cookbook and for some reason never really paid attention to the recipe. 5 ingredients – what could be bad. People who don’t like coconut don’t know what they’re missing :)

  16. Em August 11, 2008 Reply

    These look fantastic! Welcome back!

    Do you recommend the Magnolia Bakery book? I have been considering purchasing it.

  17. Nick August 11, 2008 Reply

    Coconut is definitely hit or miss with me, but I love almond joys and these actually remind me of a treat my mom used to make for my dad called Chocolate Squares. They were much more than that, a type of shortbread crust on the bottom top with sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips and coconut. They were incredible and these sound a lot like them!

  18. Natalie August 12, 2008 Reply

    MM coconut, I bet thesse are delicious.
    Sound like my type of thing! 😀

  19. hawkswench August 12, 2008 Reply

    I have a similar recipe except that I have caramel added then dip the bottoms in melted chocolate and drizzle remaining chocolate on top. Sometimes I will take a short cut an sprinkle chocolate chips on the bottom of the pan before pressing in the shortbread, and some on top of the coconut. Taste similar to the GS Coconut Delites.

  20. aparna August 12, 2008 Reply

    Those looks awesome. Thanks for the recipe.

  21. jennifer August 12, 2008 Reply

    giz, I couldn’t agree more. 😉

    Em, I really like the Magnolia Bakery cookbook. Click here and here for more things from that book.

    Nick, coconut is all hit with me, especially when chocolate is involved.

    Natalie, you should try them!

    hawkswench, your version sounds delicious! I like the idea of dipping the bottoms in chocolate.

    Thanks, aparna.

  22. Indigo August 12, 2008 Reply

    How can anyone not like coconut?! The entire idea makes my brain hurt. I think I need these squares to live.

  23. Emily August 12, 2008 Reply

    I lovelovelove coconut – it’s a brand-new craving of mine, I couldn’t stand the stuff years ago! This recipe looks like i can’t be anything BUT an absolute success, maybe i’ll try it out in my lovely new cake tin :) Let’s see if it’s better than my lemon shortbread – perfect for summer. check it out! You know the link 😉

  24. Sarah August 12, 2008 Reply

    Yuuuuuuuuuummmmmmm. I LOVE coconut. Didn’t always though. It took some convincing. :) I really really have to make these!

  25. jennifer August 12, 2008 Reply

    Indigo, let me know how that works out for you. 😉

    Emily, it’s interesting that you have come to like coconut. For Quinn, he says it’s mostly the texture. Anyway, I’ll be sure to check out that lemon shortbread.

    Sarah, I hope you like them!

  26. Patricia Scarpin August 13, 2008 Reply

    It’s great seeing you back in action, Jen – I know I will always find delicious baked goods here, and these bars are calling out my name! I love each and every ingredient on them…

  27. Maria August 13, 2008 Reply

    I love coconut! Glad you are back with a killer recipe! Thanks!

  28. jennifer August 13, 2008 Reply

    Patricia, I’m glad to be back in the kitchen!

    Thanks, Maria. These bars really are “killer.” :-)

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