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Written by Eunice Cheah. Visit her on Instagram at @bakingwitheunice

If you love chocolate and coconut dessert, then you won’t want to miss out on this Chocolate Coconut Bars recipe – it’s easy to make and delicious.

If you have ever been to Vancouver Canada, you would have definitely heard of the dessert, Nanaimo Bars. It is named after the city of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island and it consists of three layers: a nutty coconut crumb base, a sweet middle custard filling and a chocolate ganache on top. Inspired by the amazing dessert, I decided to make my own version of the bars! 

This is a chocolate coconut almond bar, with a crunchy graham cracker base. I wanted to create a dessert that was easy to make and with ingredients that can be found in most grocery stores. In fact, I would not be surprised if you are able to find most of the ingredients in your pantry. It is also a very customizable recipe, so you are able to swap out the ingredients with any toppings of your choice. 

This is such an easy dessert to whip out for any occasion, and I highly recommend trying it out for your next get-together! 

HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE COCONUT BARS

Below is a detailed walk through of the recipe with pictures, but there is a recipe card below. 

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grab an 8×8 square pan and line with foil or parchment paper. If you are using foil, grease the foil to avoid sticking. 
  1. Combine crushed graham crackers with butter and sugar and mix until it is the texture of wet sand.
  2. Press graham crackers evenly onto the base of the pan and baked in the oven for 15 minutes.

  1. Ones the graham cracker base has been in the oven for 15 minutes, let cool for a few minutes before sprinkling the sweetened desiccated coconut and almond slices onto it. The almond slices are optional, but I thought it would be a great compliment to the coconut. However,  you are welcome to add any toppings of your choice. Adding more toppings will give the dessert more texture. Then, pour the sweetened condensed milk on the top and bake for another 15 minutes.

  1. Combine chocolate and vegetable oil into a bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until melted. I used high quality baking chocolate, but you can use chocolate chips as well, but it does take a longer time to melt. Stir between each burst to prevent the chocolate from burning. You can also use the double boiler method to melt the chocolate if you prefer doing that as well. 
  2. Once melted, spread the chocolate onto the bars and let sit for a few hours to allow the chocolate to harden. I would recommend placing it in the refrigerator for it to set quicker.

  1. Cut the bars into squares using a sharp knife to prevent the chocolate from cracking and serve while chilled. 

Ingredients for Chocolate Coconut Bars

  • 2 cups crushed graham crackers 
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup melted unsalted butter
  • 300 ml sweetened condensed milk (one can)
  • ½ cup sweetened desiccated coconut
  • ½ cup almond slices
  • 1 ¼ cup (10 oz) semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line a square baking pan with foil and grease the foil so that the bars can be easily removed. 
  2. Pour melted butter and sugar into the crushed graham crackers and mix until combined. It should be the texture of wet sand. Press the crumbs evenly into the square pan and bake for 15 minutes.
  3. Ones baked, sprinkle the desiccated coconut and almond slices onto the graham cracker base before pouring the condensed milk over the top. Bake for another 15 minutes.
  4. While baking, combine chocolate and vegetable oil into a bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until melted. Stir between each burst to prevent from burning. 
  5. Spread the chocolate over the top of the bars and let cool in the fridge for a few hours. 
  6. Cut the bars into squares using a sharp knife to prevent the chocolate from cracking and serve while chilled.

Next Article: How to Make Chinese Hot Pot

Written by Sarah Gelber a food blogger at www.207foodie.com:

If you’re going to make eating and drinking outside a thing in January, you need to stay warm doing it! The best solution? Hot boozy cocktails of course! Keep reading for a few can’t miss hot boozy cocktails in Portland that epitomizes the way life should be!

1. Daily Hot Toddy: Izakaya Minato, 54 Washington Ave

izakaya minato portland maine chai hot toddy outside patio hot boozy cocktail
Enjoying a chai hot toddy at Izakaya Minato.

It’s definitely a bonus when you can enjoy your hot boozy cocktails in Portland somewhere warm outside, and thankfully, Izakaya Minato has outdoor seating that includes heaters! But almost nothing beats the feeling of a hot cocktail in your hand, and this chai hot toddy is one you shouldn’t miss. 

The chai hot toddy may not be available but Izakaya Minato is offering a daily hot toddy, so you’ll be able to order something that’s warm!

If the chai hot toddy is on the menu, it’s a nice choice for anyone that loves things on the slightly sweeter side, but the chai flavor has a little spice, so you’ll stay warm. If you’ve never enjoyed Izakaya Minato, you owe it to yourself to order their JFC (Japanese Fried Chicken) because it is life-changing. 

You won’t find chicken like this anywhere else in Portland!

2. Extreme Hot Chocolate Board: The Yard, 82 Hanover Street, Suite 7

Looking for a hot boozy cocktail that will knock the socks off of everyone around you? That includes anyone on social media as well!

extreme chocolate board at the yard portland maine hot boozy cocktail

You’ll find exactly that with the Extreme Hot Chocolate Board at The Yard. These hot chocolate boards are about as extra as it gets, and bonus points if you also happen to snag a reservation for one of the igloos that The Yard has available as well. 

You’ll be in a literal winter wonderland if you can enjoy your Extreme Hot Chocolate Board inside of one of their igloos! It’s sweet, decadent, and it might be a little much for one person to enjoy on their own, so bring along someone to share it with. 

Don’t forget to take a picture because otherwise, nobody will believe you ordered one of these insane boards! Not feeling an Extreme Hot Chocolate Board? 

The Yard has plenty of other great hot boozy cocktails to choose from, so just ask your server what they recommend!

3. Aztec Xoco: Novare Res Bier Cafe, 4 Canal Plaza, Suite 1

When it comes to staying warm in January, it’s hard to go wrong with a little boozy hot chocolate in hand. Luckily, Novare Res has several different kinds of boozy hot cocktail cocoa available for enjoying in their beautiful outdoor space, making it easy to social distance and stay warm around a fire pit. 

aztec xoco at novare res bier cafe portland maine hot boozy cocktail

If you want to add a little spice to your evening, the Aztec Xoco is a perfect choice! With Mexican spices and a kick of Espolòn Blanco Tequila, you’ll stay toasty warm drinking this delicious beverage by the fire! 

Novare also has plenty of draught craft beer, so even if you don’t feel like having a hot beverage, you can still savor your beer. Don’t forget to check-in inside before taking a seat outside!

4. Hot Boozy Cider: Luke’s Lobster Portland Pier, 60 Portland Pier

Keep in mind, Luke’s Lobster is on the pier so it’s colder and windier. Bundle up! If you feel like you’re wearing enough layers (hat and gloves are a good idea since it’s Maine in the winter) then try the hot boozy cider. 

hot boozy cider at luke's lobster portland pier portland maine hot boozy cocktail

It’s got cinnamon bitters, cloves, and it’s hot so there’s not much more you could want. The $3 fish chowder is a nice bonus for those that enjoy chowder and want to have it right by the ocean! 

lobster grilled cheese at luke's lobster portland pier portland maine

Make it a meal by ordering the lobster grilled cheese or a lobster roll. This is one of the advantages of living in Maine: you can order lobster year round because there’s no “season” for lobster here.

5. Hot Wassail: Maine Craft Distilling, 123 Washington Ave

For many people, wassail is something that sounds vaguely familiar, but they can’t quite put their finger on it! Wassail is actually a drink and you’ve probably heard of it in a few Christmas carols! 

There’s a lot more to the tradition but essentially, people would go around drinking from door to door as they were also caroling. Interesting that you can now get your hot wassail from Maine Craft Distilling, isn’t it? 

hot wassail at maine craft distilling portland maine hot boozy cocktail

Wassail sounds a little silly but at the end of the day, it’s like a hot mulled wine and it’s delicious! MCD’s allows you to choose what kind of alcohol to add. 

fried chicken sandwich at maine craft distilling portland maine

The Fifty Stone Whiskey is a lovely pairing to keep you warm if you choose a heated hut or a fire pit! There’s plenty of food to choose from as well, like the fried chicken sandwich or some nachos, since sitting by the fire and drinking is sure to make you hungry.

Tried other hot boozy cocktails in Portland this winter that you loved? Share your experiences in the comments!