I can’t believe it, the kids here in Southern California are going back to school next week.  Back to school rituals were  so important in our family when my kids were growing up that even though both my daughters will go back to school this September far from home, some of the old feelings of nervous excitement  hover around the house.  Let’s face  it, no matter what age or how smart your kids are, school is a struggle, whether it’s social, emotional, academic, or just plain physical — the school day is exhausting.  I tried hard to make my kids comfortable with school in any way that I could, and one of the little ways I did that was with special foods.  Making treats like these squares just seems natural to me at this time of year. They might  be waiting for them when they got home after a long day, neatly packed in their lunch bags, or sent along for a whole class to enjoy.  I think it sends a reassuring message that says I value what you’re doing.

I just couldn’t resist the name, of these, can you?  There’s a dark chocolate brownie layer under a chewy macaroon style coconut topping, and the two together are wonderful.  These are from Martha Stewart.  They’re simple to throw together, in fact you can do it all in one bowl if you rinse it out between making the bottom and the top.

Black Bottom Coconut Squares


    For the brownie base
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used dark 'Dutched' cocoa)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    For the topping
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 package sweetened shredded coconut (7 ounces), 1/2 cup reserved for sprinkling


  1. Set oven to 375F
  2. Grease a 9x9 square baking pan. I like to line it with parchment paper with overhanging edges so I can remove it from the pan easily.
  3. Melt the butter in a large microwave safe bowl in the microwave. Whisk in the sugar, then the salt, and the egg. When it is well combined, whisk in the cocoa powder. Then fold in the flour.
  4. Spread the batter evenly in the pan and bake for about 15 minutes. It will start to look cooked around the edges. Don't over bake. Set aside while you make the topping.
  5. To make the topping, whisk the 2 eggs with the sugar and vanilla. Fold in the flour and the coconut (except the 1/2 cup reserved)
  6. Drop the coconut mixture in small mounds all over the brownie layer. I used a small scoop to portion out small mounds. Sprinkle with the reserved coconut.
  7. Bake for another 25 to 30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.




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24 Responses to Black Bottom Coconut Squares

  1. Janice says:

    these look just glorious. They remind me of a traybake my husband’s cousin makes regularly, it’s always a treat to go to her house as there are always lovely cakes!

  2. […] great tasting apples. These had been kicking around in the fruit drawer. Yesterday I tried this recipe. They’re pretty good. If I were to make them again, I’d add more sugar to the brownie […]

  3. These coconut squares look lovely!

  4. wendy olmsyead says:

    Gluten free version?

    • Sue says:

      Hmmm, I’ll have to look into that, Wendy — you might try substituting gluten free flour for the regular flour. Trader Joe’s has a good one.

  5. Yum! I love all the flavors in this coconut square!

  6. grace says:

    that coconut layer is SERIOUS! these are attractive and undoubtedly delicious, sue–right on!

  7. Eileen says:

    Oh man, coconut and dark chocolate sounds so good right about now! Such a perfect contrast.

  8. I talked to my grandkids yesterday and could tell they are eager to see their friends again. Love that apprehension and excitement about starting a new grade. Cookies always help ease the tension.

  9. I LOVE these.
    I am such a lover of anything coconut.
    I once made these using or rather soaking the coconut in a bit of spiced rum.
    Should have posted that one, but the photos were horrid; winter in NE bites for light in the kitchen for photo taking.

  10. Dom says:

    love love LOVE these… and love the name too, sounds like a song from the 1920’s!… very scary that the summer is almost over and the kids are going back to school… what on earth happened to those long lazy days?… need one or two or three of these over a cuppa to remind me!

    • Sue says:

      I know people love summer, but I’m a freak of nature, I yearn for fall. summer can’t fly by fast enough for me!

  11. Sosae says:

    Oh goodness – they look delicious! I’m so into coconut/chocolate right now… Also, I loved your story of baking goodies for the family. One of my fondest memories growing up, was knowing something delicious would be waiting for me at home. (Thanks to my mom.) It really means so much. It’s so comforting. And kindof like being armed against the challenges of the world. :)

  12. Love these black bottoms. I would have loved to come home to these, what a lovely combination of flavours.

  13. Kelly says:

    Making these 1st thing in the am!

  14. Linda says:

    They look so good. Thank you so much for sharing!

  15. Norma - Platanos, Mangoes and Me! says:

    I love anything coconut, but this is really a wonderful surprise. Great pics.

  16. You have been killing my sweet tooth lately!

  17. It’s hard to believe it’s back to school already. These coconut/chocolate bars are perfect for this and any time of the year. I love coconut and combined with chocolate it’s a classic.

  18. Fabulous squares, I love the contrast between the brownie base and coconut topping!

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