Pineapple Coconut Bars are an easy tropical inspired treat made with juicy crushed pineapple, coconut, and a brown sugar shortbread crust ~ perfect for breakfast, bunch, or all day snacking. I recommend the all day snacking :)
Pineapple Coconut Bars are a little bit Southern, a little bit vintage…something you might find leafing through the pages of a spiral bound church ladies cookbook. My version is both sweet and tart, with a nice chewy texture thanks to a good amount of brown sugar in the dough. The brown sugar also gives these squares a background hint of butterscotch, yum.
I use the requisite crushed pineapple, unsweetened only, so the fruit filling makes a nice tart contrast to the sweet shredded coconut and brown sugar shortbread crust. I formulated the recipe to use the whole 20 ounce can of pineapple and a 7 ounce bag of coconut, so there won’t be any annoying leftovers.
These pineapple coconut bars will stay nice and fresh for a few days on the counter if you don’t polish them off in one sitting. They make good work, school, or travel snacks because the bars aren’t overly gooey, you can eat them with your hands without making a mess and having to use your pants as a napkin. I hate that.
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Pineapple Coconut Bars
- 20 ounce can of crushed pineapple in juice not heavy syrup
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 packed cups brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 7 ounce bag sweetened shredded coconut divided
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Lightly spray a 9x13 pan and line with parchment paper (optional) so you can lift the squares out for easy cutting later.
- Drain the canned pineapple in a mesh sieve over a bowl, and collect the liquid. Don't squeeze the fruit, just let it drain naturally. Remove the liquid to a small saucepan, whisk in the cornstarch, and heat over medium high heat until it comes to a boil and thickens, stirring constantly. Add the thickened juice back into the pineapple and set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer or with electric beaters until light and fluffy, at least 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the egg and then the extracts.
- Whisk together the flour and baking powder and with the mixer on low, beat in the flour mixture, one cup at a time, and then add 2 cups of the shredded coconut. Finish the mixing by hand, a silicone 'spoonula' works great for this..
- Remove 2/3 cup of the dough and set aside for the topping. Then press the rest into the bottom of your baking pan. I like to crumble it all over the bottom first to distribute it, and then gently press with my fingers. Make sure to get the whole bottom surface covered. If the dough is sticky, flour your fingers as needed.
- Spread the pineapple over the bottom crust, and sprinkle with the remaining coconut. Take the remaining dough and crumble it over the whole surface. I like to press it down VERY lightly with my hands.
- Bake for about 35 minutes, or until starting to turn golden. Let the squares cool on a rack before cutting.
Make it your own ~
- Shortbread-y crumb bars are my jam and if you look you’ll find lots of them in my dessert recipe index. The great thing about bars like this is that you can use fresh fruit, frozen fruit, preserves, or curd, and each one is a little different from the next. I vary them with different types of flour and add-ins like nuts, coconut, oats, etc.
- There are lots of other recipes that feature the pineapple coconut-combo for you to try. Start the day with my Pineapple Coconut Bread, for instance, or these Hawaiian Muffins. Then there’s Pineapple Coconut Lush, a potluck classic, and this unique Pineapple Coconut Pudding, a Puerto Rican recipe. When it’s too hot to cook, try these Pineapple Coconut Water Popsicles!
Don’t forget to pin these pineapple coconut bars!