Be Joyous – Black Bottom Coconut Bars

It’s been a heck of a last few days. New York last Friday was fantastic and I can’t wait to return–although I can wait to consume mass quantities of baked goods for a while. But I got a little run down after a whole day in the City with the kids. Then Saturday was spent baking and preparing for my sister’s baby shower. Sunday was the baby shower itself–a joyous occasion and I’m excited for her, but a tiring event to assist with, as well. Monday, I was at school, all day. Tuesday: I was slovenly trying to recover from the previous few days. Wednesdays, I have four classes, and I started this one in particular with a Calculus exam. I was not pleased with what was waiting for us. I should not have been surprised.

Be Joyous Bars

It’s not all pain and suffering, thankfully! The bright side is that my Philosophy paper came back with a fabulous grade. Go Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill on your hedonistic utilitarianism! I guess the pleasure outweighed the pain in this case!

Be Joyous Bars

So in honor of that joyous occasion–another paper assignment completed with flying colors, inching myself one step closer to graduation–I present Joyous Bars. I’ll be eating them while trying to slog through King Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 for another paper this weekend. Oh, joy!

Be Joyous Bars

The original recipe was a sort of brownie topped with coconut macaroon. This is fine and well but instantly, I felt the need to add almond flavor somehow. I started with the amaretto, but that wasn’t enough. Next I toasted some whole almonds, intending to chop them up and integrate them into the coconut macaroon topping… but while I had my finger on the food processor’s “chop” button, inspiration struck. I held that button down just a bit longer and the next thing I knew, I had almond meal/flour. I was going to make a macaron/macaroon crossover-ish topping! Sure, why not? I replaced all the flour called for in the topping with the almond meal and it was a success! Still more macaroon than macaron, but no complaints. Chocolate meets Coconut meets Almonds–always a winning combination! Be joyous!

Be Joyous Bars

Black Bottom Coconut Bars (Be Joyous Bars)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 9
Bottom Layer
  • ½ cup (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup vanilla sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ¾ cup vanilla sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon amaretto
  • 1 cup almond flour (or you can toast and then grind your own almonds in the food processor into a meal/flour, like I did)
  • 7 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut, separated
Bottom Layer
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and line a 9x9 baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang for easy removal after, and set aside.
  2. In a heatproof mixing bowl, microwave the butter until melted. Whisk in the salt and sugar.
  3. Once combined, whisk in the egg. Add the cocoa and flour, whisking until smooth. Spread into the bottom of the 9x9 pan and bake for 10-15 min, or until it starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  4. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly while preparing the topping.
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the eggs.
  2. Add the sugar, vanilla extract, and amaretto, mixing thoroughly.
  3. Add the almond flour and coconut, reserving ½ cup of coconut to sprinkle over the top.
  4. Mix with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula until well-combined.
  5. Spread over the top of the brownie layer in the 9x9 baking pan.
  6. Sprinkle the remaining coconut over the top, pressing it in.
  7. Bake for 22-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center has moist crumbs on it when removed.
  8. Cool completely before lifting out the bars with the parchment paper and then cutting and serving.
  9. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature.


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