Flakes of coconut and bursts of tart berries are in every bite of these Blueberry Coconut Bars. Spring weather isn’t quite here, but these bars bring us just a little bit closer!
According to our calendars it is officially spring.
I am sooo ready throw up my spring holla hands in a nice pink cardigan. But I can’t. While spring should have sprung 2 weeks ago, it is still cold out. There isn’t one teeny blossom peeking its way from barren tree branches. Not one blade of grass. The sun makes its hazy debut and promptly retreats into thick clouds. Cold rains threaten what should be a sunny spring weather forecast. I can’t throw up my holla hands! My winter coat gets in the way. My umbrella pokes me in the eye.
It’s not time yet.
I sooo want it to be THAT.TIME.
But we’re in a stage of unlocking. We’re in season limbo.
Oh, this is just too much.
Let’s bake some blueberry coconut bars.
I baked a strawberry version of these gorgeous cherry bars I found on Cravings of a Lunatic. They were a hit in my house. The batter comes together easily, it’s a dream to work with, and best of all – It lends itself to so many possibilities.
Now, I’m an island girl who loves her tropical flavors. LOVE THEM. I thought adding coconut flakes and cream of coconut to this batter was a great idea, along with blueberries which are not quite in season, yet are indeed available in the markets.
I macerated blueberries for a bit to bring out their beautiful flavor. Don’t worry – The blueberries will be tart enough to counterbalance the sweetness in the dough.
The dough goes into a dish or pan in two parts – A bottom layer, followed by the blueberries – Then we drop spoonfuls of dough, cobbler style over the blueberries. As it bakes the batter spreads leaving tiny peeks of blueberries in between. It’s gorgeous, I tell you.
Once the batter bakes and cools, you cut them into bars and drizzle a glaze that is mixed with a tiny hint of coconut.
The first bite is heaven. And so is the fifth. The consistency is that of a soft moist cake with bites of sweetened coconut flakes and bursts of tart blueberries. Seriously – You’re going to love them. They are holla hands worthy. And you want to throw up your holla hands for something, right?
Rest assured – For these blueberry coconut bars, you’ll need to enlist your friends.
Blueberry Coconut Bars
For the macerated blueberries:
- 2 pints of blueberries
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
For the bars:
- 1 cup butter at room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1 tablespoon sweetened cream of coconut * I used Coco Lopez
- 3 cups all-purpose flour scooped then leveled
- 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
For the glaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sweetened cream of coconut * I used Coco Lopez
- 2-3 tablespoons milk
Macerate the blueberries:
- Rinse the blueberries and place them in a large bowl. Sprinkle sugar over the berries. Mix briefly with a spatula and set aside uncovered for about an hour or so.
Bake the batter:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly spray a 9x13 dish and line with parchment leaving a slight overhang. Set aside.
- In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment over medium/high speed. Cream the butter, sugar, and salt until light and fluffy. This should take about 2-3 minutes or so.
- Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stop and scrape the mixer to incorporate. Make sure you scrape the bottom of the mixer. Reduce the speed to low. Add the vanilla bean paste and sweetened cream of coconut*. Mix briefly to combine.
- Add the flour in two parts, mixing until just combined. Stop and remove bowl from mixer. Fold in the sweetened coconut flakes. Fold the batter a couple of times to incorporate any dry bits that remain on the bottom of the bowl, but do not over mix. A couple folds is all you need. You will end up with a nice stiff batter. It's cool.
- Measure about 3 1/2 cups of batter and drop into prepared pan. Smooth and even out as best you can with a small offset spatula. It doesn't have to be perfect.
- Drop spoonfuls of macerated blueberries onto the batter and spread them as even as you can. Drizzle evenly any blueberry syrup that has accumulated at the bottom of the bowl.
- With a cookie scoop, drop random spoonfuls of remaining batter over the macerated blueberries. No need to smooth it out. This situation will melt and come together.
- Place pan in the oven and bake for 30 - 35 minutes until the top is a golden brown and the blueberries are bubbling a bit. Remove dish (or pan) from the oven and allow it to cool completely before removing from the dish and glazing.
Make the glaze:
- In a small bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract, and cream of coconut. Add the milk 1 tablespoon at a time and mix with either a small whisk or a fork until you get the desired consistency.
- Lifting the parchment overhang, remove bars from the dish. Cut the bars into squares and drizzle glaze over the bars. Top with blueberries if desired. You know, to make this situation look purty and whatnot.