Coconut Dream Bars

Rich, chewy, and almost pecan-pie-like, Coconut Dream Bars are a classic cookie that’s perfect for the holidays, for snacking or for any special occasion.

Coconut Dream Bars

I’ve decided that the name of these cookies, Dream Bars, is a perfect match for the classic treat.  That’s because the bars are so tasty they’re almost a dream.

The rich, nutty flavor and melty chew even remind me of pecan pie–with an added hint of sweet coconut. 

My mother made the cookies every Christmas, and I grew up adoring them.  Now, since I just discovered they’re even easy, I had to ask, why did I wait so long?

Yes, I know.  So many recipes, so little time. 

Coconut Dream Bars

What are Dream Bars

The earliest reference I could find to Dream Bars was from a 1934 edition of the Lincoln Star newspaper.  A reader submitted the recipe, and it was almost identical to my version.

My recipe came by way of a We Energies Holiday Cookie Book from 1969, though I resized it from 11 x 7 to 8 x 8.  I guess pan sizes have changed over the years! 

There is another bar cookie, called a Magic Bar, that is sometimes conflated with Dream Bars. But the Magic Bar also contains butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, and sweetened condensed milk and ends up as a more cake-like bar.

Coconut Dream Bars

Why You’ll Love This!

Flavor.  These are loaded with flavor from shredded coconut, pecans and brown sugar.  Add in an amazing creamy-chewy texture, and the experience is a sensory delight.

No Special Ingredients.  Don’t you hate when you’re psyched to make something and you don’t have one special ingredient?  Well, if shredded coconut and pecans or walnuts are staples in your house (they are for me), you’ve got this.

Easy.  Mix a few ingredients, press and bake a crust.  Mix a few more, pour and do a final bake.  Easy-peasy.

Coconut Dream Bars

What You’ll Need

Ingredient Notes

  • Butter.  This helps the crust hold together.
  • Brown sugar. This sweetens both the crust and the filling.
  • Flour. This forms the bulk of the crust and helps thicken the filling.
  • Eggs. This enriches and helps thicken the filling.
  • Chopped pecans.   This adds nutty goodness to the filling.
  • Shredded coconut.  This adds coconutty goodness to the filling.
  • Baking powder.  This helps lighten the filling.
  • Salt.  Salt serves as a flavor enhancer.

Special Tools

  • Baking parchment can be very helpful for removing the cookies if you line the pan with it.  Though I know my mother must have simply sprayed or buttered the pan.

Step by Step Directions

Mix the crust ingredients, then press into a parchment lined pan. Bake for 10 minutes until starting to turn golden.

press in crust

Beat the eggs slightly.

Beat the eggs

Mix in remaining ingredients.

add remaining ingredients

Spread over the crust. (Mine was still warm)

spread filling over crust

Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes until golden.  Allow to cool completely in the tin, then use parchment to pull out the cookies for cutting.

Use parchment to lift when cool

How to Serve

These would be lovely on any holiday cookie tray.  But I’d also use them as a dessert or snack anywhere a nice cookie would be welcome.  I think they’d be lovely at an Easter or Mother’s Day brunch, a baby shower or any festive event. 

We just served them for dessert when we housed a visiting cellist playing at a local music festival.  I like to think the sweet treats helped give him energy for a stellar performance!

They also make a great snack, especially with coffee or milk. 

Coconut Dream Bars, dipping in milk


The 1953 WE Energies Annual Holiday Cookie Book gives two additional variations on this. One is a Chocolate Dream Bar that is similar but adds chocolate chips.  The other is a corn flake version. 

And see the section “What are Dream Bars” above, for a comparison to Magic Bars.  

Of course if you’re now really in the mood, take a look at my Pecan Pie Cookies, which are made in a mini muffin pan and look just like tiny pecan pies.

Coconut Dream Bars


Since the filling is soft and contains egg (like pecan pie), I suspect the FDA would want them treated similarly, and refrigerated within two hours of baking.   

You should be able to freeze them, once cool.

Coconut Dream Bars

Tips & FAQs

If you don’t have parchment, you can try just spraying the pan with non-stick spray.  These are sticky, though, so you may end up crumbling the first cookie as you remove it.  Then you’ll have to eat it–baking can be rough.

I lined my pan with parchment leaving long ends that extended up over two opposite sides.  Then I sprayed the pan, including the parchment, before adding the cookie mixture.

When they were done, I let everything cool, then I used a thin knife to loosen the sides.  Next I grabbed the parchment ends to lift it out as a single cookie slab.   Finally, I cut it up into 2 x 2 inch cookies with a long knife. No crumbles then, but I think the cook might need one anyway for quality control!

Cut cookies

Crazy for Coconut!

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Dream Bars

Coconut Dream Bars

Rich, chewy and almost pecan-pie-like, Coconut Dream Bars are a classic cookie that's perfect for the holidays, for snacking or any special occasion.
Author: Inger
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Cookies & Candies
Cuisine American
Servings 16



  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


Prepare the crust.

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 pan with parchment, then spray with non-stick spray.
  • Mix the crust ingredients, then press into the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes until starting to turn golden.

Prepare the filling

  • Beat the eggs slightly.
  • Mix in remaining ingredients.
  • Spread over the crust. (Mine was still warm)
  • Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes until golden.
  • Allow to cool completely in the tin, then use parchment to pull out the cookies for cutting.
I am not a health professional and nutrition data is calculated programatically. Accuracy may vary with product selection, calculator accuracy, etc. Consult a professional for the best information.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

5 thoughts on “Coconut Dream Bars

  1. Christie

    5 stars
    These look super dreamy! I love all that coconut in there. Definitely a bake and take because the hubs doesn’t like coconut.

  2. Raymund

    5 stars
    These Coconut Dream Bars sound absolutely delicious and the story behind them adds a lovely touch of nostalgia! The combination of flavors – shredded coconut, pecans, and brown sugar – sounds delightful and perfect for a comforting treat.

  3. David Scott Allen

    I can see why you named them Dream Bars! All those wonderful flavors and textures all in one! Do you run into a lot of people who dislike coconut? I think they are coconuts!

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