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Coconut Cream Squares

Recipe Level: Easy to Moderate Recipes

Not overly sweet, light and delicious, these coconut cream squares will be a huge hit! This is a great dessert to make ahead of time, as it lasts a long time (and it gets better the next day). It's a lazy man's version of a coconut cream pie with a shortbread base, a coconut custard and topped with cream and more coconut.

Baked by Alie Romano

Professional Baker and Recipe Developer

* For best results, read the entire article. Every step matters, and I’ll provide helpful tips along the way!

Coconut Cream Squares

Here is a fun summer treat that you’re going to love! These coconut cream squares are my new favourite dessert. They have a thick cookie crust, are filled with a light airy coconut pudding, and are topped with a cloud of cream and toasted coconut. Trust me you’ll want to make these!

Coconut cream squares are a great make-ahead treat for any occasion, especially for backyard BBQ’s and for Father’s Day. My Dad absolutely loves these treats and would eat the whole pan if my Mom and I allowed him to. I found the squares get better the next day, letting all the flavours absorb together and softening the cookie crust. They are so delicious and light, and not overly sweet; making them the perfect summer treat.

These squares are a take on the classic coconut cream pie but in a square form, making them a convenient dessert option for travel and large gatherings.

Coconut Cream Squares

Ingredients

There are 3 parts to the squares; the crust, the filling and the topping. Each layer creates a delicious harmony of flavours and textures for the perfect square.

  • Unsalted butter
  • Granulated sugar
  • Unsweetened coconut
  • All-purpose flour
  • Eggs
  • Full milk/whole milk
  • Coconut milk
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Whipping cream
  • Coconut extract (optional)
  • Cornstarch
  • Icing sugar
  • Baking powder
  • Salt

Tips For Perfect Coconut Squares

  1. Room Temperature Ingredients: Make sure that your butter is at room temperature before mixing it with the sugar for the crust. This helps in achieving a smooth and even texture.
  2. Pudding-Like Filling: When making the coconut cream filling, ensure that you whisk consistently and bring it to a boil slowly. This helps in achieving a smooth and creamy pudding-like consistency.
  3. Sealing the Coconut Cream: Cover the coconut cream with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the cream. This prevents a skin from forming and keeps the cream fresh.
  4. Whipping Cream Peaks: Whip the whipping cream until soft peaks form. Be careful not to over-whip, or you’ll whip it right into cream.
  5. Toasted Coconut: Toast the coconut for the topping just until it turns golden brown. This really enhances the flavour and adds a delightful crunch to the squares.

How To Make Coconut Cream Squares

Step One: Make your base. In a large mixing bowl beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla. Mix to combine. Add your dry ingredients and stir to combine. Transfer the cookie dough into your 9×9 pan and using your palm and fingers press the dough evenly in the pan to create a layer. Bake until the edges start to brown. Once cooled, stick the pan into the fridge.

Step Two: Make your filling. In a medium size saucepan mix sugar, cornstarch and salt until combined. Whisk milk and coconut milk into dry ingredients on medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add egg yolks and slowly bring to a boil, whisking consistently. Once the mixture has come to a boil, lower the heat and mix for another 60 seconds until the mixture is a pudding-like consistency. Remove from heat and add butter, vanilla and coconut. Stir to combine. Place your coconut cream in a glass bowl. Cover with plastic wrap; pressing the plastic on top of the coconut cream creating a seal. Refrigerate for approx. 1 hour or when ready to use.

Step Three: Make your topping. In a separate bowl whip whipping cream, icing sugar and vanilla together until soft peaks form. Set aside. Toast coconut in a saucepan on medium heat until lightly browned. Set aside. Now remove your cookie crust and coconut cream from the fridge. Layer the cream on top of the cookie crust, followed by the whipping cream and sprinkle the toasted coconut on top. Let set, slice into squares and serve.

Coconut Cream Squares

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Coconut Cream Squares
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Coconut Cream Squares

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Not overly sweet, light and delicious, these coconut cream squares will be a huge hit! This is a great dessert to make ahead of time, as it lasts a long time (and it gets better the next day). It’s a lazy man’s version of a coconut cream pie with a shortbread base, a coconut custard and topped with cream and more coconut.

  • Author: unknown
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 mins
  • Yield: 1 9×9 pan 1x
  • Category: Squares
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Units Scale

Crust

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Filling

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups full milk
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk, canned
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut

Topping

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 Tablespoons icing (powdered) sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup toasted unsweetened coconut

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line a 9×9 baking pan with parchment paper (leaving paper to overhang, so you can easily pull out the squares using the extra parchment paper). Set aside.
  2. Make your crust. In a large mixer beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla. Mix to combine.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to your butter mixture and mix until combined.
  4. Transfer the cookie dough into your 9×9 pan and using your palm and fingers press the dough evenly in the pan to create a layer.
  5. Bake for approx. 15 minutes until the edges start to brown. Once cooled, stick the pan into the fridge.
  6. Meanwhile, make your coconut cream filling. In a medium size saucepan mix sugar, cornstarch and salt until combined. Whisk milk and coconut milk into dry ingredients on medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.
  7. Add egg yolks and slowly bring to a boil, whisking consistently. Once the mixture has come to a boil, lower heat and mix for another 60 seconds until the mixture is a pudding-like consistency.
  8. Remove from heat and add butter, vanilla and coconut. Stir to combine.
  9. Place your coconut cream in a glass bowl. Cover with plastic wrap; pressing the plastic on top of the coconut cream creating a seal, so no air can get through. Refrigerate for approx. 1 hour or when ready to use.
  10. Make your topping. In a separate bowl whip whipping cream, icing sugar and vanilla together until soft peaks form. Set aside.
  11. Toast coconut in a frying pan on medium heat. Set aside.
  12. Now remove your cookie crust and coconut cream from the fridge. Layer the cream on top of the cookie crust, followed by the whipping cream and sprinkle the toasted coconut on top. Let set in the fridge for approx. 1 hour or until set. Slice into squares and serve.

Notes

Squares are best once set in the fridge for at least an hour or the next day.

They will last up to 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 square
  • Calories: 162
  • Sugar: 14.2g
  • Sodium: 63mg
  • Fat: 8g
  • Saturated Fat: 6g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 21.3g
  • Fiber: 0.9g
  • Protein: 2.5g
  • Cholesterol: 56mg

Did you make this recipe?

Write a review and let me know!

Share a photo and tag me on Instagram @bakingforfriends_

I can’t wait to see what you’ve made! xo alie

FAQ’s

Is there a difference between canned coconut milk and coconut cream?

Canned coconut milk and coconut cream differ in consistency and fat content. Coconut milk is thinner, while coconut cream is thicker and richer. The higher fat content in coconut cream gives it a creamier texture and contributes to its rich flavour. When refrigerated, coconut milk may separate into a creamy layer and a watery layer, whereas coconut cream is already thicker and may not separate as much.

Can I freeze coconut cream squares?

Unfortunately no, coconut cream squares can not be frozen as freezing can affect the texture and consistency of the layers. They are best enjoyed fresh or refrigerated for a few days.

Can I make these squares ahead of time?

Yes, coconut cream squares are perfect for making ahead of time. They actually taste better the next day as the flavours have a chance to meld together. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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Alie Romano

Meet

Alie

I'm a professional baker, recipe developer & photographer behind Baking For Friends. I specialize in classic & comforting baking. I hope you enjoy the recipes & find inspiration of your own to bring your family & friends together over home-cooked food!

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