Tropical 7 Layer Bars
Time for a decadent sweet treat - tropical 7 layer bars. Like the 7 layer bar you remember from picnics and summer potlucks but made with as many tropical ingredients that I could find. This post is sponsored by World Market, they asked me to make a fun summer themed tropical recipe and I knew exactly what I had in mind.
I probably should call these 12 layer bars since that is how many ingredients there really is, but the original recipe is called 7 layer bars so we will just go with that.
I love taking recipes and "Hawaiian-ifying" or "Tropical-ifying them, but I wont call them Hawaiian since they're not authentically Hawaiian. My friend Sam and I talk about this all the time how adding pineapple to a recipe doesn't make it Hawaiian yet you will see a ton of recipes with Hawaiian in the title and the only thing remotely Hawaiian is the pineapple. This is why I went with tropical for the title of these decadent cookie bars.
I was cruising through World Market a couple weeks ago to pick up a few things that we needed, coffee, some spices, beer for the husband and I saw that their Hawaiian display was already up. I stopped in my tracks to stare at all the goodness. I had been thinking about this tropical 7 layer bar recipe for a while now and when I was looking at the display I realized they had everything I needed to make them.
Everything in this recipe came from World Market except for the butter and the white chocolate chips. I have found white chocolate chips there before during Christmastime though so I know they do carry it from time to time. Not pictured is the honey and sea salt - which I realized I forgot to add in once I was editing pics, but those are items I buy from World Market regularly. I love that they carry my favorite Hawaiian red sea salt. Its the salt I use on everything, you can see it here in my slow cooker Kalua Pork reicpe post ( which I happen to have in the crockpot right now).
Traditional 7 layer bars have graham crackers are their base layer. When I saw these cookies ( which are delicious on their own by the way) I knew I wanted to use them in place of the grahams
They ground up perfectly
Most 7 layer bar recipes called for using a much larger pan, but I went with a smaller one and I am glad since the crust would be a little thicker but not too much. In a larger pan such as a 9x13, the crust would have been way too thin.
The dried pineapple and mango add a nice chewy element to the bars - using fresh would be too mushy, I just made sure I diced them up really well.
Macadamia nuts are my favorite, and these chocolate coconut chips? It took all I had not to snack on them all instead of adding them to the tropical 7 layer bars. I also added in some mango pineapple jam and a little sea salt on top - the salt is a nice balance to the sweetness of the bars. How many layers is this now? Way past 7 already I think
Traditional 7 layer bars call for sweetened condensed milk. Some recipes say to add it in over the graham cracker crust layer some say to add it on top and it sinks in as is bakes. I went with the latter and sprinkled the sweetened shredded coconut on top of that. Also, if you have a dog, and leave it home for a few min while you take your kids to school, make sure that dog can't get ahold of your bag of shredded coconut. Mine did, and when I got back from taking my kids to school it looked like it had snowed coconut in my living room and kitchen. Naughty doggy. My living room smelled like a pina colada which I would have much rather had been drinking one that vacuuming it up.
Tropical 7 Layer Bars
Tropical 7 Layer Bars Makes 16-20 bars depending on how small they are cut. Add on 60 min of inactive prep time for cooling the coconut sweetened condensed milk.
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- ⅓ c honey
- 8 tablespoon butter, divided
- 3 packs macadamia nut cookies ( cookkwees Maui Cookies brand) crushed to make 2 cups of cookie crumbs, there might be a little left over - use all of it for a thicker crust if desired
- 1 cup dried mango, diced
- 1 cup dried pineapple, diced
- 1 cup salted macadamia nuts, chopped
- ½ c mango pineapple jam
- 1 teaspoon hawaiian sea salt
- 1 cup chocolate bliss coconut chips
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 1 ¼ c shredded sweetened coconut
- Make the sweetened condensed coconut milk
- In a small saucepan combine the honey and coconut milk, stirring over medium heat until the mixture has thickened and reduced to 1 cup. Let cool then transfer to a jar and chill to let it thicken up a little more, about one hour or so. Can be made ahead of time and used fully chilled.
- Preheat oven to 350 Deg F.
- Line with foil then place 4 tablespoons of butter in an 8x8 or 9x9 pan and melt in the oven for a few minutes. Remove the pan. Combine the cookie crumbs with the remaining butter and press into the bottom of the pan
- Start layering with the remaining ingredients : top the cookie base with the chopped pineapple and mango then the macadamia nuts. Drop teaspoon sized spoonfuls of the jam in random spots next and sprinkle with the sea salt. Then add the chocolate coconut chips and the white chocolate chips. Spoon the pre-made sweetened condensed coconut milk over the top making sure it starts to soak into the layers. Sprinkle the sweetened shredded coconut all over the top and then bake for 25-30 min until the edges are golden.
- Run a knife around the edges to loosen then let cool. Cut into small squares and serve
- You can also use parchment or foil underneath the bars ( still melt the butter on top) so when the bars are done you lift them out in one solid slab then cut.
After making these a few times - I realize that lining the baking pan with foil is a must!! The cookie base is a bit more crumbly than typical 7 layer bars so you will have a better chance of cleaner cuts for nice squares when you lift it all out as a whole with the foil than cutting in the pan.
Thanks again to World Market for sponsoring this tropical 7 layer bars recipe and post. As always, all opinions are my own and thank you for helping support the brands that help make this blog possible.
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