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Gluten- and dairy-free coconut dream bars

Considering the prevalence of food allergies, more and more people are demanding quality sweets that are also allergen-friendly.  As it should be! You deserve quality treats even if you can’t digest some of the common ingredients in sweets. This recipe for Coconut Dream Bars is perfect for people who are gluten- and/or dairy-sensitive. What makes the recipe work is the balance between the topping and the crust.  Since the topping is so sweet, the amount of brown sugar is reduced in the shortbread crust. Making the crust thicker and adding pecans to it also creates a nutty density that helps counterbalance the sweet topping. If you haven’t already started making it, you should!

● 2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
● 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
● 1/2 cup pecans
● 1/4 teaspoon Salt
● 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
● 1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
● 1 cup cream of coconut
● 2 large eggs
● 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
● 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
● 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
● 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
● 1/2 teaspoon Salt

Reprinted with permission from America’s Test Kitchen. For more information about Cook’s Illustrated Magazine, Cook’s Country Magazine, and other publications by America’s Test Kitchen call 800-526-8442. Selected articles and recipes, as well as subscription information, are also available online at