Any-Time-of-the-Year Four Layer Bars

By Charlotte Wasserman

These bars are my new go-to for an easy, homemade treat! They’re perfect for a big group because you will still have some left over for your own private stash. Cutting these into small, bite-size squares makes for the perfect, anytime, sweet treat! So delicious and rich!

Ingredients:

For the crust

  • 1 ½ cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup of light brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 3 ¾ cups of all purpose flour

For the bars

  • 2 ½ cups of coarsely chopped pecans
  • 2 ½  cups of shredded coconut
  • 1 (14 ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk
  • ¾ cup of caramel sauce. I used Smucker’s sundae syrup and squeezed it out to cover the other two layers.
  • 1 ½ cup of a mix of chocolate chips. I used semisweet, milk, white, and butterscotch chips.

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Make sure to let some of the parchment paper hang over all the sides; this will help when you have to take the bars out of the pan.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. It should only take a few minutes. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine all ingredients. Reduce the mixer speed to low; add the flour and continue mixing until crumbly. Empty the mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even layer. Bake until the edges are light golden brown, about 15 minutes.

3. Remove from the oven. Sprinkle the chopped pecans evenly over the crust. Then sprinkle the shredded coconut for the next layer. Next, pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly over top and drizzle the caramel sauce. Sprinkle with the assortment of chocolate chips and return to the oven until the edges are light brown. It may take about 20 to 25 minutes, but keep checking it because you do NOT want the bars to be overcooked.

4. Place pan on a wire rack to cool completely, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before cutting into squares. I made these in advance and put them in the freezer. When I was ready to eat them, I let them defrost a bit and then cut them into bite-size squares. The bars can be kept at room temperature or in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, for up to 6 days.