German Chocolate Cookie Bars

4.96 from 45 votes
75 Comments

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German Chocolate Cookie Bars have a chewy chocolate cookie layer topped with gooey homemade German chocolate coconut frosting.

German Chocolate Cookie Bars cut in squares.

These German chocolate cookie bars are perfectly chewy with a crunchy, yet gooey coconut frosting topping. They are heavenly and SO EASY to make! I have probably made these German Chocolate Cookie Bars at least 5 times since the beginning of the year. You can’t go wrong with these bars. They are a new favorite at our house, so gooey and delicious. Oh and did I mention they are super EASY? I almost always have all the ingredients on hand so I make these whenever I have a sweet tooth and I don’t want to make a trip to the store.

Ingredients to make German Chocolate Cookie Bars including devil's food cake mix, milk chocolate chips, vanilla, coconut, eggs, butter, sweetened condensed milk and pecans.


Ingredients in German Chocolate Bars

  • Chocolate Cake Mix – You can use German Chocolate cake mix, Devil’s Food cake mix, or any other chocolate cake mix
  • Butter – Unsalted works best for this recipe
  • Eggs – You need one for the crust and one for the filling
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • vanilla extract
  • Pecans
  • Shredded coconut
  • Milk chocolate chips – You can also use semi-sweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate chips.
Baked German Chocolate Cookie Bars in a baking dish.

How to Assemble German Chocolate Bars

  1. Prepare the crust according to the directions below
  2. Combine the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, egg, pecans and coconut and pour evenly over the warm crust. You can heat this mixture in a saucepan over medium heat until just hot but we have found that it works best pouring the mixture directly over the warm chocolate crust.
  3. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the top
  4. Bake until the top is a light golden brown. Cool completely before serving.

German Chocolate Cake Mix vs Devil’s Food Cake

As you will see in the recipe below you can use either a German Chocolate Cake Mix or a Devil’s Food Cake Mix. Originally we started off ALWAYS making it with German chocolate cake mix but when I was craving these and found all I had in the pantry was a Devil’s Food Cake mix I made it with that and haven’t gone back since. They were way more moist and have a richer flavor. Since I made this discovery months after we posted the first time, it was too late to change the name.. so we still call them German Chocolate Cookie bars but really we like them best when they are “Devil’s Food Cake bars with coconut topping”. Both ways are delicious so if you want to keep with the German theme, feel free to stick with it. You really can’t lose.

Mixing bowl with cake mixture. Wooden spoon on the side.

Making German Chocolate Bars From Scratch

No box cake mix? No problem! You can make the chocolate cake mix in this recipe from scratch. Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cups cake flour (all purpose flour will work fine if you don’t have cake flour)
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl. Stir well and use this cake mixture in place of the box cake mix below.

Hand picking up a German Chocolate Cookie Bar.

Variations and Additions

  • Caramel – Drizzle melted caramel over the top
  • Almonds – for more of a crunch you can use chopped almonds instead of pecans
  • Easter style – Toss the coconut in a tiny bit of green food coloring for an Easter twist. Add chocolate Cadbury Mini Eggs over the top as another fun addition.
  • Fruity – Add in some dried cherries or cranberries to the brownie batter.
  • Spice – For extra warmth in this cookie, you can add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon or nutmeg.
  • Extra chocolate – Add a handful of chocolate chips to the brownie batter for an even chewier, fudgier brownie layer.
German Chocolate Cookie Bars cut in squares. Coconut, pecans and milk chocolate chips on the side.

Tips for Storing German Chocolate Bars

To ensure you’re getting the longest shelf life from these yummy cookie bars, here are some quick tips for storage:

  • Make sure the bars are cooled completely before storing.
  • Store the bars in an airtight container or Ziplock bag at room temperature for 3-4 days.
  • You can also pop them in the refrigerator where they’ll stay fresh for about a week.
  • Freeze leftovers too! Wrap the bars tightly in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container for a couple of months. If you’re freezing more than one layer, place a piece of parchment paper in between the layers of brownies so they don’t stick together. Thaw in the refrigerator or on the counter until they’re room temperature.
Two German Chocolate Cookie Bars stacked.

You can’t go wrong with these delicious German Chocolate Cookie Bars but if you are looking for MORE delicious treats like this one, give some (or all) of these a try:

  • Caribbean Coconut Fudge Bars: These tasty bars come straight from St. John’s in the Caribbean. Chocolate and coconut is ALWAYS a winning combination! You will love all the delicious layers of these bars!
  • Coconut Lime Cheesecake Bars: Craving a taste of the islands but looking for something more on the fruity side? You have GOT to try these coconut lime cheesecake bars. One of the most popular recipes on our site!
  • Coconut Pecan Cookie Bars: These cookie bars are SO easy to whip up. No cake mix needed! Only a few easy ingredients and you’ve got yourself dessert in about 30 minutes!
  • Peanut Butter Bars: Better than your lunch lady used to make!
  • We have MANY MANY more cookie and bar recipes. Try some and let us know your favorites!
Cut German Chocolate Cookie Bars on parchment.

German Chocolate Cookie Bars

4.96 from 45 votes
German Chocolate Cookie Bars have a chewy chocolate cookie layer topped with gooey homemade german chocolate coconut frosting. 
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Dutch, German
Servings 12

Video

Equipment

  • 9×13 inch pan

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 1 box devil's food cake mix not the kind with pudding added* (or German chocolate cake mix. See notes above)
  • 1/2 cup butter melted
  • 1 large egg

Filling:

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan (I used non-stick cooking spray).
    9x13 greased dish.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the cake mix, butter and egg.
    Mixing bowl with cake mixture. Wooden spoon on the side.
  • Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. The crust should not come up the sides. Bake for 7 minutes and remove from the oven. The crust will not look done.
    Baked German Chocolate Cookie Bar base.
  • While the crust is baking, mix together the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, egg, pecans and coconut.
    Mixing bowl with coconut pecan mixture. Wooden spoon on the side.
  • Pour evenly over the warm crust and sprinkle evenly with the chocolate chips.
    Unbaked German Chocolate Cookie Bars in a baking dish.
  • Bake for 24-30 minutes, until the top is a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely before cutting into squares.
    Baked German Chocolate Cookie Bars in a baking dish.

Notes

  • Any kind of chocolate cake mix will work for this recipe. Or you can make your own cake mix from scratch! Use 3 ½ cups of our homemade cake mix and add 2 tablespoons cocoa powder.
  • Try drizzling a little caramel over the top to add a decadent touch
  • To freeze, place finished bars in an airtight freezer-safe container. Separate bars by wrapping individually or separating with parchment paper. 

Nutrition Information

Calories: 372kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 5gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 333mgPotassium: 191mgFiber: 2gSugar: 22gVitamin A: 300IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 77mgIron: 2.2mg

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her three beautiful girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

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4.96 from 45 votes (26 ratings without comment)

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made these bars and could have eaten them all. This recipe will be made often. Ideal for lunches or snacks.

  2. I’m going to make these as growing up all six of us siblings wanted our mom to make her traditional German Chocolate Cake recipe for our birthday! This recipe is easier but I bet tastes so good and yummy from the comments!

  3. 5 stars
    I’m not much on cookies, except an occasional Oreo. However, these are my all time favorite cookies, ever!!! I love these cookies!!!

  4. I am now thinking there is more to this recipe than what the instructions say. You all must be thinning the topping in order to pour it. This is a complete disaster! The topping doesn’t pour…it’s too think. The crust is not done so just squishes and tears. It is a complete loss. Now I am out a dessert for my upcoming potluck tonight. Disappointed.

    1. I am sorry this recipe didn’t turn out for you. The topping should be fairly runny due to the sweetened condensed milk. Did you use a 14 oz can?

  5. 5 stars
    I can’t believe how delicious and easy this was to make. Because we are chocolate lovers in my family I used 3/4 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips. Definitely will make again. 2/3 of the pan in freezer.

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