Almost Sausalito Cookie Bars

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars Recipe
The nubby chocolate chip landscape of a favorite gluten-free cookie bar.

I ask you. What beats coconut and chocolate in a cookie recipe- especially if they happen to be gluten-free? Coconut and chocolate and macadamia nuts.

Okay, I confess. My all-time favorite cookies in those innocent pre-gluten-free days were not some hoity-toity gourmet bakery confection but those bagged big and bumpy Pepperidge Farm chocolate chunk cookies you could get in any East Coast grocery store. Yup. If memory serves me well, my go-to favorite featured coconut and chocolate. They might have been called Sausalito. Or some such California-evoking moniker.

In our quest to tweak one of our favorite dessert bar recipes this week my cookie-making husband and I came up with a chocolate chip coconut cookie bar that tastes an awful lot like those beloved crunchy-chewy Pepperidge Farm gems. We didn't happen to have any macadamia nuts on hand- but if we did I would have added some to the recipe.

And for those of you who loved dunking those Pepperidge Farm Nantucket Cookies into a glass of ice cold milk- Babycakes, these are dunk worthy.

Almost Sausalito Cookie Bars Recipe

If you have more patience than I did today, Dear Reader, you could wad up pinches of the dough [I'd chill it first], roll them into balls and plop them onto a baking sheet. Press very lightly- slightly. Hola! Cookies. Check after baking 8 to 10 minutes. I'm not sure how fast they'd bake but the average cookie bakes in ten to twelve minutes or so.


Mix in a mixing bowl by hand- with a wooden spoon- until moistened:

2 cups Pamela's Ultimate Baking Mix* or your own self-rising GF baking and pancake mix
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup organic light brown sugar
2 medium free-range organic eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil or organic shortening
3 teaspoons bourbon vanilla extract

This dough is rather stiff and not sticky or gooey.

Add in:

1 heaping cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
2/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts


Preheat oven to 350ºF [if you live above 5,000 feet, set your oven temp to 375ºF].

Using a rubber or silicone spatula, press the cookie dough evenly into a lightly oiled 10x13-inch baking pan. Add extra chips to the top, and lightly press into the batter.

Bake on a center rack until the bars are set and golden brown- about 21 to 25 minutes- depending upon your oven and altitude. Do not over-bake.

Allow the bars to cool on a wire rack before cutting.

Makes 18 bars.

These freeze well- wrap tightly and store in a freezer bag. Thaw before serving.

Recipe Source:

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Karina's Notes:

If you do not have Pamela's try another all purpose leavened GF flour/baking mix; or substitute your own personal favorite GF flour mix and add a teaspoon of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (or guar gum- caution guar gum is from legumes).

To make this autism diet friendly use a non-dairy self-rising gluten-free baking and pancake mix and casein-free chocolate chips.

Enjoy sugary treats in moderation. Gluten-Free Goddess advises consuming no more than 2 tablespoons of sugar a day. 


Shannon said...

Ooh! I will have try these now that I have some Pamela's. I think my Whole Foods actually has it for cheaper than most of the online sources I saw! I even have the coconut and chocolate chips in my cupboard. Sadly, I am the only one here, so I would eat them all myself. I wonder how well they freeze...

Karina said...

Hey Shannon! They freeze fabu. I wrap each one in foil and toss them into a big freezer bag. They defrost quickly; I like them slightly cold. Yum.

Dianne said...

Mmmmmm! These look gorgeous, and I really miss cookies. Doubt very much that I can get Pamela's baking mix here. I'm sure I can get something similar though!


Karina said...

Hi Dianne! I imagine any favorite flour mix will work; and if it doesn't have leavening in it, I posted amounts to add.

Yvonne said...


I have your blog on my favorites list. I tried one of your enchilada recipes and really enjoyed it. I’ll be trying more. I simply love your food photos. You make each dish look mouthwatering! After traveling abroad, I came to realize Americans are the best at photographing food. It’s a real gift to make food look appetizing. Most especially gluten free food! I’m glad you are doing what you love. Your passions serve you well.


sherry said...

Yowza, that looks good!!! I bet they are better than Pepperidge Farm. I'm quite fond of their Chessman Shortbread.

michelle said...

Oh I definitely love Pepperidge farm cookies...but I always went nuts for the milanos... I think I could find it in my heart to go nuts for your Almost Nantucket Bars too - they sound delicious!

Kathy said...

I'm heading to Whole Foods later today to start my Thanksgiving shopping and am going to pick up a couple boxes of Pamela's mix so I can try these cookies out. My waistline doesn't need them, but I certainly do!


Ivonne said...

Anything with coconut is good in my books!

Karina said...

Thanks so much, Yvonne!

Hey Sherry! They're mighty good. Even for breakfast. ;-)

Michelle! Yes! I miss Milano's too. Especially the mint.

Hi Kathy! We GF goddesses all deserve a [truly] tasty treat. ;-)

Hola Ivonne! Yup. Coconut adds so much to gluten free flours, I'm afraid I add it to everything lately! ;-)

Janine said...

Hi Karina. My 4 year old daughter and I just made these cookies. This is the first GF cookie that I've tried to bake. They smelled so good in the oven. And when we could finally taste them...! This is one of the best chocolate chip cookies that I've ever made (even before being GF). I think the coconut makes them wonderful! Thanks for sharing all of your wonderful recipes and thoughts. You have made my transition to GF a little easier! By the way, have you ever come across a good GF biscotti?

Karina said...

Hi Janine! I'm so glad! [I'm actually heading into the kitchen now - to make another batch.]

Tawnya Walsh said...

Katrina you are my new hero! My son has been wheat-free for 3 yrs (I bake with spelt for him) & my daughter just started gf 3 days ago. A true tragedy for my cookie monster...but these cookie bars are OUTSTANDING! (this is my FIRST gf recipe that I have raved about...all others have tasted like sawdust) I love to bake & am eager to try some of your other recipes now. THANK-YOU & bless you for sharing!!

Karina said...

Thanks, Tawnya! You made my day! And it's only 9:08. AM. ;)


Amy said...

I made these the other day and they were delicious!! I'm not a coconut fan, and we didn't have any on hand, so I put in GF oats instead with a little sucanat for extra sweet that I might have lost without the coconut. They were YUMMY with oats in them. I ate the entire pan myself...oops. Thanks for posting so many great recipes. The brownie recipe is another one of my favorites! I'm going to try the buckwheat chocolate chip cookies next...

Cherylharris said...

any chance you'll be going through old ones to make them lower glycemic/vegan?
I grew up down the block from a Pepperidge farm factory store, and it imprinted on me in a big way!

Caryn said...

Thanks a mill for the recipe. I've been experimenting for a while. You've come up with a great cookie bar dough. I altered it a bit to make a recipe that reminds me of my mom's toffee bars. I've already made them four times in the last two weeks. The guys in my house just devour them!

Cliff Girl said...

OH WOW, Karina!
Our GF/CF/no egg daughters just had a Christmas party. I made these bars and they were a hit! No one even asked about the ingredients--the cookies were so good they just consumed them instead!

Dula said...

I've substituted Brazil nuts for the macadamia nuts in a recipe calling for the latter. My cookie eaters haven't seemed to notice the difference. I buy them in bulk so I'll be able to bake this recipe as soon as I get the flour mix from Whole Foods. My neighbor showed me his bag of Pamela's today and highly recommended it. Fate?

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