What is a Paradise Pie?
I'm not sure how many of you have been to Chili's or, if you have, have tried Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie. If you haven't, I'll try to paint a bit of a picture for you. Imagine a large layered square - like a huge blondie, but with a graham cracker crust, walnuts, coconut and chocolate chips. All warmed through, topped with ice cream and a drizzle of caramel and chocolate sauce. It is easily the best dessert ever - or at least that's my humble opinion. It was removed from the menu years ago, made a brief come back and seems to have gone again. Unfortunately for me, even if it was still available, there are no Chili's Restaurant chains near me in Britain anyway.
Needless to say, I've spent a lot of time over the years daydreaming of the paradise pie. This finally culminated with trying to make my own version of the epic treat! The following recipe is a bit of a work in progress, capturing the main flavours that made the dessert my fave! I would welcome feedback if anyone will recipe test!
This recipe is divided into two main sections: the cookie crumb base of the bars and then the blondie.
For the Base
- Butter - unsalted butter, melted. You can use salted butter here, especially if you are used to baking with salted butter. The salt may add a bit of a salty flavour, but this is not usually significant.
- Lotus Biscoff cookie crumbs - these cookie crumbs add a caramelised flavor to the recipe. You can also use graham cracker crumbs here.
- Chocolate chips - I like using semi-sweet chocolate morsels, but you can also use dark chocolate or milk chocolate here.
For the Blondies
- Butter - unsalted butter, melted. Microwave in short 10 second bursts until melted through or melt in a small pan on the stovetop over medium heat. You'll need this divided - some for the blondie and some for the biscuit base.
- Light brown sugar - also known as muscovado sugar. Measurements are always firmly packed for brown sugar.
- Superfine granulated sugar - or caster sugar. You can also use standard granulated here, but I like to use a fine grind of sugar in baking.
- Eggs - 1 whole egg and 1 yolk.
- Vanilla extract - I'm obsessed with vanilla extracts and will always urge you to use the best quality! Vanilla comes through in bakes and a good quality vanilla will add to the overall flavor of your creations.
- Flour - all purpose flour or plain flour will work in this recipe.
- Cornstarch - in the UK this is called cornflour (but US cornflour is a completely different ingredient, so don't try to substitute in the US with cornflour here!!).
- Baking powder
- Chopped walnuts
- Sweetened flaked coconut - you can use dessicated coconut, however, this is not as sweet and usually less flavorful than the sweetened shredded coconut.
- Note: You could use different add-ins (like pecans instead of walnuts or butterscotch morsels instead of chocolate chips), but these are the flavours of the original and my personal faves.
- Caramel - or toffee sauce, to drizzle on the top.
How to Make a Paradise Pie Bar
1. Line the Pan
The first step in making my Paradise Pie tray bake is to line the pan. This recipe is suited to an 8" square brownie pan. In order to more easily remove the bake at the end, I'd strongly recommend lining this with parchment paper. Lining a square tin is quite straightforward. It is best accomplished by cutting two long rectangles, 8" wide and about 15" long - enough to overhang the edges. Criss-cross these in the pan, to avoid having to press awkwardly in the corners.
2. Chocolate Covered Cookie Crust
Once lined, pre-heat your oven. In a small bowl, mix together your cookie crumbs and the melted butter for the base. You are looking for this to be a bit of a packable consistency, like you would for a cheesecake base. Press this into the bottom of your lined tin. Over the top, add one cup of chocolate chips. Place this in your oven as this preheats for about 10 minutes. It doesn't matter if the oven is at temperature yet - this is just to help melt your chocolate chips. Once softened, spread them over the cookie crumb base with a spatula and set aside.
3. Coconut Walnut Blondies
In a large bowl, whisk or beat together the melted butter and your sugars until fully combined and emulsified (about 2 minutes). Add your egg, yolk and vanilla, incorporating fully. In a separate bowl, mix together your dry ingredients: the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Add this to your sugar mixture, beating to combine. Finally, fold in your chopped walnuts and coconut, reserving a small bit of each for decoration at the end.
Pour your batter into the tin and spread evenly over the base. I found that spooning dollops onto the melted chocolate helps to keep this more even - otherwise, the melted chocolate will be pushed out from under the batter and may pool in patches on your base.
Place your pan in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean. I like my blondies and brownies on the gooier side, so it is fine for them to be a bit underdone in the toothpick testing stage, but try to ensure that the centre is well past being liquid or you will have trouble cutting!
Tip: it is actually best to allow blondies and brownies to cool completely before slicing. This means they can set up as fudgy without being too messy to handle!
4. Finishing Touches
Once you remove your pie from the oven, leave this to cool in the tray. I would recommend cooling completely to help preserve the structure and shape. While cooling, you can top this with a drizzle of caramel or toffee sauce and the reserved walnuts and coconut.
When ready, remove this from the tin by pulling up the lining - the bake should lift out easily in one go. Place this on a plate and slice into desired pieces. It is pretty sweet and rich, so I would suggest slicing into 16 pieces.
For serving, a piece warmed up with some ice cream wouldn't go amiss! Or eaten room temperature, they make for an excellent breakfast, dessert or snack. Based on experience, they keep relatively well for a few days, airtight at room temperature to preserve them best.
These coconut and walnut blondie bars keep well for about 3 days at room temperature if stored in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap.
You can also freeze the baked bars. Allow these to cool completely before cutting and placing in a freezer safe container or plastic bag. If storing in a bag, you may wish to flash freeze first to allow the caramel to set more firmly (or avoid drizzling with the caramel until after defrosting and ready to serve).
Well, this is my personal ode to my favorite dessert! This is not quite a direct copycat recipe of the Chili's menu classic. It is instead a more friendly recipe for the homebaker looking to get the same basic flavors in a family dessert.
The coconut walnut and chocolate chips with a cookie crust and fudgy vanilla filling is as close to Chili's Paradise Pie as I've made!
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- Ferrero Rocher Brownies
- Samoas Brownies
- Chocolate Walnut Cake
- Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Chocolate Coconut Macaroons
Coconut Walnut Blondie Pie
- 8" square baking tray
For the Chocolate Covered Cookie Crumb Base
- ¼ cup unsalted butter melted
- 1¼ cup Lotus Biscoff cookie crumbs or graham cracker crumbs
- 6 oz chocolate chips semi-sweet
For the Blondie
- ⅔ cup unsalted butter melted
- 1 cup light brown sugar also called muscovado, firmly packed
- ⅓ cup superfine sugar or caster sugar
- 1 whole egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ cup all-purpose flour or plain flour
- ½ tablespoon cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 4 oz chopped walnuts
- 2 oz sweetened flaked coconut or dessicated coconut
- caramel or toffee sauce
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175C or 160C Fan) and line your baking tin with parchment paper.
- Mix together the cookie crumbs and ¼ cup melted butter. Press this into the base of the lined pan and top with chocolate chips. Place in heating oven for 10 minutes to soften the chocolate chips. Remove and carefully spread the chips across the base with a spatula to smooth the melted chocolate.
- In a large bowl, beat together the ⅔ cup melted butter and sugars until fully combined. Add the egg, yolk and vanilla, beating to incorporate.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Add this to the sugar mixture, beating to combine.
- Reserve a small handful of chopped nuts and coconut for decoration later. Fold the rest into the batter until evenly incorporated. Try not to over mix.
- Spoon the batter into the pan, over top the chocolate covered base and spread evenly. Place in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted about an inch from the edge comes out mostly clean.
- Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for about 2 hours (see note). While cooling, top with drizzle of caramel or toffee sauce and the reserved walnuts and coconut.
- Remove from the pan by lifting out the parchment paper lining. Transfer to a plate to slice and serve.