These Mango Bars are no ordinary mango bars. They are the perfect marriage of a nutty macadamia shortbread crust and creamy mango pudding. This post is sponsored by MacFarms® but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Have you ever had mango pudding at a Chinese Dimsum restaurant? It is one of my favorite desserts, and the inspiration for today’s recipe.
These mango bars have a macadamia nut shortbread crust and a mango coconut pudding set with gelatine on top. They are very similar to these jello cheesecake squares. The crust is baked, but the top is no-bake.
Mango Bar Recipe Ingredients and Substitution Tips
- Macadamia nuts – I’m using my go-to MacFarms natural macadamia nuts. Use code “wildwildwhisk” for 25% off at their online shop.
- Mangos – I prefer champagne mangos, the variety with yellow skin rather than red mangos. I find that red mangos tend to be more fibrous and yellow mangos tend to be sweeter.
- Flour – to make the macadamia shortbread crust.
- Sugar – for both the crust and filling. While the mango is very sweet, we’ll be mixing it with unsweetened coconut milk, so we’ll still need to add sugar. Though you can adjust the amount of sugar to your taste. I simply use granulated sugar, you can use any type of sweetener. If you opt for liquid sweetener, the mango pudding may set softer, so beware.
- Butter – unsalted butter is used for the crust. Salted butter may be too salty to be a good substitution here because the recipe for the crust only calls for ⅛ teaspoon of salt.
- Salt – only a little bit of salt is used in both the crust and filling to enhance the flavor.
- Coconut milk – full fat coconut milk from the can is used in the filling. You could substitute half and half or cream in the same amount.
- Vanilla – used in both the crust and the filling. We don’t want to use too much in the filling in case it overpowers the mango flavor, but a tiny splash gives it a good balance.
- Gelatine powder – I used 2 envelopes of Knox unflavored gelatine powder that comes in a pack of 4 envelopes. You could substitute gelatine sheets but I have not tried it, here’s a guide to that.
How to make Mango Bars
Let’s break this puppy down into layers!
Start with a buttery shortbread crust
You will want to allow the crust to cool completely before adding the mango filling, this can take a few hours. You can make the crust the night before.
- Ground the macadamia nuts in a food processor and add it to a small mixing bowl with flour and salt.
- Whisk together to distribute evenly
- Add softened butter, sugar and vanilla to a mixing bowl
- Beat until combined and fluffy. Then add the dry ingredients mixture to the beaten butter.
- Mix just until a dough forms.
- Transfer the dough to a lined baking pan.
- Press it into an even layer.
- Bake until golden brown and let it cool completely.
Make the mango filling
- Add coconut milk to a saucepan and sprinkle the gelatine powder over. Let it sit for 5 – 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, puree mango in a food processor.
- Press the mango puree through a mesh sieve into a mixing bowl.
- Add sugar and salt to the mango puree, mix until combined.
- When the gelatine is hydrated, bring the mixture to a boil to completely dissolve it.
- Strain the coconut milk/gelatine mixture through the mesh sieve directly into the mango mixture.
- Stir the mixture to combine. Add a splash of vanilla and stir again.
- Pour mango filling on top of the cooled crust and refrigerate until set.
It will take about 2 – 3 hours for theses mango bars to set completely. Make sure you don’t cover it when the filling is still warm to avoid condensation.
Baker’s Tips & FAQ
- Lining the baking pan with parchment paper can seem like making origami, if you don’t enjoy origami, you might find it frustrating. Try using foil instead so you can easily press it into the shape of the pan. Though I find that parchment will release better once the filling is set.
- If you want to adjust the amount of sweetener used in the filling, you can start with half of the sugar added to the mango. Then once you finish mixing in the coconut milk, you can taste the mixture and add more sweetener to your liking.
- Double the recipe and make it in a 9”x13” baking pan. It’s perfect for a summer potluck at the park.
What type of mango to use for this mango bar recipe?
I used 2 large champagne mangos, bought from the Asian grocery store. These are also called Carabao mango, Manila mango or Philippine mango. They are very sweet and not so fibrous. A good substitution is honey mango or Ataulfo mango. These are smaller but I see them all the time at regular grocery stores and Costco.
Once peeled and diced, you’ll want about 300 g of diced mango, roughly 1 ½ to 1 ¾ cups. Then pureed in a food processor and pressed through a strainer to remove any fibrous parts, this yields about 270 – 280 g puree.
Can I use frozen mango?
If mango is not in season, you could use frozen mango, but you have to be careful which brand you buy. I haven’t found a brand of frozen mango that is really sweet and not too fibrous. If you have a favorite brand, leave it in the comment!
My suggestion is to try Asian grocery stores or Mexican markets instead of your typical American grocery stores. And also, you could get mangoes in season and freeze them yourself in case you want delicious mangoes in winter.
How to store mango squares?
These mango bars should be kept in the refrigerator and they are best served cold. Note that gelatine doesn’t work under freezing temperature, so don’t try freezing these mango bars. They should last a week under refrigeration.
So there you have it, these are definitely not your typical mango bars but I hope you’ll enjoy them nonetheless. I have to tell you, I started out trying to make mango crumb bars but wasn’t at all happy with the end result. I tested this recipe over and over again until I settled on the mango pudding filling and I don’t regret it one bit!
Love mango? Try these
- 8”x8” square baking pan
- 4 oz unsalted butter (room temperature, 113 g)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar (50 g)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (135 g)
- ½ cup Macadamia nuts (ground in food processor, 68 g)
- ⅛ tsp kosher salt
Mango pudding filling:
- 1 cup mango purée (see notes, 280 g)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100 g)
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 1 can coconut milk (full fat, 13.5 oz, 400 ml)
- 2 packets of gelatine powder (14 g)
- ⅛ tsp vanilla extract
Make the crust:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Butter an 8”x8” square baking pan and line with parchment paper. Use a large square piece of parchment to completely cover the bottom and sides, make a few cuts in the corners so you can neatly tuck and fold it over the sides, fold the excess over and clip them with some metal binder clips.
- Add softened butter, sugar and vanilla to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until incorporated and fluffy.
- Stir together flour, ground macadamia nuts, and salt in a small mixing bowl to distribute evenly. Transfer the flour mixture into the stand mixer and mix until a dough forms.
- Transfer the dough to the prepared baking pan and press it out into an even layer.
- Bake for 25 minutes until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely.
Make the mango pudding filling:
- Add coconut milk to a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatine powder over the room temperature milk and allow to bloom for 5 – 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, prepare the mangos by peeling, pitting, dicing and pureeing in a food processor. Run the puree through a mesh sieve to get rid of any fibrous part. Add this to a mixing bowl or a large measuring cup (using something with a spout will help with pouring later).
- Add sugar and salt to the mango puree and whisk until well combined. Set aside.
- Once all the gelatine has been hydrated, bring the coconut milk mixture to a boil over medium heat and make sure all the gelatine dissolves completely.
- Strain the coconut milk and gelatine mixture through a mesh sieve directly into the mango puree mixture. (You can use the same mesh sieve used earlier for the mango puree.) Stir until combined and smooth. Add vanilla extract and stir again to combine.
- Pour the mango pudding mixture into the baking pan over the baked macadamia nut shortbread crust. Refrigerate uncovered until set, about 2 – 3 hours.
- When ready to serve, loosen the sides and lift the whole thing out of the baking pan using the excess parchment paper as handles. Cut into squares. Keep refrigerated.
- I used 2 large champagne mangos, bought from the Asian grocery store. They are much larger than the yellow mangos you would usually find at an American grocery store, like Sprouts. These are almost as big as the red mangos.
- Once peeled and diced, you’ll get about 300 g of diced mango, roughly 1 ½ to 1 ¾ cups. Then pureed in a food processor and pressed through a strainer to remove fibrous parts, this yields about 270 – 280 g puree.
- If mango is not in season, you could use frozen mango, but you have to be careful which brand you buy. I haven’t found a brand of frozen mango that is really sweet and not too fibrous. I would suggest Asian grocery stores or Mexican markets instead of your typical American grocery stores.
- If you want to adjust the amount of sweetener used in the filling, you can start with half of the sugar. Once you finish mixing in the coconut milk, you can taste the mixture and add more sweetener to your liking.
- I used Knox unflavored gelatine powder that comes in a pack of 4 envelopes.
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