1a. Desiccated coconut is called "Sweetened Coconut Flakes" in America. It is finely shredded coconut, not the large flakes.
1b. Ensure you use sweetened condensed milk (thick sweet milk) that comes in cans, NOT evaporated milk.
2. You could also use a 9 x 9" / 23 x 23" square pan or a 9-10"/23-25cm round cake pan.
2a. If you cool the base, this creates a neater line between caramel and base and you'll also get a slightly thicker caramel layer because virtually no caramel sinks into the biscuit base. Whereas if you pour hot caramel onto a hot base, a little bit of caramel sinks in. Both are just as tasty, but cooling the base will make them look neater.
3. If you don't stir constantly, little brown specks will appear, being caramel caught on the bottom of the saucepan. It's not a major problem if you have some brown specks, it seems to disappear when baked.
4. To make a smooth top, refrigerate the caramel until set but not fridge-cold. The bottom of the pan will be slightly warm still and the caramel will be cool but not cold - about 30 - 40 min in the fridge. That way the chocolate doesn't set too quickly when you pour it on. Pour the chocolate on then shake the pan gently to spread it evenly and smoothly.
To make a textured top as per the photos, refrigerate the caramel until fridge-cold - 1 hr+ in the fridge. When the chocolate is poured on, it will firm up faster. As it starts to thicken, use a spatula or knife back and forth across the surface.
5. To slice neatly, remove from the fridge 5 minutes before cutting. Run knife under warm (not hot) water, wipe dry then cut quickly. For very neat slices, clean knife between each cut - I did this for the photos. Don't make the knife too hot otherwise the chocolate melts when you cut it and smears into the caramel.
6. STORAGE: Airtight container for up to 5 days, but if it's so hot that the chocolate melts, keep it in the fridge and bring to room temperature before serving.
7. COCONUT FREE BASE: A few readers have asked if it is possible to make the base without coconut. This recipe won't work without coconut but the shortbread base in my Lemon Bars
recipe is a perfect substitute. Please DOUBLE the recipe.