I grew up with a sweet spot for maraschino cherries. We always fought over who got to eat the cherry off of any sundae we split as kids. This is my Grandmother’s Cherry Coconut Bars dessert recipe and it totally brings me back to my childhood. They’re chewy, nutty and sweet – full of flavor with a shortbread bottom. She was always finding an excuse to make them and now I bake them regularly in my kitchen. The only problem is how quickly they disappear!
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Dessert bars are one of my favorite things to bake because you only make one big batch. Unlike cookies, you aren’t sitting around the oven doing multiple batches. These Cherry Coconut Dessert Bars are made in a 9×9-inch baking dish and it’s a two part dessert. You bake the bottom crust first and then mix up the topping while it bakes. The end result is chewy, crunchy and sweet – a bar that’s dotted with bright red maraschino cherries!
I’ll find any occasion to make these, but they’ve become a tradition to bring to church potlucks. It’s a nice break from cake and cookies on a dessert table. Plus, the recipe is old-fashioned and most people are unfamiliar with it. They’re always pleasantly surprised and asking me for the recipe after that first bite. You just can’t go wrong with these Cherry Coconut Dessert Bars.
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How To Make Cherry Coconut Dessert Bars
There aren’t any crazy kitchen tools required for this recipe. In fact, it’s pretty easy to throw together. Investing in a great 9×9-inch baking dish is a must-have for your kitchen. To ensure that the bars don’t stick, you can use Baker’s Joy Non-Stick Cooking Spray or line the pan with parchment paper. Either works great!
What To Serve With Cherry Coconut Dessert Bars
You don’t need to serve the bars with anything, but I absolutely love making some homemade whipped cream from scratch or vanilla ice cream. A spoonful of ice cream with the cherry and coconut crunch is unbelievable. Then add a hot cup of coffee for contrast and you’ve got winning dessert! My kids love to enjoy them with an ice cold glass of milk. Everyone enjoys them in their own way.
How To Keep Your Cherry Coconut Bars Fresh
After the bars have baked and cooled, you’ll want to cut them into individual servings. Place any leftovers in an airtight food storage container that can seal the freshness. The bars do not need to be refrigerated. Enjoy them for 5-7 days for the best fresh taste.
Can You Freeze Cherry Coconut Dessert Bars?
Yes! You can absolutely freeze these dessert bars after making them. Place the individual bars in a freezer bag to prevent freezer burn. Keep them frozen for up to three months and let them thaw, on the counter, until they’re room temperature. That can take up to 12 hours. Enjoy them once they’re thawed.
Recipe Substitutions You Can Make
There are a few recipe substitutions that you can make to this Cherry Coconut Dessert Bar recipe. If you aren’t a fan of pecans, you can use chopped walnuts. They have a more intense flavor, but the same great crunch. You can also use margarine instead of butter for the crust, but you won’t get the buttery flavor of traditional shortbread.
How To Make Cherry Coconut Bars For Christmas
Want a fun twist on this recipe for your Christmas treats? I love making these dessert bars with half red maraschino cherries and half green maraschino cherries. You can find them during the holiday season (thanks to everyone making fruitcakes) and they add a festive touch of color together. They taste the same – just green. Look for them in the produce section of your local grocery store, where they keep dried fruits.
What You’ll Need From The Grocery Store:
- Unsalted Butter
- All-Purpose Flour
- Granulated Sugar
- Baking Powder
- Shredded Coconut
- Maraschino Cherries
- Non-stick Baking Spray OR Parchment Paper
Step-By-Step Directions To Make Cherry Coconut Bars For Dessert
In a large bowl, combine flour, butter and granulated sugar.
Mix together, using an electric hand mixer, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Spread until thin, with fingers or a measuring cup, into a 9″ square pan (sprayed with non-stick baking spray). Bake for 25 minutes in a 350º oven until golden brown. Let it cool.
In the meantime, add remaining ingredients together in a small bowl. Stir until combined.
Spread the mixture over the shortbread layer and place it back to the oven.
Bake for another 25 minutes at 350º. Let cool for 15 minutes before cutting into individual servings. Serve with coffee, whipped cream or ice cream. Store in an air-tight food storage container.
- 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, softened
- 3 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
For The Topping:
- 2 Eggs, Slightly Beaten
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
- 3/4 Cup Pecans
- 1/2 Cup Shredded Coconut, Sweetened
- 1/2 Cup Maraschino Cherries, Chopped
- Non-Stick Baking Spray (or parchment paper)
- Mix 1 cup flour with butter and sugar until smooth.
- Spread into an 8" square pan that's been sprayed with non-stick baking spray.
- Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
- For the topping: stir remaining ingredients together in a separate bowl.
- Spread over the top of the shortbread layer, using a spatula or hands.
- Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
- Let cool before cutting. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.
Pecans can be substituted with chopped walnuts. Place all leftovers in an airtight food storage container.
Serving Size:1 Bar
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 362Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 197mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 2gSugar: 30gProtein: 4g
**Nutrition information is calculated by a third party. Actual nutrition values may vary.