These gorgeous Coconut Cherry Bars are the August cookie for the Cookie Carnival hosted by Tami over at Tami's Kitchen Table Talk. Yes, I know it's September 6. Better late than never, especially for these bites of goodness.
Before making these I took a few minutes to read all the comments people left about them on the Betty Crocker website. Comments ranged all over, from loving the bars to hating them and everything in between. Some people didn't think there was enough cherry flavor, some wanted more coconut flavor. Want to know what I kept thinking? "OMG! These sound so much like the Rum Nougat from See's Candy (my favorite candy from See's)! I'm going to add rum flavoring to mine!" In addition to the rum flavoring, I increased the coconut from 1/2 cup to 1 cup, and decreased the vanilla a little (though I probably won't next time).
One of the comments I totally disagree with is that the recipe was not easy to make. I thought it was very easy to make. The hardest thing was chopping the walnuts and cherries. Yeah, super easy. I do have to say that I didn't actually chop my walnuts. I hate chopping nuts. They fly all over and make such a mess. This time I put a bunch of walnut halves in a zip-top bag and whacked them with my rolling pin (French-style. I hate rolling pins with handles). Barbaric, I know, but it totally worked. I may never chop walnuts with a knife again.
These bars don't have a strong flavor (one of the complaints on the website), but I really liked the flavor it did have. Sometimes it's nice to have a bar cookie that's not chocolate or lemon (stay with me here), and the coconut-cherry flavor of these bars was really nice. Of course, I also loved the rum flavor I added. I even think I'll add more next time. And I can't forget to mention the gorgeous pink color the cherries added. These cookies were really very pretty and would be a very nice addition to a dessert table. See? We're not replacing chocolate and lemon, we're adding. All is well...well, delightful, and scrumptious. :)
Note: these were much easier to cut into nice-looking squares after they sat in the fridge overnight.
Want the recipe? Click here to go to the Betty Crocker website.
Yum! Aren't they gorgeous?