bcmom's kitchen

bcmom's kitchen

Friday, January 18, 2013

Cranberry Coconut Pecan Bars

The Food section of our newspaper recently held a Holiday Cookie Contest and published the winning recipes along with several runners-up.  There are some really good looking cookies here, but the ones that caught my eye were these Cranberry Coconut Pecan Bars. (can you guess why? yep, it's the cranberries!)

I just had to make these today.  My whole kitchen smelled amazing, and then I was required to taste them, right?  So good!  The perfect combination of crunchy and chewy, sweet and tart - I'm in love!

I pretty much followed the recipe, only cutting down the sugar just a bit, but there are a couple other changes I will make next time (there will be a next time!) and those changes are reflected here.

Cranberry Coconut Pecan Bars


  • 1-1/4 cups flour (part whole wheat)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dried cranberries
  • 2 lightly beaten eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cranberry juice (or orange juice)
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup chopped dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cranberry juice (or orange juice)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Prepare crust by stirring together flour, sugar and salt in medium bowl. Mix in melted butter and then stir in pecans and cranberries. Press mixture onto bottom of ungreased 13-by-9-inch pan. . Bake in preheated oven 10 to 15 minutes or until light brown around the edges. Leave oven on.
  3. While crust bakes, in bowl, beat together eggs, granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons cranberry juice, the orange peel and vanilla. Stir in pecans, cranberries and coconut. Pour over hot crust and spread evenly.
  4. Return to oven and bake 25 to 30 minutes more. Remove to a wire rack and let cool slightly (about 10 to 15 minutes) in pan. Cut into bars while warm.
  5. While bars cool, mix together powered sugar and 1 tablespoon cranberry juice. Add more sugar and juice as needed to achieve drizzling consistency. Drizzle over cut bars.
Makes 24  

    The original recipe called for cutting the butter for the crust into the flour and sugar until it resembles course crumbs.  A lot of bar cookie recipes seem to be written that way, but when I make my mom's Coconut Lemon Bars, I always just melt the butter and mix it in.  It's much easier and works just fine - so I will be making this crust that way from now on.  I used 1/4 cup whole wheat flour in the crust and brown sugar instead of granulated for more flavor - cut down from 3/4 cup to 1/2 cup.  I think even 1/2 cup whole wheat or even half whole wheat and half unbleached flour would be fine.

    The original recipe called for mixing the eggs, sugar, juice, orange peel, and vanilla for the filling, pouring that over the hot crust, and then sprinkling it with the pecans, cranberries and coconut.  That worked fine, but next time I'm just going to mix the pecans, cranberries and coconut in and then spread the whole thing over the crust - again like those lemon bars.  It will be less messy and easier to spread evenly.  It will still bake up just fine.  I used the cranberry juice this time because I had some in the fridge (cranberry apple, actually), but I think this would be great using some fresh-squeezed orange juice.  You're already using the orange for the peel or the zest, why not squeeze it and use the juice too?

    Ready to bake

    Also, the original recipe says that it makes 30-35, but I can't imagine anyone actually cutting them that way.  That would be 5 one way and 6 the other or 5 one way and 7 the other.  I have a hard enough time getting things even when I can first cut down the middle.  Cutting them into 24 pieces makes very nice-sized bars - and I still couldn't stop at just one.

    For more cookie recipes, be sure to check out the Holiday Cookie Contest.



    I love the combo of cranberry & coconut! I bet these are wonderful!

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