Cherries, coconut and chocolate plus cream cheese all combine to make these bars totally scrumptious!
Once a month we have a Fellowship Dinner at our church. That means we are requested to bring a salad or appetizer, a main dish and some dessert. Oftentimes, I focus more on doing the main dish as I often try to make a Filipino dish which depending on the recipe can require some prep time. It is during this time when I wish to make a simple dessert that won’t compete for attention with the main dish. So I did some google search and looked for a dessert that uses a cake mix, after all I already had one on hand, it was just a case of what do I do with it.
I found quite a few recipes online for Coconut Cherry Bars and they truly looked delicious. However, I find that they ask for too much sugar on the recipe like 2 1/2 cups of icing sugar on top of having sweetened cherries and choco chips at that. While I like sweets, I don’t like it to be so sugary to the point of being sickening. I want a touch of sweetness but a hint of something else that would provide some contrast to the sweetness would be even better. And then I thought of adding cream cheese as that surely would be a nice and creamy contrast to the sweetness of the other ingredients. So as not to mask the cream cheese taste, I only used about 1/2 cup of icing sugar. After all the cake mix is already sweet and the maraschino cherries and choco chips would also add extra sweetness so there’s no need to overdo it with more sugar. This formula and the addition of 3/4 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut to the mix truly make these cookie bars sublime. It’s still quite sweet but not sickly sweet! Please enjoy!
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1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted Butter, melted and cooled
1 box white cake mix
3 large Eggs
1/2 cup confectioner’s Sugar
1 (8 oz) package Cream Cheese, softened
1/2- 3/4 cup semi-sweet or dark Chocolate Chips
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded Coconut
1 (10 oz) bottle Maraschino Cherries, drained and coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 325F. You need a 9 x 13 baking dish/pan for this.
Stir together the melted butter, cake mix and 1 egg until moistened. Press evenly over the prepared pan.
Using an electric mixer, beat the softened cream cheese, sugar and the remaining eggs until relatively smooth and free of big lumps.
Stir in the chocolate chips, shredded coconut and the cherries. Spread evenly over the cake mix layer. Bake in the preheated oven for about 40-45 minutes or until the cake springs back when pressed lightly. Let cool fully in the pan before slicing.
Cut into squares. Makes 20-24 bars. Enjoy!