Cherry Coconut Pecan Squares

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Recently I turned to one of my elders for some direction on holiday treats. I don’t make many deserts, so I thought the best way to learn was to seek the culinary expertise of my Aunt Suzy, a certified sweet treat Jedi.

I made two visits to her kitchen where she allowed me a small glimpse into her recipe archives – hundreds of recipes contained in binders, boxes and books that, combined with her experience, is a treasure trove of cooking knowledge. I emerged from my visits to her Mecca of cookery with a pile of recipes to make over the next few weeks for Christmas. Some are traditional, others are not, all are unique and 100 percent delicious.

This recipe is the first of “Aunt Suzy’s Holiday Treats,” It was written on a piece of stationary and calls for a frosting mix that hasn’t been sold on shelves since the 1970s. (I found a substitute from the original manufacturer.) The dish utilizes a cake mix and pre-made filling, making it simple to create and I challenge anyone who creates it to eat just one.

I’m amazed at the little bits of information I’m able to pick up making sweets like this. I know I will be using the cake mix foundation from this recipe again, it really makes for a rich base to pile other sweet flavors onto.

This treat reminded my of cherry cheesecake, it was so rich and the cherries really cut through the rest of the yummy flavors. The crunchy coconut pecan topping added nice texture and is the perfect compliment to the other layers. This treat is a must try, it’s easy to make and packs a delicious flavor.

Eat well, cook often ...

Makes 32; 45 minutes cooking; 2 hours cooling
1 box Yellow cake mix
1/4 C Butter melted
2 Eggs
1 Can Cherry pie filling
1 C Coconut flakes
3/4 C Brown sugar
1/2 C Pecans chopped
1/2 C Flour
3 Tbs Butter

Make dough for base
In a bowl mix together cake mix, eggs and melted butter into a ball of dough, then press into a prepared 9” x 13” baking pan.

Make topping
In another bowl mix together coconut, brown sugar, flour and pecans until well combined, then blend in butter with a pastry cutter until well incorporated.

Assemble, bake, let cool and serve
Spread cherry topping on dough base, then sprinkle coconut pecan topping over cherry filling. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely, 2 hours. Cut into squares and serve.

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