If you can’t take that vacation, at least you can make these amazing tropical bars and pretend. 🙂
Alright folks, September is here and it’s our last hoorah of summer flavors before we find ourselves waist deep in fall baking (which I am dearly looking forward to!). With that in mind, today we are going to go somewhere tropical – or at least as close as we can get with what we have on hand in our pantries. I’m talking island retreat, no television, no bills to pay, no work to be done, just relaxing and spending time with good books and family. And by family, I mean my mama, because I am not allowed to make these bars unless I happen to be driving in the proximity of her house. She and I have always loved all things coconut!
Let’s get crackin’ because Mama lives an hour away so I gotta get on the road…
To make these you’ll need: golden oreo cookies (generic is fine but Mama swears this makes all the difference so don’t try to substitute graham crumbs or anything crazy like that), shredded coconut*, milk, coconut cream instant pudding mix, whipped topping, crushed pineapple, cream cheese, a little powdered sugar and a little butter.
*Confessional: I cannot cook with coconut unless I reserve half the bag to eat during the cooking process – just to keep my strength up of course ~grin~.
You’ll need to crush your oreos. If you want to be fancy, you can use a food processor. If you want to do it like I do, put them in a big ziplock bag and beat the mess out of them with a meat mallet – or roll over them with a rolling pin. It kinda depends on your level of aggression at the time of making these. Then, stir the melted butter into the crushed cookies and press them really tightly into a foiled lined 8×8 baking dish.
Place cream cheese, half of the whipped topping, powdered sugar, and drained pineapple in a medium mixing bowl. Beat this with an electric mixer until well combined.
Spread over cookie crust. Save that bowl because we are about to use it again and you don’t have to wash it just yet.
In that bowl you just used, place milk and pudding mix. Beat with same electric mixer (you can use the same beaters without washing them) or a wire whisk until smooth and well blended. Allow to sit for a little bit to let it thicken, about five minutes. Then, spread it on top of your coconut and cream cheese layer.
Spread the rest of your whipped topping over the top and sprinkle liberally with coconut (if you haven’t eaten it all). Refrigerate for a few hours to allow it to fully set.
Oh. My. Goodness! Pretty as a picture, especially when you add a cherry on top!
Best enjoyed on your back porch
- 20 golden Oreo cookies (or generic version)
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temp
- 8 ounce whipped topping, thawed
- 8 ounces crushed pineapple, drained
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup whole milk
- 3.4 ounce package coconut cream instant pudding mix
- Line an 8x8 baking dish with aluminum foil or waxed paper and set aside.
- In a large food processor, add the oreos and butter and pulse them until finely crumbed up and combined. *You can also do this in a ziplock bag if you crush them really well with a meat mallet and just work a little harder to get them all mixed up with the butter. Mama usually uses her little electric chopper and just adds a few cookies at a time along with a little butter each time. Either way you go, get those crushed and mixed with the butter and then press the mixture into the bottom of your prepared dish.
- In a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, half of the whipped topping, powdered sugar and the pineapple (drained). Beat until well blended. Spread the mixture over the cookie base.
- In the same bowl, (no need to wash it) combine the milk and coconut pudding mix. Beat together with an electric mixer (you can use the same beaters you used in previous step without washing them) or a wire whisk until well combined. Allow to sit for a little bit to thicken, about five minutes. Once thickened, spread the pudding mixture over the top of the cream cheese layer.
- Spread the remaining of your whipped topping all across the top. Garnish with the shredded coconut. Refrigerate for a few hours to allow them to set up fully before cutting and serving. Top with a cherry.
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”