Saturday, March 26, 2011

Butterscotch Coconut Bars

Recipe modified by You Want Me to Cook? on February 11, 2011
For a commentary-free and printer-friendly version of it, please click here.

Recipe originally published in Taste of Home, Holiday Collection 2008.

There are two things I’ve never enjoyed eating – pineapple and coconut.  This posed quite the issue when we moved to Hawaii, so I had to branch out a little.  I still can’t stand pineapple, but I grew to enjoy coconut a little.  One thing I DO like, is butterscotch, so when I stumbled upon this recipe, I figured it was worth a try.

My finished product:

© You Want Me to Cook?
Butterscotch Coconut Squares

Picture published with recipe:

© Taste of Home

Not bad, right?  My tasty little morsels stacked up quite nicely against those of Taste of Home.  I do have one complaint.  The recipe said that you are supposed to get 78 1-inch square pieces.  Now, I’ll do the math a little later, but I have to ask you – do those look like 1” squares to you?  I don’t think so.  In fact, MY squares are not 1” and they look much smaller than theirs.

for more details about what my ratings mean, go to Gretchen’s Rating System

MessNADA – this is the first thing you’re going to like about this recipe.  There is NO prep work, only a couple of pots/pans and limited mess potential.  If you’re looking for a quick low-mess dessert to make, you’ve found it.

Start-to-Finish Time: OVER TWO & A HALF HOURS – Before you click on to the next post, remember that 2 hours and 20 minutes of this recipe are cooling/chilling.  The total amount of hands-on time for this dish is about 15 minutes.

Prep Work: ALL FINGERS STILL HERE – This is a mix, melt and chill recipe.  This makes me smile.  I know you can’t see my smile, but I am.

Ease of Recipe: COOK IT IN MY SLEEP – Easy enough that with a little supervision on the stovetop, your kids can make this dessert.

OverallYUMMY – They were good and my husband, ate them until they were gone.  Granted, he is like Cookie Monster when it comes to eating any kind of sweets, but he won’t eat stuff he doesn’t like.

Recipe Information:
Time estimates are from the original publisher of the recipe, not the length of time it took me to create it.  Look for my comments below.  Nutritional Information is based on original recipe.  Any changes I make to reduce the caloric, fat, cholesterol or sodium content are not reflected in the Nutritional Information.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 5 min / 2 hour chilling
Servings: 78

Nutritional Information
  • Calories 57
  • Total Fat 4g (Saturated Fat 2g)
  • Cholesterol 4mg
  • Sodium 33mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 4g
  • Fiber 0g
  • Protein 1g

I’m always amazed at what recipe writers consider “prep time”.  To me, prep means “get ready”, “arrange”, “plan” or “set up”.  It doesn’t mean “cook”.  After doing some fast math, I figured out their prep time included melting and cooling.  Then their “cook time” consisted of ZERO cooking – just some stirring, spreading and chilling.  Here’s how I timed the recipe:
  • Prep Time = NONE
  • Cook Time = 5 minutes
  • Cooling = 20 minutes
  • Assembly Time = 3 minutes
  • Chill Time = 2 hours
My hands-on time is only 8 minutes, but remember, you’re going to have to let is set around for 2 hours and 20 minutes cooling/chilling.

As I commented on the recipe’s comment board, 78 servings in this recipe?  Please.  Put aside the fact that the picture is showing much more than a 1” piece, that size serving would barely be a morsel.

Even though their nutritional information is based on a bite of Butterscotch Coconut Square, it still isn’t bad even if you double it.  I promise you won’t need much more than a couple bites to satisfy your sweet tooth.  You’ve got a lot of butter in the recipe, but you’ve also got peanut butter, which contains good fat.

Changes denoted by red text

© You Want Me to Cook?
Butterscotch Coconut Squares
½ cup butter
1 package (12 ounces) butterscotch chips
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup miniature marshmallows
½ cup flaked coconut
Cooking Spray

Ingredient Notes:
Butterscotch Chips­ – the original had a bag that was 11 ounces.  Now, I haven’t checked at the “regular” grocery store, but I found a 12 ounce bag at Aldi, which was much less expensive.  I opted for an extra ounce of chips.

Creamy Peanut Butter – the original recipe didn’t specify they type of peanut butter to use.  I looked at the picture closely, and you certainly can’t see any nuts in their picture (you’d see it in the creamy portion); therefore, I determined they used creamy peanut butter.  Besides, the nuts would conflict with the fluffiness of the marshmallows.

Cooking Spray – the original recipe had the pan being greased with butter.  It has fewer calories and is easier to use cooking spray.  If you feel the need to have that extra butter taste (1½ teaspoons) you can always buy butter-flavored cooking spray.

Equipment Needed:
© You Want Me to Cook?
Butterscotch Coconut Squares
9" square pan
Extra-large heavy saucepan
Large spoon
Plastic Spatula (scraping/spreading)

Equipment Notes:
Extra-large Heavy Saucepan – the instructions said to melt the butter, butterscotch chips and peanut butter in the microwave or heavy saucepan.  Since there is a substantial amount of stuff to melt and then stir (especially after the marshmallows are added) I went with an extra-large saucepan.  It was a good thing too.  I would have had difficulty stirring the marshmallows in a smaller pan and keeping them in it.

(1)  Grease a 9" square pan with cooking spray; set aside.

If you want to use the butter as the original recipe states, use 1½ teaspoons to grease the pan.

(2)  In a heavy saucepan, melt the butterscotch chips, peanut butter and remaining butter until smooth. Cool for 20 minutes.

(3)  Stir in marshmallows just until combined (do not melt marshmallows).

It is going to look “marshmallowy”.  Yes, I just made up a word.  Don’t worry that they don’t melt.  You aren’t making butterscotch rice krispie treats.  For the most part, they are supposed to remain intact.

(4)  Pour into prepared pan; sprinkle with coconut.

(5)  Refrigerate, uncovered, for 2 hours or until firm. Cut into 1" pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Let’s do a little math 9” square gets 9 (1”) rows and 9 (1”) colums.  9 x 9 = 81.  I still can’t figure out how they got 78 pieces.  Maybe they use a special kind of 9” square pan that warps the fundamentals of math in some manner.  Who knows.

On a less sarcastic note, be careful when you cut it.  It can easily crack, like fudge.  Don’t drag and pull with a knife.  Do little chopping motions.

Overall, it was  nice low calorie, low fat and low cholesterol treat, even if you eat more than 1 square!  As I said at the beginning, I’m not the biggest fan of coconut, but I really enjoyed this.  I’d be withholding information if I didn’t admit that I got sick of them kind of fast.  I think it is because they are really rich and you only need 1 or two to satisfy your sweet tooth.  Also, there are only 2 of us in my home so that makes a lot of butterscotch coconut squares to eat.  I would make them again, though.  Most definitely.

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