Friday, June 10, 2016

Pina Colada Cookie Bars

This month’s What’s Baking theme was bars. I make bars all the time and they are something that I really enjoy baking! I hadn’t actually planned to make the What’s Baking recipe this week, but I hadn’t made bars in a while and it was high time to do so. I knew I would be home, too, so I had picked these bars that take slightly more time because of the time it takes to bake and frost the bars. These bar cookies are quite special, so I thought that they fit the theme very well. Thanks to Nichole at The Cookaholic Wife for being this month’s host! 

These pina colada bars require two ingredients that are a little different: coconut extract and cream of coconut. I had the extract, but not cream of coconut. There are many coconut products on the market these days, but this is the traditional cream of coconut that is used to make the pina colada drink. I found it in the aisle with the drink mixers. It’s not super cheap, but it’s nice to splurge a little bit now and then. The cream of coconut comes in a can and it’s imperative to shake it really well or it’s just not the right consistency.

The bars are a variation on a sugar cookie bar, with coconut extract. I only used 2 teaspoons instead of the tablespoon the original recipe stated; too much extract can really be too much! The frosting is very soft, and I ended up adding an additional cup of powdered sugar to make it workable. The cream of coconut is fairly fluid, but it imparts such great flavor to the frosting. I think these bars were a great success, and they are a nice bit of sunshine on a gloomy day here in the Seattle area. 

Pina Colada Cookie Bars
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons coconut extract
2 ½ cups flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

1 cup butter, room temperature
3-4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cream of coconut
1 teaspoon coconut extract
¼ teaspoon vanilla
⅛ teaspoon salt
½ cup crushed pineapple, well drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9” x 13” baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter and sugar on medium until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla and coconut extract. Beat again on medium until fully incorporated. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix on low until the dough comes together. The dough will be sticky.

With lightly floured hands, press the dough evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for 25-29 minutes, until lightly browned along the edges and the center is set. Allow to cool.

Make the frosting: in a large mixer bowl, beat the butter, 3 cups of powdered sugar, cream of coconut, coconut extract, vanilla, and salt on medium until smooth. If the frosting seems too fluid, add up to an additional cup of powdered sugar. Add the pineapple and mix on low to incorporate.

Spread the frosting on top of the cooled bars. You will likely have more frosting than you need. Chill for 30 minutes before cutting into bars.
Recipe from Mirlandra’s Kitchen

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