Some combinations just make sense in life. Strawberries and chocolate, peanut butter and jelly, and pineapple and…. you guessed it: coconut!
If you’re anything like me and crave something tropical tasting that isn’t a Piña Colada at one in the afternoon, this recipe is for you! This recipe is a taste of a tropical vacation in a baked good. With sweet, crunchy coconut flakes and juicy crushed pineapple, these pineapple coconut bar squares are easy enough to make when you’re craving them but addictive enough that you won’t want to stop after one bar!
This recipe would be great for summer get-togethers, barbecues (grilling every delicious meat known in your own backyard sounds delightful), or even just a fun treat when you’re stuck inside and Hawaii seems even farther away than you could dream. In addition to being tasty, they are quick and pretty healthy as far as baked goods/treats go. Low in calories, sugar, and saturated fat, you don’t have to feel guilty about this baked good! (You don’t even have to tell your kids that they’re secretly healthy either.
Because of the unsweetened pineapple in the recipe, you’re sneaking in a good source of Vitamin C, manganese, and potassium in one of these squares. With a soft, buttery shortbread base and a sweet, tropical topping, these squares are a match made in heaven! Here is how you make these delightful little bars with a shortbread base!
Pineapple Coconut Squares Recipe:
Prep Time: Around 15 minutes
Bake Time: 45 minutes
Total Time for Bars: 1 hour
Recipe Makes 16 squares/servings with 142 calories per bar.
Dietary Restrictions/Warnings: Gluten, dairy, pineapple, coconut.
What you need for Shortbread Base:
1 1/4 cups flour (All Purpose works great)
1/2 cup butter (not melted)
1/4 cup sugar
What you need for Topping/Top of Bars
1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
One 14 oz. can unsweetened crushed pineapple (Make sure to drain as much liquid as possible! You definitely don’t want soggy bars.)
1/4 cup flaked/shredded coconut for mix (Doesn’t matter sweet or unsweetened. Choose sweetened if you care about the sweet flavor but unsweetened if you’re trying to lessen the sugar intake per bar.)
Extra 1/4 cup flaked/shredded coconut for top of bars
First things first, preheat your oven! These bars come together so quickly that you do not need to waste any time waiting to prep your oven for baking. Set your temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (around 177 degrees Celsius) and get a pan. Depending on how thick you would like your bars, choose a wider pan. I prefer using an 8×8 inch nonstick pan, but if you like thin bars you can use a bigger size. I will warn you that if you choose a bigger pan keep a close eye on the bars during baking because they will brown much quicker and will burn if you bake them the normal amount of time.
Time to mix! Starting with the shortbread base, measure your ingredients for the shortbread portion and mix the flour, butter, and sugar. You can use a pastry blender if you have it, but a fork or something similar will work as well. Make sure not to use melted or warmed butter because you want your shortbread base to resemble crumbs that are pretty coarse and not at all batter-like.
Once your mixture is the correct texture, use clean hands or a spatula to pat in your ungreased nonstick pan until evenly distributed and spread to cover the base of the pan. You definitely do NOT want uneven bars because then someone might get pure pineapple and coconut but no shortbread, and let’s just say that that would be a tragedy of its own.
Pop your pan in your preheated oven for 15 minutes, keeping an eye on the shortbread to make sure it doesn’t burn if using a larger pan. While you are waiting for your base of baking and are starting to smell the lovely aroma of sweet shortbread in your oven, start on the topping.
Taking a medium-large bowl, cream together your butter, sugar, and egg until thoroughly mixed and no clumps or colors are unevenly mixed. To your mixture slowly fold in the crushed unsweetened pineapple that you have drained thoroughly, and finally your first 1/4 cup of coconut shreds or flakes. Spread mixture over your baked shortbread base, and sprinkle final 1/4 cup of coconut (which can be first toasted on a skillet for added texture) evenly over your pineapple/coconut mixture. Return the pan to the oven (still at 350 degrees Fahrenheit) and bake for around 25 to 30 minutes.
It is extremely important to keep an eye on your bars during the last 10 minutes of baking because you want them to be a perfect golden brown. Too much baking and you’re going to have dry, overly crunchy bars. Take the bars out once they have reached perfection, and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Enjoy your tropical pineapple coconut squares and share with friends, family, or just yourself! Luckily these divine little squares are so low in calories, sugar (only nine grams per square!), and saturated fat (4 grams) that you don’t even have to feel guilty about eating more than one. In addition to this, these squares would be great for families on-the-go looking for a sweet treat to share with little ones that you don’t have to feel guilty about! What’s better is serving it with a nice cup of tea.
These bars only take one hour total to make from start to finish, so it won’t put too much of a damper on an eventful afternoon or day you have planned. These bars are kind of a fruity, creamy topping with a cookie-like base, which makes them sound much more complicated and fancy than they actually are.
Once you whip up a batch, you won’t fear the task of making these Pineapple Coconut Squares! Out of all the recipes I’ve tried, this is by far the best and easiest for the amazing results I have gotten so consistently each time. I hope you try this recipe and enjoy a little slice of paradise-no matter the season!