Friday, December 2, 2011

Neapolitan Squares

I love squares.
I don't mean the shapes...although I don't have anything against square shaped things....I just mean squares as in the bar variety.
They are so cute and tasty and, when you don't feel like making individual cookies, they are great shortcuts. Chocolate chip cookies become chocolate chip squares.
Just like that.
These squares are a great addition to any plate. They are pretty and pink and very girly.
Perfect for a baby shower or tea with the girls or even for Christmas.
These have incredible flavor - a buttery graham crust, sweet coconut middle, and cheery cherry frosting.
They have been a popular addition to our treat plate for many years. I hope you give them a try!

Neapolitan Squares

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour

2 cups shredded coconut
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

2 cups icing sugar
2 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp Maraschino cherry juice

Preheat oven to 350. Line 9 X 13 pan with parchment paper, folding edges over to make "handles", lightly spray with cooking spray.
Combine crust ingredients together until crumbly. Press into prepared 9 X 13 pan. Bake in 350 oven for about 8 minutes, until sides are just barely starting to turn brown.

Mix together coconut and condensed milk until combined. Carefully spread over crust. Return to oven for about 20 minutes, until very lightly browned.

Remove from oven and let cool before frosting.
Beat icing ingredients together. Add a bit more cherry juice, if needed, to make it smooth and spreadable. Spread evenly over cooled bars.

Use parchment paper handles to remove bars from pan, slice and enjoy.

*Note - This can be used the same day it is made but is more difficult to cut. Chilling in the fridge overnight and then letting come back up to room temp before cutting is much easier. Plus, the flavors have to time to develop a little longer.

Here is a tip for spreading layers with less difficulty. Spoon out tablespoon sized amounts of the filling you are trying to spread evenly around the layer you are covering. Gently use your knife to pull the smaller tablespoon blobs together. (See Photo below)

This tends to work a little better than just pouring all of the filling in one big blob and trying to smooth it out. Especially if you have a fragile bottom layer that will break up if you are too rough. Just remember to take your time and slowly and gently spread your filling. If you go too fast and try and rush it you may end up destroying your bottom layer.
This way works better for me, anyway. Let me know if it helps you. :)

Oooooh....and, another tip......definitely use butter and not margarine when you are baking!! Especially for recipes like this. The butter adds a much richer, caramel-y flavor than margarine does.
Sue might disagree with me - she thinks butter in cookies makes them "too rich" so she uses margarine for her cookies. (I know, she's weird)


  1. Making them right now. wish i would have read the recipe right through first becasue it is now 10AM and I am taking them to a baby shower at 1PM. I would have meade them yesterday if I would have read all the way through.

  2. My best friends mother makes these squares! I've been trying to find her recipe for years! I am sooooo happy I stumbled on this! These are the best! :) THANKS

  3. I used your recipe three years ago and decided to make it again this year but couldn't find it, until now. I'm a guy and more a cook than baker but this is a cannot-fail dessert. I knew I'd made it in a 9"x 13" Pyrex dish but most of the other recipes are for 9" x 9" pans. That extra 4" is appreciated. Thank you Jo and Sue!

    1. Thank you for the kind words! :) We're so happy you liked it.

  4. Awesome recipe ! I add almond extract and cherry juice with red food coloring so it turns pretty pink ..
    My daughter is 37 and this is still her favorite goody every Christmas
    Thx for sharing
    P.s. I always make the day before I need it so it cuts up nice without crumbling

    1. A little almond extract would be lovely in this :) Thanks for the tip!