Chocolate, Butterscotch and Coconut Grutch Bars

Sharing a holiday family favorite today!

These Chocolate, Butterscotch and Coconut "Grutch" Bars are a holiday favorite and are so easy to make!

We’ve officially entered the month of December, which means it’s officially okay for me to start sharing all of the cookie and bar recipes I’m loving this year, and these Chocolate, Butterscotch and Coconut Grutch Bars are no exception.

I mean, these bars have so many layers of goodness, packing tons of indulgent, delicious flavor into every bite. They are incredibly rich (which is why they are dubbed “grutch” bars in our household) so a little serving goes a long way, but they are just too decadent to pass up. There’s a reason these are my mom’s most requested baked good from us kids once Christmas rolls around!

These Chocolate, Butterscotch and Coconut "Grutch" Bars are insanely delicious and bound to be an instant hit over the holidays.

So here’s what all goes into said Chocolate, Butterscotch and Coconut Grutch Bars (since I couldn’t reasonably fit every ingredient in the recipe title):

A layer of OG graham cracker crust
Flaked coconut
Chopped walnuts or pecans (you choose your fave! I love both.)
Butterscotch chips
Chocolate chips
And, finally, a hefty drizzle of condensed milk

Now, if that doesn’t make you just start drooling already, I don’t know what will!

Seriously though, this combination is deadly and I’m thinking I need to find multiple other ways to combine all these flavors in different types of baked goods to whip up throughout the year. Once every 12 months is not enough. What do you think? Any ideas?

So many layers of goodness in these Chocolate, Butterscotch and Coconut "Grutch" Bars!

The other thing I love about this recipe (besides how insanely tasty it is) is how easy it is to make. I mean, you don’t even need a mixing bowl, people!! That’s right, we layer everything right into the baking dish and pop it into the oven. And seeing as I have a newborn attached to me prettttty much 24/7, this is just the kind of recipe I need if I have any hope of baking up any sweet treats this year.

One little bit of advice: As tempting as it may be, practice all your will power not to cut into these bad boys before they are completely cool. In fact, you may want to pop them into the refrigerator for a little bit to reset after they are done baking and before you slice. Otherwise, you may have a bit of a crumbly mess on your hands (although if this ever happens to me I use it as an excuse to “taste test” and proceed to probably eat the equivalent of one or two entire bars in crumbs.)

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love all of the sweets and treats recipes that show up on blogs, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. this time of year. I find that I’m always super ambitious at the beginning of the month and bookmark tons of recipes to try, only to fall back on a few favorites once I realize how little free time I actually have. This year, I’m already being forced to slow down a bit with the baby and all, and I’m trying not to put too much pressure on myself as far as getting in the kitchen. I try to cook or bake a little something every day, but if it happens, great and if it doesn’t, I’ve got a beautiful baby girl to spend this special time with.

Give the gift of these indulgent Chocolate, Butterscotch and Coconut "Grutch" Bars this holiday season!

The good news is, I know mom will be making plenty of Chocolate, Butterscotch and Coconut Grutch Bars to keep us satisfied, at least until the New Year when it will really be time for me to get my butt back into pre-pregnancy shape!

Until then, do you have any favorite family recipes to share with me for the holiday season? I’d love to see them or Pin them for future, so please leave ‘em in the comments below! Xx

Chocolate, Butterscotch and Coconut Grutch Bars
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 

These decadent bars are full of so many layers of goodness they're bound to be a hit with your friends and family this holiday season.

Course: Dessert
Servings: 24 bars
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup butter (one stick)
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, toasted
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (325 degrees Fahrenheit if using a glass pan.) 

  2. Melt butter in a 9-by-13 inch baking dish and sprinkle on graham cracker crumbs. Press down lightly to form a crust.

  3. Sprinkle, in layers, the coconut, nuts, butterscotch chips and chocolate chips.

  4. Drizzle condensed milk evenly over the top, trying your best to avoid getting any on the inside of the pan.

  5. Place in preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. 

  6. Cool completely before cutting into bars. You may want to refrigerate the bars once they have cooled slightly to speed the process along and prevent the bars from becoming too crumbly. 

  7. Keep in a resealable container either at room temperature (if it’s not too warm wherever you are) or in the refrigerator. 

Kiwi Coconut Cooler

Hooraaaay for Fridaaaay!

This Kiwi Coconut Cooler is the perfect, refreshing mocktail with a fun hit of color!

And for delicious kiwi-flavored beverages like this Kiwi Coconut Cooler. In fact, if you take nothing else away from this post today, I hope it’s that kiwi purėe is a fantastic, highly underutilized addition to any cocktail or mocktail. Talk about drinking the rainbow!

I’m not going to lie, sometimes it’s a little tricky to continue coming up with fun, new, innovative drink recipes every week, especially when I’m on the no-drinking train (just a few more months!) But if nothing else, I’ve learned that there are almost just as many options for nonalcoholic drinks as there are alcoholic ones, and it’s been pretty darn fun to get creative and see what I can come up with.

My inspiration for a kiwi-based drink initially came from those OG Snapple juices (do they even exist anymore?) I haven’t seen one in ages, but for some reason I kept thinking about the strawberry-kiwi flavored one and whether or not I could make a more natural, less artificially-sweetened version from fresh fruits.

So, I set out to make a kiwi-strawberry mocktail, but once I took inventory of everything I had on hand in my kitchen to make a delicious beverage, I realized I had pulled out a bunch more tropical, coconut-y flavors. Plus, I didn’t want to mess up the color of that vibrant green purėe by trying to muddle in some fresh strawberries. I knew that clear, only slightly cloudy coconut water and milky orgeat would do the trick for not only preserving that bright green color but perhaps even magnifying it. And hey, the taste combo isn’t bad either!

A Kiwi Coconut Cooler is the perfect special, healthy drink for any night of the week.

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t own a juicer, so I have to get creative when I’m mixing up my own fresh fruit juices. For the kiwis, I found that my immersion blender did just the trick to get a nice, juicy purėe that would be easily sippable. I had initially thought I would need to strain out the seeds and other pulp, but everything broke down beautifully and I decided there was something kinda fun about those little black flecks suspended in the drink.

Aside from a boatload of fresh kiwis, the only ingredients you’ll need in order to have a Kiwi Coconut Cooler in your hand in no time are the aforementioned coconut water and orgeat, plus a splash of club soda. Oh, and I couldn’t leave out the strawberries completely, so I threw some on for garnish.

If you’ve had a long week and are currently fortunate enough to partake in boozy beverages, I highly recommend the addition of some white rum to this already tropical-vibe inspiring drink. It’ll get you in summer weekend relaxation mode in no time at all and itching to jump in the pool.

As for my weekend, my mom is coming to town to celebrate my niece’s birthday, and we’ve got a Saturday girls’ brunch date planned which I’m pretty darn excited for. Other than that, we’ll just be continuing to get our house organized and finding places for all of the things we’re acquiring for baby. I can’t believe my due date is just nine weeks away! Nesting mode has finally set in and I’m excited for my travel schedule to die down a bit so I can focus on really getting ready and finding some time to RELAX and enjoy these last few weeks of us being a family of two (well, three with our fur baby.)

Kiwi Coconut Coolers are a fun treat for kids and adults alike!

What are your plans for the weekend? Hoping they involve a Kiwi Coconut Cooler or two!

Kiwi Coconut Cooler
Prep Time
10 mins
 

A vibrant, refreshing cocktail featuring fresh kiwi puree and hydrating coconut water - it tastes just like the tropics! Add rum to make it boozy 😉

Course: Drinks
Servings: 2 cocktails
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 6 kiwis, peeled and purėed with an immersion blender to make about 10 ounces juice
  • 2 ounces orgeat
  • 4 ounces coconut water
  • Club soda, to top
  • Kiwi wheel and fresh strawberry, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Divide kiwi purėe evenly between two tallboy glasses. Add 1 ounce orgeat and 2 ounces coconut water to each glass and stir. 

  2. Fill each glass to the top with ice, then top up with a splash of club soda. 

  3. Garnish each glass with a kiwi slice and strawberry to serve.

Kiwi Coconut Cooler | CaliGirlCooking.com

Dark Chocolate Coconut Granola

Vacation vibes right here ↓

A large batch of Dark Chocolate Coconut Granola is all you need for snack time cravings or the perfect breakfast.

We’re heading to Kauai on Thursday for our babymoon/make-up honeymoon (since we got stuck in a hurricane on the last one) so delicious, healthy travel snacks have been on this momma-to-be’s mind. And what better travel snack then homemade granola? Dark Chocolate Coconut Granola to be exact. We are headed to the tropics, after all!

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of granola, and especially any homemade version since I found my favorite base recipe, Andy’s Fairfield Granola. It’s THE perfect granola recipe as it is, and it’s served as the perfect guideline whenever I’ve had inspiration strike for a certain special flavor, like my Addicting S’mores Granola Clusters.

I’ve been dreaming of a Dark Chocolate Coconut Granola for quite some time now, and I figured what better time to make it than when I’m in need of some travel-friendly snacks for a five hour plane ride?

A delicious bowl of Dark Chocolate Coconut Granola just waiting to be consumed.

But before I get to the recipe, tell me, do you have any recommendations for us for while we’re in Kauai? I’ve been there before (although it’s been at least 10 years or so) but the hubs has never been. We’re staying in Poipu, and the only thing we have planned so far is a boat ride up the Na Pali Coast. Since I’m 25 weeks now, we’re obviously not planning on doing anything too strenuous, but any pregnancy-friendly recommendations you have are welcome (and, obviously, any food we must eat while we’re there!)

Okay, back to this granola. It’s really so easy, it doesn’t need much explaining. I (very) roughly followed the guidelines of Andy’s Fairfield Granola, but with some modifications to really make it pop with dark chocolate and coconut flavors. The original recipe calls for honey as a sweetener, but this time around I decided to try out maple syrup to change things up a bit, and I’m pleased to say it worked out fabulously.

Also, cocoa powder to coat all your oats is such a must in this recipe! Being the chocolate-lover that I am, I often find myself picking out only bites that involve it when I’m eating things like granola, trail mix, etc. With the cocoa powder coating on the oats, you get delicious chocolate in every bite! My kind of granola right there.

A bowl of Dark Chocolate Coconut Granola doused in almond milk.

Did I mention this recipe is SUPER easy to make? I mean, seriously, if you’re a novice baker, this recipe’s for you. All you have to do is mix the ingredients together in a bowl with a spoon, spread the mix out on a cookie sheet and bake for about 40 minutes. The trickiest part is the stirring and adding of the coconut you have to do partway through the baking process, but as long as you know how to set a timer, I think you’ve got this.

Mixing up a big batch of Dark Chocolate Coconut Granola.

Oh, you’re also going to have to have the patience to let your Dark Chocolate Coconut Granola cool back down to room temperature and let the chocolate harden again, which may in fact turn out to be the hardest part since the granola’s delicious smell will be permeating through your household the entire time. But wouldn’t you say a big batch of a delicious, nutritious snack is worth it?

Dark Chocolate Coconut Granola is the perfect on-the-go snack or breakfast.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Granola
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

A classic granola recipe gets a decadent makeover with the addition of antioxidant-heavy dark chocolate and toasted coconut.

Course: Breakfast, Snack
Servings: 6 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 4 ounces unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups flaked unsweetened coconut
  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 310 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large jelly roll pan with parchment paper and set aside.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oats, applesauce, maple syrup, cocoa powder, cinnamon and sea salt until well-combined. Spread out evenly on the prepared jelly roll pan.

  3. Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, give the granola a stir and set the timer for 5 more minutes. 

  4. When the timer goes off again, add the flaked coconut and stir the granola again. Return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes. 

  5. Remove granola from the oven and add the dark chocolate chips to the pan, stirring to spread them out evenly. Let cool to room temperature before eating.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Granola | CaliGirlCooking.com

Red, White and Blueberry Blender

Smoothies all around!!

Two glasses of a refreshing Red, White and Blueberry Blender.

That’s right. Due to my current state, we’re going to forego the boozy drink recipe for this Friday before the Fourth of July and instead sip on a delicious, HEALTHY Red, White and Blueberry Blender. Sound good? Glad you’re on board with me.

Let’s get real for a minute: TBH, I was really nervous to stop posting boozy drinks every week once I got pregnant because they happen to be some of my most popular posts (y’all love your cocktails!) I eased into it by posting some drinks that have both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options (don’t worry, those will still be making regular appearances) and, to my surprise, those recipes were still getting lots of love.

Also, a selfish part of me has been really missing cocktails these days, so I have been really into creating mocktails that are just as delicious. Because, at the end of my often crazy busy days, this gal just really needs a delicious beverage to kick her feet up and enjoy!

A glass of healthy Red, White and Blueberry Blender garnished with a fresh strawberry.

So, to celebrate the Fourth of July this week, I had this grand idea to create something along the lines of a patriotic version of this Twisted Tropical Blender. Alas, that turned into a massive recipe fail (I just couldn’t get the measurements/ratios of red-to-white-to-blue right) and so here I was with loads of berries and coconut cream and nothing to show for it.

But you know what? My new mantra lately has been to, in the words of Taylor Swift, “shake it off” and not stress too much about things not going quite as I had planned, so I decided to get creative and instead make a delicious, berry-licious smoothie that’s super easy to make and that everyone will love.

Look at it this way: With all of the delicious, indulgent foods you’ll be enjoying over the next four days (and trust me, I’ll be sharing some with you soon,) you’re going to be needing something simple and healthy like this Red, White and Blueberry Blender to balance everything out. You know I’m all about that balance!

An overhead shot of two Red, White and Blueberry Blenders garnished with fresh strawberries and flaked coconut.

I mean, if you start your day with a smoothie, that gives you freedom to indulge just a little bit more for your other meals of the day, am I right?

So here’s the deal, you’re going to want to hit up your local TJ’s (or favorite grocery store) and stock up on all of the frozen berries you can find. I used blueberries, cherries and strawberries, but if you feel like subbing in raspberries or blackberries, by all means, go for it!

Then you’re going to want to get some coconut cream. We’re not talking Coco Lopez here, which is loaded with sugar, but rather the thicker version of coconut milk. I know Trader Joe’s has a good generic brand, and you can also find it on Amazon here.

Aside from frozen berries, coconut cream and ice, there’s just one secret ingredient to this Red, White and Blueberry Blender that really takes it over the top: my favorite new mocktail addition, orgeat! Orgeat is a sweet syrup made from almonds and either orange or rose water. I’ve been totally digging it in things like this Pineapple Orgeat Fizz and it’s definitely worth adding a bottle to your next Amazon Prime order to have on hand for all your summer cocktail and mocktail needs.

The Red, White and Blueberry Blender is the perfect healthy yet festive way to celebrate the Fourth of July!

Throw everything in a blender, and you’ll have a fancy, festive and healthy smoothie in your hands in no time. If you ask me, there’s no better way to kick off a day at the beach or lounging by the pool!

Red, White and Blueberry Blender
Prep Time
5 mins
 

This smoothie is the perfect festive, healthy treat for the Fourth of July, full of fresh berry and coconut flavor, plus a secret ingredient!

Course: Breakfast, Drinks
Servings: 2 smoothies
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 13.5 ounce can coconut cream
  • 3 cups frozen berries (I used blueberries, strawberries and cherries)
  • 1 tablespoon orgeat
  • 1/2 cup ice
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until combined. Divide mixture evenly among two glasses and garnish each one with a fresh strawberry.

Red, White and Blueberry Blender | CaliGirlCooking.com

Hydrating Citrus Coconut Refresher

The perfect way to get ready for the weekend!

Two frosty glasses of the Hydrating Citrus Coconut Refresher mocktail. You can also make it a cocktail by adding vodka or gin!

It’s no secret that I love alllllll the tropical flavors. I mean, just take a quick glance through my Recipe Index and you’ll find everything from this Belizean Rum Punch to this Li Hing Pineapple Margarita. And now that it’s (almost) officially summer, they’re just going to keep on coming starting with this Hydrating Citrus Coconut Refresher!

If you’re new to these parts, you can take a look at this Lightened Up Double Strawberry Milkshake post for all the deets on why I’m taking a little break from the heavily alcoholic beverages but, have no fear! Even if the drink recipes I’m posting don’t always contain alcohol as is, I’ll always provide a recommendation for a good way to booze them up a little bit 😉 (I mean, someone around here’s got to have a little fun, right??)

But before I get to my new fave Hydrating Citrus Coconut Refresher, tell me, what fun things are you up to this weekend? I, for one, am really looking forward to relaxing and just getting my head on straight. I recently took a part-time copyrighting job for a beverage company and it has definitely been keeping me busy. I’ve been working 14-hour days (between the blog and this new gig,) waking up early and going to bed a little later than usual for this preggo mama. I’ve just gotten the bulk of a big project out of the way, though, so I’m looking forward to regrouping, maybe heading to the beach, and just getting some extra sleep over the next couple of days!

A single ice-cold glass of the Hydrating Citrus Coconut Refresher mocktail or cocktail!

I will also most likely be sipping on plenty of Hydrating Citrus Coconut Refreshers. Since I’ve been pregnant, I’ve really been conscious of not going overboard on the nonalcoholic beverages, whose empty calories can really add up over time (Baby D. needs real, filling nutrients, not empty calories!) What I love about this Hydrating Citrus Coconut Refresher is that it’s actually REALLY healthy, with hardly any sugar (save for a little bit of simple syrup.)

The lemon and lime juices are giving me (and baby) an extra dose of Vitamin C, while the coconut water and club soda make the drink incredibly hydrating. So there’s definitely no need for me to feel guilty when I’m sipping one of these and relaxing on a sunny beach this weekend!

An overhead shot of the tasty Hydrating Citrus Coconut Refresher.

The other great thing about this mocktail is that, if you’re anything like me, you probably already have just all of these ingredients on hand in your pantry or refrigerator. And if you aren’t well-stocked with bar accessories like simple syrup, just throw some water and sugar together in a pot to boil and simmer down and you’ll have a homemade batch ready in no time.

And for those of you who are still able to imbibe, I’d highly recommend either vodka or gin as the spirit of choice to spike these bad boys. I am personally more of a fan of gin because of its floral notes, but I also know there are a lot of you out there who would much rather go the less flavor-forward vodka route.

I’m keeping it fairly short today because there are a lot of tasks I still need to complete before kicking off my weekend with a Hydrating Citrus Coconut Refresher, but enjoy your Friday and, if you can, enjoy a spiked version or two for me!

This Hydrating Citrus Coconut refresher is nonalcoholic, but can easily be made into a cocktail with the addition of vodka or gin!

Hydrating Citrus Coconut Refresher
Prep Time
5 mins
 

The perfect, healthy mocktail for summer featuring two types of fresh citrus, hydrating coconut water and fizzy club soda. Make it boozy with vodka or gin!

Course: Drinks
Servings: 1 cocktail
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 2 ounces coconut water
  • 2 ounces club soda
  • Optional: 2 ounces vodka or gin
Instructions
  1. Combine all the ingredients except the club soda in a cocktail shaker filled ¾ full with ice. Shake vigorously for 10-20 seconds and then strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice. Top with club soda and garnish with a lemon and lime wedge threaded onto a cocktail pick.

 Citrus Coconut Refresher | CaliGirlCooking.com