The temperature in Nova Scotia has been all over the place so when it got a little cooler I decided to try and make these squares from the cookbook Favourite Recipes from Old New Brunswick Kitchens by Nimbus Publishing.
Unfortunately I have been very busy and distressed lately which does not go well with baking. Thankfully I managed to avert a kitchen disaster! Just barely…
In a bowl combine 1 cup sugar (cookbook says, “I use brown”), 1 cup flour, 2 cups quick oatmeal, 1 cup grated coconut and a pinch of salt. Unfortunately it does not say what kind of coconut so I used sweetened.
Melt 6 oz of butter with 1 tbsp of molasses in a mixing bowl over hot water.
Dissolve 3/4 tsp of baking soda in 1 tbsp of cold water.
Add the dry ingredients and dissolved baking soda into the melted butter and molasses.
Spread evenly in a buttered 13 x 9″ pan. Bake in a slow oven until golden brown, 275-300F for around 25 minutes. Divide into squares while warm.
At this point I thought everything was going so well. I got on the phone with my mom and started telling her about the recipe when all of a sudden, I realized I had not added any sugar to the mixture! Somehow I had forgotten this step. I quickly got off the phone.
I took out the pan and worked the sugar into the dough for the squares. A very close call! I could tell it was going to remain quite granular but what else could I do?
I put the pan back into the oven and called my mom who I am sure found this all very amusing and a tad shocking. Just another day in my fibro life.
Thankfully the “crunchies” were very crunchy indeed and were kind of like a granola bar. In fact, it was almost exactly like a granola bar. Even with the somewhat undissolved sugar, these were very nice squares but add some ice cream and drizzle with caramel sauce? Divine!
If you make this, I highly recommend mixing in the sugar and dissolved baking soda before adding the dry ingredients so everything gets incorporated better.
I do wonder how old this recipe could be? I doubt grated coconut is something the people living in New Brunswick long ago would readily come across, if at all. Is this an antique recipe or merely retro? Whatever its time period, it was quite delicious. I give this recipe four out of five wooden spoons.
Heather N says
These look so good and I have everything in the house to make them. I’m trying hard to lay low with sugar this week, but I might have to steal a nibble.
They look awesome, I’ve actually been making homemade granola bars lately but I’ve had a lot of misses with recipes. These look exactly like what I’ve been craving, coconutty and oatmealy. Perfect for the kid’s lunches as well, since there’s no nuts they are considered “school safe”. Definitely going to try them.
At what point did you cut them into squares, warm from the oven or cooled a bit?
Suzie Ridler says
That is why I made them Heather! I had all the ingredients too. You could try cutting back on the sugar and using some honey instead? If so, add the honey to the butter and molasses and give it a shot. Better than not getting to eat them at all!
Ava, I used some old fashioned oats in this recipe too to make them that oatmealy and coconutty taste and texture I have been craving.
Good point! Once they come out of the oven and are still warm, divide them up. Enjoy!
These look yummy! I’ve seen a lot of recipes in old church cookbooks that called for coconut, so it wasn’t as unheard of as you might think, but it was definitely not an everyday ingredient. This was used for special occasions and holidays.
Suzie Ridler says
Oh that is good to know Kenora, thank you. It’s hard because the Nova Scotia cookbook recipes felt hundreds of years old whereas this one is more like maybe a hundred but if they used to be able to get coconut as a special occasion, I feel more comfortable saying this is truly a recipe from an old kitchen. Thanks!
Shannon Riley says
WOW! This looks so amazing! 😀
Debra She Who Seeks says
As a maritime province, NB would have had lots of trading ships come to its shores. They probably saw a lot more coconuts in olden days than people did in, say, Ontario or the prairies!
Suzie Ridler says
Thanks Shannon! And Debra, you’re totally right, that is so cool! I grew up in Quebec and Ontario so I am sheltered when it comes to the olden days and trade via ships but you’re right, that is so cool!
Jana B says
Mmmmm…. sounds delicious! I love almost any form of granola bar, so I’m sure I would love this too.
Reading this recipe and seeing the picture reminds me so much of this treat my mother made for us often in our, oddle enough, New Brunswick home! I’m making these right now and quite excited to have found the recipe even if I wasn’t looking for it, it found me!
New Brunswick wing says
oh my god