Not a fan of fruitcake? These bars are so chewy and chocolaty, you’ll forget all those jokes about using fruitcake as a doorstop—and because you frost and decorate them right out of the oven, you can make classy-looking cookies without much fuss.
1 1/2 cups each whole red and green candied cherries, divided
64 pecan halves
2 dark chocolate pudding-in-the-mix cake mixes
1 cup oil
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup coconut
1 bag mini chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
2 12-oz bags real chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350º. Fit foil into two 9”x13” baking pans to allow a “handle” on each end, and spray the foil with cooking spray. Cut 16 red cherries and 16 green cherries in half, and set these out on wax paper with the pecan halves, either before you mix the dough or while the bars are baking.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mixes, eggs, and oil until well blended. Add the remaining whole cherries, raisins, coconut, mini chips, and chopped pecans, blending until everything’s mixed in—batter will be thick. Press half of the batter into each prepared pan (a spatula makes this easier) and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.
Immediately spread a bag of chocolate chips on top of each pan of bars. Allow a minute or so for the chips to soften, and then spread the melted chips on the hot bars to make the topping. With a toothpick, score each pan into 4 columns and 8 rows of bars. Press a pecan half sideways into each bar, and then press a cherry half next to it. Cool bars in the pans until the frosting is set and not sticky—several hours. Remove from pan by lifting the foil, peel away the foil, and cut along the score marks with a sharp knife. Makes 64. Store/freeze between layers of wax paper.