traybakes & more

retro recipes for the modern baker

Cherry Coconut Bars

With yet another half can of condensed milk languishing in my fridge, I searched for a retro recipe that would use it up.  Years ago, you could buy a small can of condensed milk that was about 7oz/200g.  I’m not sure these exist anymore, but with many of my recipes calling for a ‘small can of condensed milk’ (and because I hate to see food waste) I either need to be making double quantities or trying something new!

This recipe had the rather straightforward title of Jelly Squares, as they are flavored with jelly crystals (powdered jello), so I took the liberty of using a more descriptive title for this post.

I remember eating something very similar to these, but made with raspberry jelly and called Raspberry Ruffle Bars.  I was unable to find raspberry jelly crystals here in the US, but did find cherry and therefore we have Cherry Coconut Bars! (OK, so I only looked in two stores, but I have a feeling that this is perhaps not a mainstream product.)  I also cheated slightly and added some red food colouring (three drops) to make the base a darker colour as my ‘all-natural, vegan gelatin dessert’ didn’t provide much colour!

I will be honest and say these are not my favourite bake so far.  I think the cherry flavour is quite subtle and the dark chocolate I used as topping is too strong for me but they got the seal of approval from my husband, so here’s the recipe!


6oz/170g coconut

3oz/85 icing sugar (powdered sugar)

1 packet cherry jelly crystals (powdered jello)

half a tin of condensed milk (approximately 7oz/200g)

8oz/225g dark chocolate

  1. Mix the coconut, sugar and jelly crystals in a large bowl.

    Another simple set of ingredients

    Another simple set of ingredients

  2. Stir in the condensed milk.  This will be sticky.  Very sticky.DSC_0234
  3. Press into a lined or greased tin and place in the fridge for 1-2 hours to set.
  4. Melt chocolate in a bowl placed over a pan of simmering water and spread over the base.  When cool, cut into small squares.


  1. I’m from the UK and I don’t think we can get jello here. I can get jelly powder but what weight does it need to be please? Can’t wait to try this recipe out and love your blog and recipes.

    • CJ

      June 13, 2020 at 8:00 am

      I used a 3oz/85g pack of jelly powder. That seems to be the standard size here in the US. Hope that helps!

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