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Macadamia Sunshine Bars

Your guests will be delighted with my bars. They are packed with nuts and dried fruit. I think that when you take a bite of this treat it’s like a mini-vacation to a Polynesian paradise. —Jeanne Holt, Mendota Heights, Minnesota
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Bake: 35 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    2 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1 package lemon cake mix (regular size)
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons thawed pineapple-orange juice concentrate
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 jars (3 ounces each) macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cup coarsely chopped shelled pistachios
  • 2/3 cup chopped dried pineapple
  • 2/3 cup chopped dried mangoes
  • 1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
  • GLAZE:
  • 1-1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons thawed pineapple-orange juice concentrate
  • 4 to 5 teaspoons water

Directions

  • In large bowl, combine the cake mix, brown sugar and spice powder. Add the butter, eggs, juice concentrate, orange and lemon zests and vanilla; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in the nuts, dried fruits and coconut.
  • Spread into a greased 13x9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Combine the confectioners' sugar, juice concentrate and enough water to reach desired consistency; drizzle over top. Cut into bars.
Nutrition Facts
1 bar: 290 calories, 15g fat (6g saturated fat), 33mg cholesterol, 244mg sodium, 38g carbohydrate (28g sugars, 1g fiber), 3g protein.
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Reviews

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Average Rating:
  • griffinsgramma
    Jan 20, 2021

    I made these a couple of years ago, everyone loved them. Then I could not find the recipe again. I am glad to find it again, will make them again. Four stars rather than five because they are expensive to make.

  • Ceege
    Jun 17, 2020

    I am sure I would love these bars, they look and seem to be luscious. However, until I can price out the ingredients, I will not be making them. 2 jars of macadamia ad 2 jars of pistachios plus dried mango and pineapple seem to be quite expensive items for cookies. I am a senior of fixed income and need to watch what I spend. If I find I can afford them, I will definitely make and let you all know how they turned out

  • delowenstein
    Jul 31, 2017

    I made these bars today and I used just orange-pineapple juice which I'd bought in the supermarket. I used all juice in the glaze as well and 2 packages (5.0-oz.) macadamia nuts, which I chopped. I think this recipe is a keeper for me! NOTE: I ordered the Chinese spice powder, dried mangoes and dried pineapple from Amazon and the pistachios and macadamia nuts I'd gotten at my local supermarket. Volunteer Field Editor

  • pattiejean
    Jul 26, 2017

    These are delicious-moist and flavorful. I could not find orange-pineapple juice concentrate so used juice instead. I used all juice in place of water in the glaze. I did not put in any of the nuts, partly due to cost but primarily because most of my family is not big on nuts in baked goods. The bright citrus flavor is so good; everyone loved them! Would definitely make again. Volunteer Field Editor

  • MarineMom_texas
    Jul 21, 2017

    I made this recipe today and it is delicious. There is a lot of preparation involved so I recommend doing some of the chopping, zesting, etc. earlier in the day. Once everything is ready, it goes together fast. I let it cool completely before cutting. I did not put glaze on it since we are not eating sugar and actually, they didn't need it. They were delicious as is. I had no trouble finding the ingredients and the only substitutions were for sugar free brown sugar and sugar free cake mix.Volunteer Field Editor

  • jon.ruth.alumbaugh
    Jul 19, 2017

    As a Taste of Home Volunteer Field Editor, I am pleased to offer this review today. These bars are wonderfully chewy and crunchy all at the same time. To me, they tasted like a classy fruit cake. It took me longer than 20 minutes to prepare it so be aware of that when you go to make it! And some ingredients are hard to find. In my neck of the woods, I can't find frozen orange/pineapple juice so I had to get separate frozen juices and make the recipe that way.Don't be turned off by the Chinese five-spice powder! It's a great addition to the flavor of this recipe! And the cake mix base makes a tasty base to the tropical fruits. The toasted coconut added a nice little "zing" and the flavor from it was just enough.Although two dried fruits are in the recipe, as well as two kinds of nuts, they are hard to distinguish as far as flavor. Economically, this recipe is on the expensive side, too. I do believe that this recipe is very versatile and has a lot of potential as far as variation and versatility. All in all, I shared the results and received many compliments. The bars were well-received! I think they brought a little sunshine to whoever got to try them.