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Chewy Cherry Bars

Crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened

Filling:
2 eggs
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup coconut
2 jars (10 oz. each) maraschino cherries, drained and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Icing (optional):
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
4 Tbsp. milk

For the crust, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, and baking soda in mixing bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly. Press into a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven 10 minutes. For the filling, beat eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla together thoroughly. Combine flour and baking powder; stir into egg mixture, mixing well. Stir in coconut, maraschino cherries, and pecans. Spread evenly over crust. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven 25 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool completely. If desired, prepare the icing by combining butter, vanilla, powdered sugar, and milk. Beat until smooth and creamy. Spread over bars. Makes about 4 dozen bars.

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