A tangy lemon bar with a toasted coconut buttery shortbread crust and topped with even more toasted coconut! These toasted coconut lemon bars take lemon bars to the next level!
So before we talk lemon bars, I’ve been without a phone for 4 days and counting now…four whole days. I lost my phone on Thursday and it’s been nowhere to be seen. Now mind you, this is an old Iphone that I probably should have retired a long time ago. But still, it was a phone. And it worked. Not having a phone makes you just realize how much you rely on it for like everything. Hello GPS! Meeting up with a friend requires becomes quite tricky, social media is out the window (do I have any Instagram followers still?? I have no idea.) and even simple tasks like writing a grocery list is out the window. I have sent more facebook messages, e-mails, and used ACTUAL paper for things this past week it’s been ridiculous. I have to admit though I have gotten more done. I can’t believe there was a time when I never had a phone and I functioned just fine. I went through all of college without one (um does that age me or what?). I managed though. I used an actual land line. I had actual conversations. I made actual lists. Fast forward a mere ten years later and I can’t seem to live without it! How sad, but such is life. So I guess I have to face the facts that my phone is gone, gone gone, and buy another one.
Ugh, at least I have these lemon bars to cheer me up. I mean what’s a happier dessert than a lemon one? A lemon bar to be exact with toasted coconut. It’s like a vacation in bar form. I had some lemons leftover from last week’s baking supply run from making this lemon pound cake and wanted to whip up one more lemon dessert. I decided to make a lemon bar but wanted to mix things up a little bit. I had some coconut laying around and it seemed like a perfect fit.
Coconut + Lemon = Match made.
I’ve never actually ever made a lemon bar before. Can you believe it? I’ve eaten them, don’t get me wrong. But it hasn’t been until late that I’ve been super into lemon desserts. But lemon bars somehow still escaped me. So now I can check lemon bars off the to do list of things to bake. One down. So many to go.
Let’s get back to these bars and breakdown this recipe…
These bars started with a buttery shortbread crust that were not dry like some shortbread crusts can tend to be. I mixed in some toasted sweetened coconut flakes in the crust. If you have never toasted coconut before, you want to spread out the coconut in a thin single layer on a cookie sheet and bake for no more than 8 to 10 minutes.
To make the crust, you are going to need to bust out your food processor. The food processor makes quick work. You could also do this by hand if you are lacking a food processor. Just simply use a pastry cutter to cut the cold butter into the flour (similar to making scones). Then the crust actually gets refrigerated for a half hour before baking.
While the crust is baking, you need to prepare your lemon filling. The lemon filling has both lemon zest and juice in it, so the lemon packs a real punch in these bars. To zest the lemons, I love using my Microplane . Seriously, you need one of these bad boys. They are great for zesting but also great for things like ginger or parmesan cheese. When the crust is done baking, pour the lemon filling over the crust and then bake again. So simple. Once the bars are done, take them out and top with more toasted coconut. Because why not? More is better. Especially when it comes to coconut.
Ok so I might not have a phone. That’s a fact. But these lemon bars are just plain awesome. Also a fact. When I was taking photos of these, I think I ate like three without breathing. I kept sneaking the leftover edges I had trimmed off. And I’m not an edges fan at all when it comes to bars and brownies. They are that good. Edges good.
If you like this recipe let me know and leave me a comment! And don’t forget to pin this recipe!
To make this recipe you will need:
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- 1 3/4 all purpose flour
- 2/3 cups confectioners sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup coconut, lightly toasted
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 2/3 cup lemon juice (from about 4 lemons)
- 1/3 cup milk (I used almond milk)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup coconut, lightly toasted
- 1. For the crust: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat, and arrange 1 1/2 cups coconut in a single layer and toast in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes. Prepare a 13 by 9-inch baking pan by lining with foil. Leave enough foil overhanging on the sides, and push the foil into the corners. Grease the foil and set the pan aside.
- 2. Process flour, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a food processor until combined 15 seconds. Add butter and process to blend 8 to 10 seconds, then pulse until the mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse meal about 3 pulses. Add in 3/4 cup of the toasted coconut and pulse 2-3 more times. If doing this by hand, use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into flour mixture. Sprinkle the mixture into the prepared pan and press firmly with your fingers into an even 1/4-inch layer over the entire pan bottom about 1/2-inch up the sides. Refrigerate for 30 minutes then bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
- 3. For the filling: Whisk the eggs, sugar and flour in a medium bowl then stir in lemon zest and juice, milk and salt to blend well.
- 4. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Stir filling mixture to reblend, and pour into warm crust. Bake until filling feels firm when touched slightly, about 20 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack; let cool to nearly room temperature and top with remaining 3/4 cup toasted coconut. Remove bars fro pan using foil, loosening sides with a knife if needed. Cut into squares and serve. Bars can be refrigerated for up to 2 days (crust will soften slightly).
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