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Toasted Coconut Lemon Bars

A tangy lemon bar with a toasted coconut shortbread crust topped with even more toasted coconut!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: coconut bar, coconut lemon bar, lemon bar
Servings: 12 bars
Author: Heather Perine

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 3/4 cup (210 g) all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup (80 g) confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 cup (28 g) cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 3/4 cup (64 g) sweetened shredded coconut lightly toasted
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter chilled, and cut into 1 inch pieces

For the filling

  • 4 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups (297 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 2/3 cup (160 mL) lemon juice from about 4 lemons
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt

For the topping

  • 3/4 cup (64 g) sweetened shredded coconut lightly toasted

Instructions

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. 
  • Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper.
  • 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.

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.
  • 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 from pan, 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).

Notes

  • Make sure to measure your lemon juice. Not every lemon gives the same amount of juice. To be on the safe side I’d buy 4 at the store. Sometimes it only takes 3 but I like having an extra just in case.
  • Make sure to measure your flour accurately by scooping with a spoon and leveling with a knife. For a complete tutorial, read this post.
  • You need to make sure you are using softened butter for the shortbread crust so it’s incorporated easily.. Here are 3 ways to soften your butter quickly.
  • When the crust is done, you want to pour the filling over it immediately. This kind of makes like one beautiful crust to lemon layer.