Ever get the urge to bake something? I do. Tonight I did, and 45 minutes later I was looking at a lemon lime bar with shaved coconut.
I've always been that way, despite not being a big sweets/dessert person. Don't get me wrong, I do get a sweet tooth from time to time, but I am way more likely to indulge in an appetizer than I am a dessert. That doesn't stop me from wanting to bake, though.
Tonight I had one of those, “what do I have in the cabinet?” moments. Didn't feel like putting my face on and going to the grocery store, and didn't want to do something super complicated. So, I ventured to make a simple pan of lemon bars with a twist. Last thing we need in our house at the moment, given the fact that we have leftover Thanksgiving pecan pie and two cakes provided by guests. But hey, when you've got the urge… you've got the urge.
We had a surplus of lemons and limes in the refrigerator, and a fresh pack of shaved coconut so I decided to stray from the standard lemon bar favorite and try something a little different. My fiance LOVES coconut. Seriously, he cuts them out of the trees in our backyard with a homemade rod-machete thingy, chops them open and sticks a straw in. I swear he will one day be determined enough to climb hand and foot up a palm tree like you see on Survivor or on vacation in Mexico. Until then, his invention works.
Anyway, these lemon-lime bars with coconut are light and refreshing. If dessert can be refreshing. Lime and coconut always pair well together so I am psyched that this came out well. The lemon and lime combo coupled with the crust and coconut kind of remind me of key lime pie!
You'll notice that some of the ingredients, like the butter and the juices, are a range rather than a specific measurement. This is simply due to personal preference. The recipe would work fine either way.
NOTE: Make sure you pour the lemon mixture over the crust as soon as you remove it from the oven or it won't set as well.
If you like recipes with coconut, try my No Bake Energy Bites with Toasted Coconut!
Lemon Lime Bars with Shaved Coconut
For the crust
3/4-1 cup butter, diced
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
For the filling
4 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup half-and-half
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/3-1/2 cup lemon juice
1/3-1/2 cup lime juice
1 tsp finely shredded lemon peel
1 tsp finely shredded lime peel
Green food coloring (optional, I did not use)
Shaved coconut (optional)
Sifted powdered sugar (for garnish)
- Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
- Line a 13×9 baking dish with parchment paper, set aside.
- Combine 2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup confectioners sugar, cornstarch and salt in a large bowl. Once mixed evenly, add diced butter and use a hand blender to combine. You may find it easier to use your hands. Mixture will look like dry crumbs when ready.
- Press mixture into the bottom of the dish in an even layer and bake for 15 minutes.
- While the crust is baking, whisk the egg, granulated sugar, half-and-half and 3 tablespoons of flour in another mixing bowl. Divide mixture into two separate bowls.
- Add lemon juice and FINELY shredded lemon peel to one bowl and pour over HOT crust. Bake for 12 minutes, or until mixture has set.
- During the second bake, add lime juice and FINELY shredded lime peel to the other bowl. Add optional green food coloring (I did not use food coloring for 2 reasons; a – I didn't have green, and b – I don't really like unnatural colors in my food).
- Sprinkle a layer of shaved coconut over the lemon layer before carefully pouring on the lime mixture. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
- Sprinkle more coconut on top and cool completely before cutting into bars. Sift powdered sugar on top.