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Lemon Lime Coconut Bars with Shortbread Crust

Lemon Lime Coconut Bars with Shortbread Crust

As most of you regular readers will know, I am a big fan of coconut in desserts. The buttery, tropical flavor of coconut is delicious on its own, but it also pairs well with a wide variety of other ingredients. Citrus with coconut is one of my favorite pairings, as the bright acidity of citrus fruits contrasts very well with the richness of coconut. These Lemon Lime Coconut Bars pair up these ingredients beautifully and, if you’re also a fan of the combination of citrus and coconut, it’ll be a hit with you, too.

The bars start with a tender shortbread base that – to be completely honest – is very delicious all on its own. It comes together very quickly and the filling can be poured on top while the crust is still hot, so there is not a lot of down time in this recipe. The filling is a lemon and lime curd that is mixed with lots of shredded coconut. While the filling is baking, the coconut rises to the top of the bars, creating a macaroon-like crust on top of the velvety curd.

I like the combination of lemon and lime here. Not only does it make the recipe feel more tropical, but the brightness of the limes really makes the citrus pop. While it may seem like there is quite a bit of sugar in the filling, the bars are not overly sweet and have a great tartness. You need to use fresh citrus for best results in this recipe and I recommend sweetened, shredded coconut to help ensure that the coconut flavor comes through (a little extra sweetness helps). That said, you can switch out the lime and use only lemon juice (or vice versa) to make use of what citrus you might have on hand at home.

The bars need to be refrigerated after they are baked to give the filling a chance to set up. It will seem quite soft when it comes out of the oven, but it will set up to be firm and slice-able after chilling. The bars will need at least 4 hours in the fridge after they have cooled to room temperature, though I usually make them the day before I intend to serve them and leave them in the fridge overnight.

Lemon Lime Coconut Bars with Shortbread Crust

Lemon Lime Coconut Bars with Shortbread Crust

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 2/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
4 large eggs
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tbsp lemon zest
2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut, lightly packed

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9×9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease.
Make the Crust: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Add in butter and beat at low speed until mixture resembles wet sand, about 2 minutes. Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake for 15-17 minutes, until the edges are light golden.
Make the Filling: Prepare the filling while the crust bakes. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in cornstarch, salt and eggs until smooth. Blend in lemon juice, lime juice and lemon zest. Stir in shredded coconut.
When the crust comes out of the oven and is still hot, pour on the filling. Return the mixture to the oven.
Bake filled crust for 40-50 minutes, or until bars are golden brown and filling jiggles only slightly when the pan is tapped. Filling may be bubbling around the edges.
Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight, before serving.

Makes 24 bars.

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  • Natalie
    January 24, 2018

    I love lemon and coconut together! These bars look delicious and so easy to make. YUM!

  • The Novice
    January 25, 2018

    Oh man, these look so good. I love the idea of the shortbread crust.

  • cakespy
    January 25, 2018

    This is the most beautiful combo of flavors I’ve seen in some time. Classic and perfect.

  • Jean
    February 5, 2018

    I recently made this recipe and we loved the results. But, can you confirm that the pan size shown in the recipe as 9X9 is correct? It seemed I had more crust and filling than that size pan could handle.

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