Strangely enough, this is my first lemon post. I absolutely love lemons in baked goods. Lemon desserts don’t weigh you down and make you feel like you loaded yourself with sugar. They are refreshing with their sweet and sour tastes. Oh how I love them. Lemon bars are a must for me because I garnish them with coconut. Lemon and coconut has to be one of the greatest combinations ever, and that’s not only because I’m also addicted to coconut. I will be making all my favorite lemon desserts for the blog in the near future, I promise. The recipe that I use for these little bars of tangy heaven, is Stephanie’s from The Joy of Baking. I did tweak a couple of things. I used less sugar, and I used whole wheat flour in the crust, plus I added coconut. I will state changes below.
- 1/2 cup butter, soft
- 1/4 cup icing sugar
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- a pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (approx. 2 lemons)
- 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose white flour
- icing sugar
- shredded coconut, unsweetened (you can use sweetened if you like!)
- For the shortbread crust: In a medium sized bowl, take 1/2 cup of softened butter and 1/4 cup icing sugar. Beat with a hand mixer until the sugar is well incorporated and the mixture is light and fluffy. (You can beat by hand if you don’t have a hand mixer)
- Next add in 1 cup of whole wheat flour and mix with a fork until you get a crumbly but soft dough.* I find using whole wheat flour in the crust contrasts beautifully with the lemon filling, by adding richness in flavor and a bit more crunch to the crust. Also, it’s healthier!
- Next, oil an 8 x 8 inch pan. I also like to line it with parchment paper because these bars are crumbly, and this ensures they will come out easier.
- Now take the shortbread dough and with a spoon press it down into the pan, making sure to level it out.
- Put it to bake at 350˚F for about 15- 20 minutes, until its lightly golden brown.
- For the filling: In another medium sized bowl, take 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 2 eggs and beat with a hand mixer until smooth.
- Zest 2 lemons, until you have 2 tablespoons of zest. The original recipe calls for only one tablespoon, but I love my zest!
- Next, juice the lemons until you have 3/4 of a cup of juice.
- Add the zest and the juice to the sugar and egg mixture and mix until combined.
- Next, sift in 2 tablespoons of flour and fold it in until combined.
- Now, pour in the lemon filling onto the shortbread crust.
- Place back into the oven and bake at 350˚F for about 15 minutes, or until the filling has set and is golden brown. To check, gently shake the pan to see if the filling jiggles. If it does, its not set yet. Make sure you take it out just after it sets, so the filling will be nice and gooey.
- After baking, if you have placed it in parchment paper, let it cool for about 5 minutes then remove it from the pan.
- Sift some icing sugar on top and sprinkle with the shredded coconut.
- Let it cool for another 10 minutes and then cut it. I cut it into 9 big pieces, but you can cut it smaller if you wish.
- (If you didn’t line it with parchment paper, garnish it and cut it in the pan, and then scoop out the bars onto a plate.)
Crunchy, buttery shortbread crust. Gooey, tangy-sweet lemon filling covered in just the right amount of icing sugar and lots of coconut… To die for.
I bet you wont be able to keep your hands off of these. I sure couldn’t. They were gone the first day!