A Quick Lemon, Chocolate, Coconut Fix
Coconut cake is one of my favorites on a long list of favorites. I usually like mine very simple, lots of frosting and coconut layered between moist and delicious cake. Sometimes, I get a slice that has a lemon curd filling just to mix things up a bit because lemon and coconut work beautifully together.
By now you are probably expecting me to blog about my coconut cake, but that is not happening today. Instead I am talking about lemon coconut bars that even include a thin chocolate layer. Trust me, there really is a connection.
Samuel and I were having trouble deciding what I should bake this past weekend. So we started naming ingredients that we like. Lemon, chocolate and coconut were high on my list. Eventually, I knew what I wanted to make even though I had not thought about how to accomplish the end goal.
A lemon shortbread base sounded quite nice topped with a layer of chocolate and then finished with sweetened coconut sprinkled over the chocolate. What could be bad?
Well, actually, the first time around I did not bake the shortbread long enough and I also decided there wasn’t an intense enough lemon flavor. Additionally, the chocolate layer was too thick and dominated the taste. Not good!
Next time around was so much better. Adding lemon zest to the base allowed the lemon to pop. I halved the chocolate amount so that it then complemented the overall flavor and I also added more sweetened coconut on top.
I had friends over and asked them to give me feedback. I loved Allison’s feedback, “It’s so good….M-M-M…yummy! It’s such a good mix. I CAN’T STOP EATING THEM!!”
Some people may say very nice things about a dessert, but when the bars were disappearing, that was when I knew the combination worked.
One of these coconut cravings will lead me to my Coconut Cake, but when I want a quick and easy coconut fix, these Lemon Chocolate Coconut Bars will do the trick.
|Lemon Chocolate Coconut Bars
- Lemon crust:
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ cup confectioners sugar
- 1 cup flour
- Chocolate layer:
- 1½ tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 5 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
- 1-1/3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
- For the crust:
- Line an 8” x 8” baking pan with aluminum foil and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Place the butter, lemon zest, lemon juice and confectioners sugar into a large mixing bowl. Mix until well blended, scraping the bowl down as needed. Blend in the flour.
- Pat the crust into the bottom of the prepared pan. It is easiest to use the palm of your hand because the dough is sticky. Prick the crust with a fork.
- Bake the crust in the center of a 350° oven for 25 minutes rotating the pan front to back halfway through. Check periodically to make sure that the crust does not puff up. If it does, fork it back down. After 15 - 18 minutes of baking, tent with aluminum foil to prevent the crust from getting too dark.
- Remove from the oven and cool completely.
- For the chocolate layer:
- In a small saucepan over medium low heat melt the butter with the cream. When it starts to simmer, turn the stove off and add the chocolate chips. Stir until the chips are completely melted. Pour over the cooled crust.
- For the topping:
- Sprinkle the coconut over the chocolate. Pat down lightly. Refrigerate until set, at least one hour.
- Once the chocolate has set, lift the aluminum foil out of the pan. Peel off the aluminum foil and transfer to a cutting board.
- Cut into 16 bars using a sharp knife. Serve at room temperature.