Coconut Lime Squares

For half of this week I was trapped at home while my car was out getting some much needed repairs. It’s something I’d been putting off for a while but I could no longer deny the serious need for new brakes (and, as it turns out, about 10 other things I didn’t realize also required immediate attention). Yay for car repairs…

On the up side, since I couldn’t go anywhere, I was left with plenty of time to play in the kitchen. I was cooking and baking up a storm, finally tackling some of the recipes I’ve had bookmarked forever. While I was at it, I also used up some of the produce in my fridge that was starting to look questionable – just in time for tomorrow morning’s trip to the grocery store to load up again. There won’t be any shortage of sweet treats for us to enjoy over the long holiday weekend, that’s for sure! I was especially glad to have something chocolate-y on hand when I received the call detailing the money I’d be putting into the car :)

7267499966_27792e4a39_oe

My recent obsession with limes meant I had a whole bag of them on my counter, so I paired them with one of my other favorite summer flavors, coconut, to make these coconut lime squares. If you’ve ever had lemon bars, these are basically their lime counterpart, with a little bit of toasted coconut worked into the crust and also sprinkled on top for the last few minutes of baking. I know coconut tends to elicit strong reactions from people, it seems you either love it or hate it. If you’re a coconut hater, I can tell you the lime is the predominant flavor here, you might not even notice the coconut flavor. If the texture is a problem for you, just skip the coconut on top of the bars. The squares are, as you’d probably expect from something made with lime, on the tart side but in a good way. I don’t love overly tart things and these were perfect to me. The recipe is really simple and pretty quick too once you get finished juicing all of the limes, which is a bonus. If you’re hosting or attending any Memorial Day parties this weekend I think these squares would be a welcome addition!

Coconut Lime Squares
from Gourmet, January 1995

Crust
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted and cooled
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Filling
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from about 5 limes)
1 tablespoon lime zest (from about 2 limes)
1/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted and cooled

Preheat oven to 325 F. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on opposite sides to lift the squares out afterward. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

To make the crust: Combine the flour, butter, coconut, confectioners’ sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on low until the butter is cut into the dry ingredients, and the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Transfer to the prepared pan and press into an even layer to make the crust. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.

Remove the pan to a wire rack and lower the oven temperature to 300 F.

To make the filling: Whisk the egg and sugar together in a medium bowl until well combined. Add the flour, lime juice and lime zest and continue whisking until completely incorporated. Pour the mixture over the warm crust and transfer to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven. Sprinkle the top of the bars with the toasted coconut and continue baking for an addition 5-10 minutes, or until the filling is just set. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow the bars to cool in the pan. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cutting into squares (I would even recommend letting them sit in the fridge overnight. It makes them super easy to cut the next day).