OK, Ashley and I have noticed a trend in our post write-ups: easy and delicious. Although we do love a challenge when we have some extra time (and I swear it’s not due to an uncreative or unimaginative vocabulary!), easy and delicious just seem to be our style. So here’s another amazingly easy and delicious recipe that we highly recommend. Seriously, even if you’re not a big coconut or lime fan, you could really enjoy these treats. And by the way, we tried a few other disappointing coconut and lime recipes (love you Martha, but this pie was deceptively beautiful) before striking gold with this one. So when we say delicious, we MEAN delicious! Promise.
Coconut Key Lime Bars
Yield: 16 bars
Graham-Coconut Crust (from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking)
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 15-17 crackers)
1 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Filling (from The Cook’s Country Cookbook)
2 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 tbsp grated fresh lime zest (from about 2 limes)
1 can (14-ounce) sweetened condensed milk
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (from about 3-4 regular limes or 20 Key limes)
3/4 cup shredded coconut, toasted
Make the Graham-Coconut Crust:
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F , adjusting an oven rack to the middle position. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9 x 9″ baking pan or spray it with nonstick spray.
On a parchment-lined baking sheet, spread out the coconut. Put the baking sheet in the oven and toast the coconut until it starts to turn golden brown, 7-10 minutes. Remove from the oven, toss the coconut, and return it to the oven for 3 more minutes.
Put the graham cracker crumbs in a large bowl, add the toasted coconut and the brown sugar, and toss with your hands until combined. Add the melted butter. Use your hands to combine the mixture, then turn it out into the prepared pan. Using your hands, press the crust into an even layer on the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to create a perfectly even crust.
Put the crust in the refrigerator for 15 minutes, then bake for 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Let the crust cool before adding the filling.
Up the oven to 325 degrees F. For the filling, in a medium bowl, stir the cream cheese, lime zest and salt together until combined. Whisk in the sweetened condensed milk until smooth (you can use a handheld electric mixer, if you want). Whisk in the egg yolk and lime juice until combined.
Pour the filling evenly over the crust. Bake the bars until the filling is set and the edges just slightly begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, 15-17 minutes.
Let the bars cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack, about 2 hours. Then cover the pan with foil and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. Sprinkle with toasted coconut if desired.