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Coconut Lemon Bars

Who doesn’t love a good square? You know when you bite into a gooey square and think to yourself, this is heaven! Well that heaven is almost always brought to you by sweetened condensed milk. That ooey gooey sticky texture and decadent taste is all thanks to milk that has had the water removed and then sugar added. Don’t worry about having half a can of it left over after this recipe, try stirring it into your morning coffee or perhaps try a Vietnamese Avocado Shake.

This recipe makes a large, 9x13 pan of squares, which can be cut rather small, in my opinion, since they are quite thick, very dense, and pretty decadent. I also think they tasted better the next day, after an evening in the fridge. I took them into work for an honest opinion and got mixed reviews, though all agreed that they were delicious, some thought that they needed more lemon flavour and some thought that they had plenty. To each their own!

Tips for this recipe:

  • For the lemon zest you’ll need about 3 lemons.

  • For the lemon juice I estimate you’ll need 4-6 lemons, I’m estimating because I didn’t actually juice my own lemons, at least not for this recipe, I was feeling lazy I bought a bottle of high quality organic lemon juice.

  • For the coconut, 2 x 200g bags is just slightly more than you’ll need, I just put it all in. Don’t forget to get unsweetened coconut.

  • This recipe will take a lot longer than you think. It's so easy be be tricked by a recipe that says, "bake for 18 minutes" then "pour some stuff over top and bake for another 16 minutes", you'll probably be thinking to yourself this is awesome, I'm going to sweep and mop the floors while making this recipe - wrong!

  • Lastly, I toasted my coconut in a pan in two batches over medium heat. Pay close attention to the coconut when you're doing this! At first it seems like it's never going to toast and then all of a sudden it gets all toasty in a hurry. Not paying close attention to toasting coconut is an easy way to burn it all and probably force yourself to go on a grocey run for more - so pay attention!!

Lemon Coconut Squares


2 cups flour

3⁄4 cups granulated sugar

3⁄4 teaspoon salt

1 cup cold butter, diced

1 1⁄2 cups toasted coconut

Zest of 2 lemons


6 eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

1⁄4 cup flour

1⁄4 cup whipping cream

1⁄2 cup lemon juice

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

Coconut Topping

1 1⁄2 cans sweetened condensed milk (300 mL /10 oz can)

3 cups toasted coconut

Preheat oven to 350 ̊F. Line a 9”x13” pan with parchment paper.

Base: Pulse flour, sugar and salt in food processor. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles a crumb-like texture. Transfer to bowl and add toasted coconut and lemon zest. Mix thoroughly. Pat into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 18 minutes.

Filling: While base is baking whisk eggs, sugar, flour and whipping cream together until thoroughly combine. Add salt, and lemon juice. Strain mixture into another bowl and add lemon zest. Whisk thoroughly and, when base is finished baking, immediately pour onto hot base. Bake 16 minutes or until set.

Coconut Topping: While lemon filling is baking, combine sweetened condensed milk and coconut in a bowl.

Ensure coconut is well-moistened. Spread over hot lemon layer. Return to oven and bake for 20 minutes or until coconut topping is golden in colour. Let cool on rack.

Refrigerate and cut as desired.

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