King Arthur Baking Company’s Coconut Lime Bars are your answer to your pie cravings. These little gems are made of a buttery toasted coconut base, topped with a slightly tangy (but sweet) cream cheese and lemon filling.
Last month when my mom and I took a baking class at the King Arthur Baking Company school, Coconut Lime Bars were one of the three delicious bars we made. We also made Raspberry Streusel Bars and Chocolate-Coated Toffee Bars (aka Turtle Bars).
Coconut Lime Bars > Lemon Bars
I love a good lemon bar. Honestly, sometimes I’m tempted to just pick a package of Krusteaz lemon bars. For some reason these bars remind me of family gatherings, school picnics, and cookie trays.
But let me tell you, Coconut Lime Bars elevate the traditional lemon bars to another level.
First, we have toasted coconut mixed right into the base of the recipe. This means that every bite is filled with a sweet, tropical, nutty flavor.
Next, instead of using regular ol’ lemon juice, we’re using lime juice. Lime juice is slightly more acidic than lemon juice, but pairs perfectly with the addition of cream cheese.
No, these are not cream cheese or cheesecake bars. In eating them, you may not even detect the addition of cream cheese. It works so well with the acidity in the lemon juice!
Tips for Success:
- Zest the lime properly. Using a microplane, remove the colored part of the skin only. Don’t bear down into the white portion.
- Watch the coconut when you toast it. It’s easy to over-toast coconut and end up with burnt bits. I like to periodically toss the coconut as it toasts to ensure even browning.
- Don’t over-bake the bars. As with any custard-type baked good, much. like a cheesecake, you’ll want to take these out of the oven just as they begin to set and the center jiggles a little. The outer edges will be a bit browned. If you wait too long, they could crack.
- Wait until they are TOTALLY chilled to cut. Otherwise, you’re going to have issues making clean cuts. I use a slightly damp knife to cut these.
Substitutions and Modifications:
- No lime? Swap for lemon. While I don’t necessarily making this swap unless you absolutely have to, lemon juice can be substituted for lime juice and zest at a 1:1 ratio.
- No coconut oil? Swap it out for butter. Again, the recipe calls for coconut oil because of the tropical aroma and flavor. If you do the swap, you’re missing part of that. But it will work.
- Sub white sugar for brown. If you do this, keep in mind it will change the flavor of the recipe a bit. The deep toasted, nutty flavor of the coconut pairs well with brown sugar.
- Bottled lime juice vs. fresh. Be careful making this swap. Check the label and make sure it’s pure lime juice. Then, it’s a 1:1 swap. Fresh lime juice is recommended because it’s brighter and more intense.
How to Store Coconut Lime Bars
You’ll want to keep these in the refrigerator in an airtight container. They should last around 3-5 days stored properly.
Coconut Lime Bars
- 1 8 x 8-inch square pan
- 1/2 cup (60 g) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (43 g) unsweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted
- 1/4 cup (53 g) brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal Kosher salt, see notes
- 3 tablespoons (37 g) coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 cup (114 g) cream cheese, room temperature
- 3/4 cup (149 g) sugar
- 1 tablespoon (8 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1/4 cup (118 g) fresh lime juice (2-3 limes)
- 1/2 teaspoon lime zest
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare an 8" square baking pan by spraying it with non-stick spray. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, coconut, brown sugar, salt, and coconut oil. The mixture may be a bit crumbly, but that's okay! Press the mixture into the prepared pan using your fingers.
- Bake the crust for 15 minutes. The crust will be firm, fragrant, and just beginning to brown. Remove and set aside to cool while you make the filling.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar until it is smooth. Add the flour and stir to combine. Make sure there are no lumps of cream cheese. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- While the mixer is on a low speed, add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the lime juice and zest. Mix until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure everything is fully incorporated.
- Pour the filling into the baked crust and return it to the oven for approximately 15 minutes or until the filling is just set. The center will jiggle a little when tapped. Do not wait until the filling is cooked through and through because you risk it cracking.
- Allow the bars to cool completely, then cover tightly with saran wrap and transfer to the refrigerator. The bars are easy to cut when they are very cold.
- Store the bars covered tightly with plastic wrap or in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Freezing not recommended.