For as long as I can remember ..
I served him desserts made of chocolate
This dear friend of ours ..
Until .. as fate would have it .. a birthday dinner in his honor .. wanting something he'd remember .. a 14 layer chocolate cake was born. It took the better part of 2 days to construct .. an awful lot of head scratching .. and turned out as beautiful & delicious as a sugary masterpiece could be
Not long after .. in casual conversation with his wife .. “Chocolate really isn't his thing .. “ as a quiet look of dismay washed across my face .. “Wait .. you knew that .. right?”
“But I made the cake .. “ she smiled .. “and he ate it ..” she smiled some more .. “come to think of it .. he's eaten all of the chocolaty desserts I've made over the years ..”
“So if he doesn't like chocolate .. what DOES he like?”
Life lesson #3975 .. Never assume .. Ask the question
As the years passed .. we caught a groove .. he & I .. new desserts crossed his plate .. gingerbread, oatmeal-raisin cookies, homemade vanilla ice cream .. life was good
Until .. I caught the bug for healthy cooking
It went unsaid .. the fear of unfortunate desserts setting in
Turns out .. this lover of pretty much anything .. as long as there is sugar & half-and-half involved .. has become my litmus test. If I can please someone with a sweet tooth .. I'm probably on to something
The official thumbs-up .. has been given to the lemon bars
This is a recipe for lemon lovers .. if there ever was one .. a filling that's nice & thick .. great flavor & a beautiful silky texture. The custard sits on top of a crust similar to a coconut macaroon .. sweetened with maple syrup & pre-baked. It's perfectly sticky .. sweet .. and gooey .. though substantial enough to hold its own without turning soggy.
A few thoughts .. I upped the original custard recipe by about half .. toasted the coconut .. and used fresh lemons for the juice .. it's not a massive commitment to citrus fruit & worth it for a flavor that needs to shine
Ours were served plain .. though I image they would also be great with some roasted balsamic strawberries & a few extra sprinkles of toasted coconut sprinkled on top
~ Adapted from thelittlewhitekitchen .. here
Lemon Coconut Bars
- 6 tbsp coconut oil divided
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut toasted
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 egg whites ** note: save the yolks to use in the lemon curd
- 4 eggs + 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup lemon juice + 2 Tbsp zest around 3 lemons
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- Dust with 3 Tbsp coconut flour or powdered sugar
- <span class="hiddenSpellError"><span class="hiddenSpellError">Pre-heat</span></span> the oven to 350°F.
- Line a 9x13" baking dish with parchment paper
- In a small saucepan, over low heat, toast the shredded coconut in one Tbsp coconut oil, until lightly browned
- Make the Crust
- Melt the remaining 5 Tbsp coconut oil in a sauce pan on low heat.
- Add maple syrup, toasted coconut, almond flour and salt.
- Stir until combined.
- Remove from the heat.
- Add the two eggs whites to the coconut mixture in the pan and keep stirring for about a minute.
- Spread the coconut mixture into the prepared baking dish, using the back of a spoon or spatula. Press it down firmly so it becomes quite compact.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes (or until lightly golden brown) and remove it from the oven.
- Prepare the Filling and Assemble
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs + the 2 egg yolks with an electric mixer until frothy.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and beat for two more minutes.
- Pour the mix over the baked crust in the baking dish.
- Bake for around 16-19 minutes or until edges are light brown and center is set.
- Let the pan cool for at least 10-15 minutes before slicing the bars.
- Dust with coconut flour, powdered sugar, or a few extra toasted coconut flakes
- Serve at room temperature.
- Can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.