Vegan Lemon Coconut Bars

These cute, fresh lemon squares are made with minimal ingredients that you probably already have at home and they come together so quickly. With a tangy lemony curd on a buttery shortbread crust, these little bars are the perfect springtime treat, or enjoy them all year long!

Calling all lemon lovers! This recipe is for you. With spring in full swing, we were inspired to create a recipe with the bright and fresh flavours of lemon. We think that anything lemon flavoured is a perfect match to sunny weather, and what better food to put you in a happy mood than a sweet treat? Our apartment citrus bowl is pretty much always overflowing, and this week our local Asian supermarket had 15 lemons for $1 (!!!), so it was the perfect time to test and perfect this recipe. Our Vegan Lemon Coconut Bars are both sweet and tart and will satisfy all your citrusy cravings.

It all starts with an elevated shortbread crust. The typical buttery dough is enhanced by lemons zest and dried coconut. This flavourful base is then topped with a generous amount of lemon filling. Our zesty, creamy curd starts with tons of fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and you guessed it, more zest to provide a big burst of freshness. The deliciously creamy texture comes from coconut cream, which also helps it set into the perfect curd without the need for additional baking. Once this simple recipe is put together, you just need to wait a few hours for it all to set in the fridge – this is definitely the hardest part.

These small but mighty squares really have it all; from the flaky shortbread crust to the zippy yet sweet filling that balances out the bars. The match of lemon and coconut are perfect for spring, but honestly are so yummy all year round! Do you prefer a sweet or tangy dessert or like these bars, do you like a mix of both?

Don’t forget to tag us in your creations – @smallkitchenbigplates

Vegan Lemon Coconut Bars

  • Servings: 12 squares
  • Print

These cute, fresh lemon squares are made with minimal ingredients that you probably already have at home and they come together so quickly. With a tangy lemony curd on a buttery shortbread crust, these little bars are the perfect springtime treat, or enjoy them all year long!

Ingredients

    Shortbread Crust
  • 1/2 cup unsalted vegan butter, room temp
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup dried coconut
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    Lemon Filling
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3-4 large lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup coconut cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, optional

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and spread a little vegan butter in the bottom of an 8×8 baking pan and then dust flour into it to coat completely.
2. Make the shortbread crust. In a medium bowl or stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add in the vanilla and beat again. Add the flour, dried coconut, lemon zest, and salt and mix until combined. Firmly press it into the pan with your hands or the bottom of a glass and bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the crust is lightly golden. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool while you make the filling.
3. Make the lemon filling. In a medium saucepan, add all of the filling ingredients and whisk well over medium heat until there are no lumps and all of the cornstarch is dissolved. Keep whisking constantly for about 5-7 minutes until it thickens into a smooth curd. Remove from the heat and let it cool for at least 15 minutes.
4. Pour the curd over the cookie base and spread it evenly with a spatula. Place the bars in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours or overnight and then slice them up, dust icing sugar over top of the bars, and enjoy!

Notes

  1. The vegan butter in the shortbread crust can be substituted for 1/2 cup solid coconut oil.
  2. If you don’t like the taste of coconut, you can leave out the dried coconut in the crust. Don’t worry, you will not taste the coconut cream in the filling.
  3. Make sure you are using coconut cream, not coconut milk, as the thick cream is needed to set the bars. If you can’t find a can of coconut cream you can do one of two things – 1. Spoon off the solid coconut from the top of a can of coconut milk – you’ll probably need 2 cans to get enough cream, and then use the remaining coconut milk in soups, curries, etc. or freeze it for later use. 2. If you want to use coconut milk, use the same amount but instead of popping the bars straight in the fridge when you pour the curd on, bake it in the oven at 375°F (191°C) for 20 minutes and then let cool for 15 minutes before placing in the fridge to chill.

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