November 30, 2011

Coconut Lime Bars

coconut lime bars

I think you’ve heard me confess in some other post that I am not a big chocolate lover. Yeah, I said it!  I like chocolate, I just don’t LOOOVE it like I love desserts starring coconut, citrus, nuts, cinnamon, or fruit. When Christmas rolls around, I have a bunch of chocolate related gifts from people and what do I do with them? I pass them off to my husband, who happily devours anything sweet in nature.

coconut lime bars

If you were to give me any type of homemade treat for Christmas, I’d happily enjoy a little package of these Coconut Lime Bars. Let me tell you why! Imagine two outrageously chewy cookies (one coconut & one macadamia nut lime) placed on top of each other & smooshed together in bar form. That’s what these bars taste like. The bite is AMAZING and that crunch from the macadamia nut? I die.

coconut lime bars

So when you’re thinking of homemade gifts, consider your friends (like me!) who don’t go gaga for chocolate. These will certainly do the trick! Besides, your bars will stand out in a crowd and you know how much we want that 😉

And we’re off!

Gather ingredients!

coconut lime bars

Chop nuts!

coconut lime bars

Zest the lime. Smells good, right?

coconut lime bars

Mix egg with sugars! We’re making the bottom layer BTW.

coconut lime bars

Add the nuts, lime zest and some of the flour into the egg/sugar mixture.

coconut lime bars

Put the batter in the bottom of a lined/lubed baking pan and BAKE!

coconut lime bars

While that bakes we work on the top layer. COCONUT TIME! Eggs, sugar & vanilla.

coconut lime bars

Meet flour & coconut. Reserve some coconut.

coconut lime bars

When the bottom layer is done baking, plop coconut mixture on top. Let it sit for a minute. It’s easier to spread when it melts a little.

coconut lime bars

Sprinkle the reserved coconut on top. NOW BAKE!

coconut lime bars

Lookie here!

coconut lime bars

Let it cool….this is the hardest part! And then cut up into little bars.

coconut lime bars

No one wants an edge piece…guess I’ll just eat them all.

coconut lime bars

Oh! And here’s how I packaged mine.

coconut lime bars

Labels & Stickers from Small Object & waxed paper bags I found at Whole Foods.

I cut a little bit of decorative paper out and stapled it to the edge of the sealed bag. Done!

Coconut Lime Bars

Makes 24

(recipe slightly adapted from Everyday Food Magazine)

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for baking pan
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated lime zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 package (7oz.) sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 375F. Butter a 9 inch square baking pan and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2 inch over hang on two sides. In a large bowl, whisk butter, brown sugar, and 1/3 cup granulated sugar. Add 1 egg; whisk until smooth. Stir in 1 cup flour, salt, nuts and lime zest. Spread batter in pan and bake until top is set and very lightly golden, 15 to 18 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together 2/3 cup granulated sugar, 2 eggs and vanilla. Reserve 1/2 cup coconut; stir remaining coconut and 1 cup flour into egg mixture. Gently spread over base; top with reserved coconut. Bake until golden and toothpick inserted comes out with moist crumbs attached, 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Using parchment, life cake from pan and cut into 24 bars. Store in an air tight container, up to 1 week.

  • Kathryn

    I think it’s definitely possible to overdose on chocolate at this time of year even if you do really love it so I can imagine people will go crazy for the clean, fresh taste of these bars.

  • At Anna's kitchen table

    These sound and look so good, I have ‘starred’ them so that I can find the recipe easily on google reader! I love macadamia nuts.

  • Katrina

    I love these two characters in body lotion too! So nice 🙂

  • Kellie @ Blackboard Kitchen

    The bars look so good, but I think my favorite is the packaging. Love the idea to do decorative paper stapled over the fold!

  • Heather (Heather's Dish)

    it’s so nice to hear someone else isn’t a huge chocolate lover! i mean, i like it and nothing beats a really great piece of chocolate sometimes, but it’s not my fave. give me something citrusy though and i’m all in!

  • Vanessa

    Ooohmygooooodnesss… I think I just figured out what I’m making for my husbands work party, my work party & my roller derby X-mas party! GOOD TIMES!!!

  • beckiann

    i share your feelings about chocolate, well and citrus and coconut as well. these look sooo good!

  • Sasha (Global Table Adventure)

    My mom, ever the coconut fan, would adore these. And, since we’re spending our first Christmas together since I don’t know when, I might suggest we make them 🙂

  • jen @ the baked life

    yes! I love these! The lime brings a whole new level to Christmas cookies.

  • cindy

    it’s a like an all-cookie-sandwich…and I love coconut and macadamias. I love those wax paper bags, super sweet!

  • Nicola @ unhip squirrel

    Oh my gosh… another person like me. I don’t like chocolate desserts either. I find them to be way too rich. I’ll eat a good quality chocolate bar (milk, not dark) but MAN… keep me away from chocolate cakes, in particular the ones made with real chocolate and not cocoa. Blech!

    Also… I made 3 batches of coconut lime bars and all three of them failed (one of them came from my mark bittman cookbook, one of them was my own invention and one was from somewhere on the internet). I think I’ll have a fourth go.

  • Heidi @ Food Doodles

    Those look in.cred.ible! I love putting macadamia nuts in baking too, the crunch is amazing. I like nuts, but those things are crazy good. + coconut(and lime! my favorite citrus to bake with) has to be the best combo ever. I’m saving this to try, especially since my hubby doesn’t like chocolate at all, and I tend to get sick of it this time of year after 1359275 chocolate cookies.

  • Redhead in the Kitchen

    Ooh! These are perfect for our cookie exchange I am planning at work. I have a coworker who is allergic to chocolate. And although she is not being very pleasant today, I will try not to slip her any chocolate by making these babies. 😉

  • Evan

    Oh my gosh. Coconut and lime is one of my favorite combinations, so naturally, I’m going to have to make these bars.

    ps. I also made the Pumpkin Cream Pie that you posted a while back, and it was FANTASTIC. I wish my photos weren’t so terrible, otherwise I’d post it…but it was such a special dessert.

  • Jessica @ The Desert Abode

    Making these! 🙂

    What a fresh alternative amidst the sea of heavy holiday foods. And I agree with you about chocolate–it’s good, but I’d rather have one of these.

  • brooke

    I’ve never met another female non-chocolate lover! Everyone thinks I’m nuts cause I don’t like chocolate (more like I’m very particular about the chocolate things I will eat).
    These look so good!

  • Cortnie

    I LOVE coconut!! And these look divine – I’ll take an edge piece!


  • kickpleat

    These look amazing and I totally would choose these over brownies any day.

  • Jessica @ How Sweet

    how did you know i adore coconut and lime? i want one of these with a cocktail (or three).

  • Sara

    Oh! My mouth is watering. I know it’s just in my head, but I’ve convinced myself (because of the coconut and lime) that these are lighter than all the heavy treats we’ve been shoveling down! And that toasted coconut. . . . I have no words. . . .

  • Vanessa

    These look amazing! I just happen to have coconut and lime in my house. Hmmmmm.. I haven’t even thought about holiday baking yet ughhh.

  • Jen

    Lovely, as always. PS–I saw on Twitter recently that you are into fancy fonts. Where do you get them from? Thanks in advance!

  • marci

    wow…these look gorgeous! love the tropical mood you are in. Here on the East Coast it’s like pumpkins, cranberries and corn…oh my! I made something like this once where I took a traditional magic bar (7 layer bar) recipe but used lime curd on top of the sweetened condensed milk, then did the white chips and coconut. I think I made ’em for Easter (Eatster). 🙂 Especially love your photo of the lime zest. 😀

  • Julie @BananasForBourbon

    YES! Those side-bits look the best – where the coconut topping has oozed and baked down the sides? Oh yeah. Hardcore. Nothing says Christmas like tropical flavors! Ha! 😉

  • Jessica

    Any tips on how to make this vegan friendly? I LOVE coconut and citrus flavours but would have to work around the eggs (usually eggs are replaced with vegetable oil) but in this case I’m doubtful if that would work…suggestions from the pro?

  • liz

    I have searched high and low today for macadamia nuts and have yet to find any in my dumb small city!! What is your suggestion for the nuts? I want to make these asap!

  • Mags@Thefullwoman.com

    Ugh Tracy! Get out of my head! This is exactly the kind of recipe I was looking for; delicious buttery baked comfort with an unexpected tropical twist! The perfect stand out recipe in the middle of the cinnamon season.

  • Helen Jane

    Goes on my “possible favors for our holiday cocktail party list.”

    Holy moly, lady, they look spectacular!

  • Iman

    Im not a fan of macadamia nuts, do you recommend using another type of nut?
    By the way lime makes the world go round 😀

  • Heather

    These look insanely good.

  • Leah

    I am a massive coconut fan – must make these soon! I love the idea of giving these as a gift – your packaging is perfect!

  • Heather

    I cannot wait to make these! Love coconut, love lime, and also am not a huge chocolate fan.

  • christina d

    Thanks Tracy! I can’t wait to make these for my food swaps this month. They are traditional “cookie” swaps this month and this will KILL IT! Thank you & Happy Holidays!

  • Lindsay @ The Live-In Kitchen

    These look amazing! Do you know if they freeze well? I’m the only one in my house who likes coconut and I definitely don’t need a whole pan tempting me to eat them before its been too long.

  • karen

    Can’t wait to try these! I am not a huge fan of chocolate (and honestly thought maybe I was the only woman in the world who wasn’t until now…). Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Aubrey

    I am so going to try this for one of my secret santa gifts at work! Although – and this question is because I am kinda cheap – can you do this without the nuts? I don’t have any on hand…..but I don’t know if that would majorly affect the bars.

    • Tracy

      I think the texture might be thrown off a bit. It might be super duper chewy if you don’t put the nuts in. I think the nuts add some structure to the bottom layer too.

  • laura k

    These look lovely. Lately I’ve been contemplating some orange cranberry coconut cookies, and it sounds like they might be right up your alley. I can send you some, if you’d like.

  • Samantha Seneviratne

    Hi Tracy,
    I’m a food editor at Everyday Food. Thanks so much for making my Coconut Lime Bars! I’m so glad you liked them.

    Your pictures are really beautiful and I love that packaging. Excellent idea.

    Happy baking!


    • Tracy


      Wow! Thank you for stopping by and THANK YOU for such a FANTASTIC recipe. It’ rocks!

      Happy baking to you too!



  • Jillian

    I made these last night (no effort AT ALL!!) with no nuts and I added a squeeze of lime juice to the filling and they were AWESOME!! Yay Tracy!

  • Cookie and Kate

    Ooh Tracy, I am SO sold on these coconut lime bars. They just moved up to the tippity top of my “must try” recipe list!

  • Michelle

    i’m a little disappointed with these. cooked the base until lightly golden, but when i added the topping it collapsed it some, so i ended up with lots of topping in the middle. then they took forever to bake as the middle wouldn’t cook.

    • Tracy

      Oh no! I’m sorry that happened to you! I noticed that the topping was spreading the base a little so I let it sit and then spread it evenly throughout the top.
      Did it taste good?
      If you liked it, you might want to let the topping sit on the hot base (like in the picture I showed) and then spread it more evenly.

  • Lynn

    I noticed when you list the recipe you have LEMON zest…down below it says lime….just to let you know….can’t wait to try these out….

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  • sue

    Hi Tracy!

    These look wonderful! What size baking pan did you use? 9×13 or a square 8×8?

    Can’t wait to bake these!!!

  • Jane

    It would’ve been nice to know that the butter for the crust should be melted, not just chunked in there. My crust is in the oven now and I hope it comes out right. I checked the original recipe once I thought the consistency of the batter was odd.

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    My three favorite things in the whole world! Can’t wait to try!! Thx

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  • Kayleigh


    Long time lurker of yours, this looks delicious, glad it’s not just me who is not keen on chocolate and who foists it on to the hubby!

    You’ve probably been asked before, but how long do these last before they need to be eaten up?

    I’m wanting to make a batch for Christmas and trying to work out a schedule!

    Many thanks in advance!


  • Preeti

    Hi Tracy! can i use fresh coconut for this recipe? do i need to add sugar? What do you think?

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