I had the pleasure of meeting my friend Valerie's new baby girl a few weeks ago. It's always so fun to meet the new littles and have an excuse to spoil your friends with food and comforting treats while everyone is adjusting. I know Valerie loves key lime and coconut so making these bars was a no brainier. We can talk about these bars in a bit, first lets talk about the BABY! Beautiful Ellowyn. What a love. There are few things more perfect in life than a newborn baby, except maybe when one person can snuggle up with said baby for a good hour, it's my version of a little piece of heaven. Ellowyn is a beautiful little girl. I have pictures to prove it.
A few days prior to meeting Ellowyn my husband and I were celebrating my dad's birthday at Luce. It was a lovely dinner with my dad and Dee, the restaurant would remind anyone of a sweet trattoria you would dine at in Italy. While we were eating, there was a couple with their baby (I'm guessing 3 months old), having dinner with their friends. Each person was taking turns holding the baby while the others ate and drank wine. It was such a sweet moment to watch, it looked so effortless and easy. While watching them I started to think back about being a new mom and how there were days that were not so effortless and sometimes hard but in reality it was really just new, different and adjusting to motherhood, which included way more multitasking. Now that I have two boys, seven and five my perspective of caring for a baby has changed dramatically. Right now it's life in the fast lane with these guys and just another new set of multitasking to manage. Did I remember that overdue library book, do they have swimming today, when was pajama day this week, did I actually pack everything they need for soccer, did I turn in the permission slip for the filed trip? Hmmmm? Feeding, snuggling, nurturing a newborn seems like a piece of cake (minus the lack of sleep)! It really is true what they say about hindsight. Regardless, being a mom is one of the best things I could have done in life and gaining new perspectives through my children is really a blessing.
Ok, I digress. These key lime coconut bars with a shortbread crust are really something else. I'm going to let the photos speak for themselves and hopefully you can make a batch of these and let me know how much you love them.
Key Lime Coconut Bars
Adapted from Martha Stewart
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting tops
6 large egg yolks
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
2 cans (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
4 teaspoons grated key lime zest, plus more for garnish
1 cup key lime juice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread coconut on a rimmed baking sheet, and toast until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes, tossing every 2 minutes to ensure even browning. Remove from oven; transfer to a plate to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and sugar, and add half the toasted coconut. Using two knives or a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour-coconut mixture until resembles coarse meal. Pat mixture into a 9-by-13 inch pan, and bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, beat together egg yolks and condensed milk with a whisk until thick. Gradually beat in lime zest and juice. Pour into cooled crust, sprinkle with remaining toasted coconut, and bake until just hot 8-10 minutes. Cool completely, then chill until ready to serve. Cut into any shape and size you like. Before serving, sprinkle with confectioners' sugar, and garnish with lime zest, if desired.