April 22, 2010

Lemon Coconut Squares for a Bake Sale {Webisode #21}

What’s Going on Today: Finalizing things with the movers, taking advantage of last few days in New York!
Naptime Goals: Make Lemon Coconut Squares for picnic in Central Park tomorrow.
Tonight’s Menu: Leftover Roast Chicken, Green Beans with Walnuts, Lemon Coconut Squares for dessert (we don’t have to take the whole batch to our picnic, after all…)
Parenting Lesson of the Day: Don’t pack the toys ’til last.

I am trying to take advantage of everything New York has to offer over the next few days and tomorrow we are doing a picnic with friends in the park. We are all bringing homemade food to enjoy – kind of like a Central Park Potluck. It will be a really fun celebration for all of us. Though the kids will be running riot the parents will feast and I am going to do my best to contribute by making my favorite spring treat for potlucks or bake sales, Lemon Coconut Squares.

With leftovers in the fridge tonight this is a great day for baking. I am also baking these in honor of Big Girls, Small Kitchen and their Virtual Bake Sale. I love collaborating with Cara and Phoebe and when they wrote to ask for my participation in this event I jumped at the opportunity.

Big Girls, Small Kitchen will partner with Baking For Good, an online mail order gifting service for sweet treats that donates 15% of every purchase to a cause of the customer’s choosing. Big Girls, Small Kitchen will develop a cookie to be sold on the Baking For Good site and the confection will be available exclusively from April 19th – May 9th (Mother’s Day). BGSK will sponsor the Bake Sale event as a means of raising awareness for The Valerie Fund, an organization in the tri-state area that provides comprehensive health care for children with cancer and blood disorders. Baking for Good will offer an extra 5% donation to The Valerie Fund when people purchase the BGSK treat, even if another charity is selected as the primary recipient of the donation.

I can think of no better way to celebrate spring then by supporting a charity that helps families with cancer. I also can think of no better treat to share with you right now then these squares, they simply scream spring in every way and would be a surefire hit at any bake sale this season. Unlike my other favorite lemon bars, these are more like coconut squares baked on top of a shortbread crust with a lemon glaze. The bright citrus and coconut flavors are light and refreshing with a great balance of tart and sweet. Furthermore, they are easy to bake during naptime, as you’ll see. After they’ve baked I let them rest overnight (sneaking the occasional nibble here and there) and cut them the next morning for our picnic. Like a lot of desserts involving fruit I find that these squares are most delicious after they’ve been able to sit overnight. The flavor ripens and is more vibrant the next day.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do. To learn more about the Valerie Fund please visit this website and thanks again for your participation in this great cause.


Lemon Coconut Squares

adapted from an old recipe from my Mom



1 ½ c. all-purpose flour, sifted
½ c. brown sugar
½ c. unsalted butter, room temperature


1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ c. sweetened, shredded coconut
2 T. flour
½ t. baking soda
¼ t. Kosher salt
½ t. vanilla


1 c. confectioners’ sugar
1 T. unsalted butter, melted

Juice of 1 lemon


1. Preheat oven to 275ºF. Butter and flour a 9×13 baking dish and set aside.
2. In a bowl mix the butter, flour and brown sugar. Using clean hands, pinch it together until a dough forms. Press the dough into the bottom of the 9×13 baking dish and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned.
3. While the crust is baking, make the filling. In a large mixing bowl combine the lightly beaten eggs, brown sugar, coconut, flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla. Using a wooden spoon, combine all of the ingredients until everything is completely incorporated.
4. When crust has finished baking, remove it from the oven and all it to cool for 10 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 350ºF.
5. Once the oven has hit 350º spread the mixture on top of the crust and spread it smooth with a wooden spoon. Bake it for 22-25 minutes, or until the coconut is golden brown and the top is set.
6. While the coconut is baking, make the glaze. In a small mixing bowl whisk together the melted butter, confectioners sugar and lemon juice so that is completely smooth.
7. When the squares have finished baking remove them from the oven and drizzle them evenly with the glaze. The glaze will sink into the squares – that is alright.
8. Allow squares to cool for 1 hour on a wire rack. Then cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours until they are set. Cut into 2″ squares and serve.

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

These are a fantastic summer dessert for selling at a bake sale, serving at a picnic, on a buffet or taking to a new parent. They last for a few days stored in a sealed container and are a nice change from the regular lemon square.

Naptime Stopwatch

Preparing this batter takes about 15 minutes.

Naptime Reviews

My family loves all things lemon, so these were a hit. Also, the Moms at the picnic loved them as well.