Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Refreshing Coconut-Lime Bars...

Tangy and refreshing with a wicked good crust - those are the first words that entered my mind when I took a bite of these Coconut-Lime Bars with Hazelnut Shortbread Crust. I think we'll have some pucker-y smiles tomorrow when Jeff brings the bars in for the Weekly Wednesday Treat Day!

We roasted a full cup of intensely nutty hazelnuts until their skins began to break away from the meat of the nut and the insides were toasty brown. To ease those skins off, wrap the warm nuts in a clean towel and set them aside for a few minutes to cool, then take out some aggression by vigorously rubbing them together. Don't fret when you open the towel and find you are not left with sparkling clean hazelnut - if there are bits of skin stuck on, leave it be and just continue on. The main reason you want to do this is the skins are a touch bitter, but it is not that big of a deal.

To get the nuts small enough to incorporate into the crust, they are finely ground in a food processor. Add your sugar when you do this as it will absorb some of the oils that are released as the nuts break down and give you a buffer from turning the hazelnuts into nut butter. The rest of the crust consists simply of flour, salt and chilled cubes of butter to bring the dough together. Patted into the baking pan, this is the type of crust that needs to be baked and cooled before you top it off - be sure to note the extra time needed for this.

After stripping off the zest of quite a few limes (and most of the excess went into the freezer!), we squeezed enough of the green balls to get a whopping three-quarters of a cup worth of its precious juice. I don't use a juicer and never did get around to picking up a reamer - however, I use one tool that I already have and works pretty well for this process... a metal pair of tongs! After slicing the limes in half, I close the tongs until they are almost shut, then use it just as you would a reamer. The tip is small enough to fit right in and the tongs break down and scrape the cell walls of the limes just fine to get every last drop out without creating a big mess.

Since that juice is positively tart, don't scoff at the amount of sugar needed for the filling as its sweetness is there to persuaded the juice off its tangy ledge. Eggs are bound with the sugar, followed by the juice, a touch of flour for strength and a portion of the fresh zest to reinforce the presence of lime. Over the cooled crust, the filling was then spread on top and baked almost to the point where the filling was completely set. Almost, because we had one more addition to sprinkle on top - coconut! You want to add this during the last ten minutes as the coconut is fairly fickle and can get too dark in the blink of an eye.

Now, before you get out a fork to dig in, the bars will need to cool down to room temperature. But, they are not ready yet! The pan then needs to go into the refrigerator to chill down for the best texture. You don't want to stash the hot pan in the refrigerator though - besides raising the temperature of the fridge inside, if it goes in warm, the top will be riddled with water droplets... which doesn't make for a good treat! Chilling also gives you an edge in getting the bars cut into tidy squares. I'm sure you can already imagine how well these went over with us, but I particularity enjoyed how durable these were - the crust was substantial enough to pick 'em up to eat without worry, yet still be tender and buttery, while the filling held its own if you need to stack a few of the bars up.

12 comments:

  1. That time of the year to serve those citrus treats. I like the base, I would probably find so different fillings for it. I hope they give you gifts, once in a while, for all of these beautiful treats.

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  2. These are looking good!

    Anything with coconut or lime is a winner in my book. Both - time to try! ;)

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    // Mike

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  3. they loook so great! :D i'm planning to do them very soon!

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  4. I could sure use two of these right now with that cup of coffee you mentioned! Souns perfect!

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  5. These look great! I have a soft spot in my heart for any dish or dessert made with coconut and lime.

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  6. Dee - Thank you!

    Helene - Just the right kind of treat for a spring day!

    Mike - I love the sweet, tart combo of coconut and lime.

    Bethie - Thanks!

    Diamond - Enjoy!

    Megan - ;)

    Lisa - Thank you!

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  7. those look absolutely gorgeous . Lucky Wednesday office workers. Now you take cae of Wednesdays , does someone else in the office bring in treats any other time or is it All up to you ?? I want to work in that office. Tomorrow i am taking in applesauce cake with some carrots in it with a browned butter frosting. I had to twek it and add carrots craisins and pecans. Donna

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  8. These sound wonderful and look delicious

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  9. Anything on a shortbread crust has to be good in my book, and these look incredible! I'm bookmarking them on delicious!

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  10. Donna - sounds like your cake will be a hit!

    Katie - Thanks!

    BigSis - Hope you give them a try!

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