A few years ago, Chris and I went to Belize. We had an incredible time and can’t wait to go back! Part of what made the trip so unforgettable was our wonderful hotel in Ambergris Caye, The Phoenix resort. To this day, it’s one of the most comfortable and beautiful hotels we’ve ever stayed at. It had huge bedrooms, a living room and an enormous, well-equipped kitchen…where upon our arrival awaited one of the greatest treats I’ve ever tasted: Coconut Lime Bars!
When I first tried them, I thought “yum! these are tasty! I’ll just have one, don’t want to spoil my appetite for dinner”. Then, before five minutes could pass and both of us were biting into our third, I thought ” Why can’t I stop eating these and I truly hope that they give these out strictly as a welcoming gift”.
But then, there they were on our way out by the register. And as we stopped to chat with the receptionist about restaurant choices for dinner, we found ourselves having another. And then another for dessert when we got home. And they were replenished the next day by housekeeping when we ran out. We ate so many Coconut Lime Bars during our week stay on the coast of Belize that I thought for sure, I was coconut lime barred out! I was…till we got home. Then I craved it as much as the soft white sand of Belize.
These Coconut Lime bars are SO delicious and WARNING: so addictive!! They’ll transport you to tropical paradise with every bite!
Before leaving the hotel, I begged the receptionist for the recipe. She brought out a scribbled note from the kitchen and I was thrilled. But after making them, I realized the ingredient amounts were a bit off. It took a few attempts, but I finally figured out the recipe. The last batch I made, Chris just smiled while picking up his second bar and said “yup…it’s them!”
I hope you create these incredible treats in your kitchen and that they make it through the night, because they taste even better the next day 🙂
The Coconut is all you need to survive on a deserted island!
I had no idea how historically important the coconut was until researching this Foodstory! Apparently, because of it’s functional versatility, the coconut played a major role in human survival and navigation, especially in the South Pacific regions. The whole nut can be used to provide basic needs such as food, shelter, building tools and even fuel. The outside portion is made of fiber, which can be spun to construct ropes, roofs for homes or other tools. The hard shell can be used as charcoal, the flesh provides calorie dense nutrition and the center is basically a portable water bottle. Plus, coconuts float, so until it’s broken open, it can be used as a floatation device. Essentially, you could build a raft made of coconut, travel to a new land on it, have food to survive and materials to build yourself a hut…all while dispersing this brilliant plant’s seed.
And that is exactly how the coconut plant made its way from the pacific / South Americas to other regions of the world. Because the nut can survive a few months and still maintain its nutritional benefits and seeding capabilities, navigators and adventurers would stock up on the fruit for their voyages, carrying the plant across oceans.
As far as origin, a recent DNA study proved that there are two very genetically distinct varieties of the coconut plant, depending whether they came from the Pacific ocean or near the Indian ocean. And then there are places, like Madagascar, that have genetic hybrids of the two.Fascinating! Another example of how fast a plant can evolve when it’s beneficial to humans.
- 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 and 3/4 cup flour
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 and 1/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut
- Zest from 3 limes
1} Preheat the oven to 375. Butter a quarter sized sheet pan or a pan that is approximately 9 x 13 inches (you can also use a half sheet pan, just double all the ingredients) Cut a piece of parchment paper slightly larger than the pan and place it in the pan, leaving a 2 inch overhang on 2 sides. It helps to fold in the corners like in the photo below.
2} Melt the butter in a microwave or in a small pan and transfer to the bowl of a standing mixer. Add the brown sugar, 1/3 cup of the white sugar and 1 egg. Blend using the paddle attachment on low speed for 1 minute. Add zest of 1 lime and 1 cup of the flour. Mix another 20 seconds or so to combine until thick enough to spread. Use a spatula to transfer dough to the prepared sheet pan. Spread as evenly as possible and bake until the crust is lightly golden 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from oven (leaving it on) and let cool slightly
3} While crust bakes, wipe the mixer bowl clean and add: 2/3 cup sugar, 2 eggs, zest of 2 limes and 2 tsp of vanilla extract. Mix on low for a minute. Add 3/4 cup flour and mix just to combine. Remove bowl from the mixer, add 2 cups shredded sweet coconut and mix with a spoon or spatula.
4} Spread the coconut mixture over the crust as evenly as possible. Sprinkle another 1/4 cup shredded coconut over the top. Bake until coconut flakes are lightly brown, about 25 minutes. Watch closely towards the end so the coconut does not burn. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack. I know it's tempting...but the bars will taste and cut better if they are completely cool!
5} Using the parchment overhang, lift the cake from the pan and cut into squares or desired size. You can anywhere from 16 to 24 bars.
And now...I dare you to only have one. Fair Cooking!
The bars will keep in an airtight container outside of the fridge for 5 to 6 days.
Instead of a mixer, you can easily use a bowl and a whisk to mix everything. Just do so vigorously.