coconut lemon bars

earlier this month i tried this recipe which was written for key limes, but changed it to use lemons instead of the limes.  this was an excellent cookie bar recipe.  the lemon bars were cool and refreshing and very easy to prepare.

for the graham cracker crust, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F and place the oven rack in the middle position.  butter or spray the sides and bottom or a 9 inch square baking pan.  toast a 1/2 cup of shredded coconut on a parchment lined baking sheet.  brown for about 7 minutes and remove from the oven.

place one cup of graham cracker crumbs in a large bowl, add the toasted coconut and 1 tablespoon brown sugar.  mix to combine.  add 1/4 cup unsalted butter melted to combine.  press the crust into the bottom and up the sides of the baking pan.  use a measuring cup to create a perfect flat crust.

bake the crust for 10 minutes or until golden brown.  remove and allow to stand until filling is prepared.
increase the oven temperature to 325 degrees F .

for the filling, mix 2 ounces cream cheese, zest of one lemon, and a pinch of salt.  add 1 can sweetened condensed milk, one egg yolk and 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice.  i used Meyer lemons and a hand held mixer.

pour the filling over the baked crust and bake in the oven until the filling is set and the edges are browned.  they will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan after the bars have cooled.  this will take about 20 to 22 minutes.  allow to cool completely about 2 hours, then cover the bars and refrigerate until totally chilled, another 2 hours.  sprinkle with additional shredded toasted coconut if desired.
top with fresh whipped cream to serve.
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