Indulge in tropical delight with these coconut lemon bar cookies! These bakery-style treats feature a thick and chewy, melt-in-your-mouth cookie base, infused with the delightful richness of buttery coconut and a zesty lemon curd filling. These cookies are an absolute must for your summer baking repertoire, guaranteed to become a delicious favorite in your kitchen!
Made with butter and cream cheese, these thick, melt-in-your-mouth cookies offer a delightful coconut essence. The luscious topping of fresh, zesty lemon curd creates a refreshing harmony of tastes that will have you coming back for more with each delightful bite. Perfect for satisfying your sweet cravings all year round!
Why you will love these coconut lemon bar cookies
- Irresistible tropical flavor. The sweet coconut essence perfectly complements the refreshing tang of the lemon curd, offering a delightful and unique tropical taste experience.
- Melt-in-your-mouth texture. These cookies, crafted with butter and cream cheese, result in a rich and thick texture that melts in your mouth with every bite. The luscious filling of fresh lemon curd adds a velvety smoothness to the cookie, enhancing the overall texture.
- Versatile treat for any occasion. Whether you're hosting a summer picnic, a holiday gathering, or simply craving a delectable treat, these coconut lemon bar cookies fit the bill. Their delightful combination of flavors and eye-catching presentation make them a show-stopping dessert that will impress family and friends on any occasion.
- Flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt: these dry ingredients provide the structure and leavening necessary for the cookies to rise and achieve their ideal texture.
- Unsalted butter: In the cookies, the addition of unsalted butter lends a tender and luxurious texture, creating a soft and delightful crumb that melts in your mouth. Meanwhile, for the lemon curd, the final touch of unsalted butter enriches the velvety-smooth curd, providing a buttery flavor that beautifully complements the zesty lemon.
- Cream cheese: cream cheese adds moisture and richness to the cookie dough, resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth texture that complements the coconut and lemon flavors.
- Sugar: the granulated sugar sweetens the cookies, balancing the flavors of lemon curd and coconut, while also providing a delightful contrast in the tangy lemon curd.
- Egg and egg yolk: the combination of whole egg and egg yolk acts as a binding agent, adding structure and moisture to the cookies. The egg yolks also act as a thickening agent for the curd, giving it a creamy and smooth consistency.
- Toasted coconut extract: Amoretti's toasted coconut extract infuses the cookies with a delightful tropical essence, intensifying the coconut flavor for a true taste of paradise.
- Lemons: The lemon zest and juice adds a bright and aromatic citrus note to the curd, enhancing its overall taste and providing a burst of lemony goodness. They bring the perfect balance of sweet and tangy flavors to the cookie, making it irresistibly refreshing.
- Make the lemon curd. In a medium saucepan, whisk together granulated sugar, egg yolks, lemon zest, and lemon juice until smooth. Heat over low-medium heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens and bubbles. Remove from heat, add cubed butter, and stir until combined. Strain into a bowl and discard lemon zest and egg bits.
- Mix the dry ingredients. Whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized bowl.
- Beat the wet ingredients. Beat butter and cream cheese until smooth, then add granulated sugar and beat until fluffy. Mix in egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract, and coconut extract until combined, then add dry ingredients and mix until a thick, sticky dough forms.
- Roll the dough. Scoop and coat the cookie dough in granulated sugar, then powdered sugar, and place on the baking sheet. Press an indent in each cookie and fill with a heaping teaspoon of lemon curd.
- Bake. Bake for 11-13 minutes until set. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.
Cookie baking tips
- Use a kitchen scale. I cannot stress this enough - a kitchen scale is the only way to ensure accurate results. They are cheap and will make cleaning up SO much easier.
- Properly measure flour. Accurate flour measurement is crucial for achieving the right cookie consistency. Avoid packing the flour into the measuring cup; instead, spoon the flour into the cup and level it off with a flat edge (if you don't have a kitchen scale). This prevents the flour from being too densely packed, leading to a lighter and tender cookie.
- Room temperature ingredients. To ensure the best cookie texture and even baking, make sure your butter, eggs, and other dairy ingredients are at room temperature before starting the recipe. Room temperature ingredients blend more easily, resulting in a smoother dough and better incorporation of flavors.
- Use an oven thermometer. Making sure your oven is calibrated correctly and is at the right temperature is incredibly important. If your oven runs hot, the cookies may spread too much too quickly.
- Use a cookie scoop. Cookie scoops are one of my favorite kitchen tools. It makes scooping the chilled cookie dough so much easier, especially for a thick and sticky dough like this one.
- Cookie scoot. "Cookie scooting" is taking something circular (a circular cookie cutter, as an example) and gently scooting the cookies after they are removed from the oven. This makes the cookies the perfect circular shape. You can also use a mug, a glass storage container, etc.
- Don't crowd the baking sheet. Space the cookies about 3 inches apart so they have room to spread. If this means you have to bake in multiple batches, do it. It is better than having all the cookies spread into each other on the pan.
Absolutely! While homemade lemon curd adds a delightful freshness, you can use store-bought lemon curd as a convenient alternative. Just ensure to choose a high-quality brand with a flavor profile that complements the coconut butter cookies.
When stored in an airtight container, these cookies will stay fresh for up to 3-4 days at room temperature. To extend their shelf life, you can refrigerate them for up to a week or freeze them for up to three months. Make sure to bring them to room temperature before serving if chilled or frozen.
Yes, you can experiment with different extracts to customize the cookies to your taste. Almond extract would be an excellent alternative. However, using coconut extract enhances the tropical flair and perfectly complements the lemon's zesty brightness.
Absolutely! You can make the lemon curd up to 3-4 days in advance and store it in the refrigerator. Ensure you cover it with cling wrap, placing it directly onto the curd's surface to prevent a film from forming as it cools. Once it cools, transfer to an airtight container and place in the fridge.
Yes, you can freeze the unbaked cookie dough balls for later use. Simply scoop the dough, coat it in both sugars, roll it into balls, and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make the indent, then freeze the dough balls until firm. Transfer them to a zip-lock bag or an airtight container. When ready to bake, simply place the frozen dough balls on a baking sheet, fill with the curd, and bake as instructed, adding a minute or two to the baking time. This way, you can enjoy freshly baked cookies anytime!
Absolutely! These coconut butter cookies are delicious on their own, and you can certainly skip the lemon curd filling if you prefer a simpler cookie. The coconut flavor will shine through, providing a delightful tropical twist without the filling.
If your lemon curd is too runny, it might not have cooked enough to thicken properly. Make sure to cook the curd over low-medium heat and continue stirring constantly until it reaches the desired consistency. The curd should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Additionally, ensure that you strain the curd to remove any undercooked bits, which can cause the runny texture.
Overcooking the lemon curd can cause it to become too thick or gelatinous. To prevent this, be attentive and remove the curd from the heat as soon as it starts to bubble and thickens to the right consistency. If the curd becomes too thick, you can whisk in a small amount of lemon juice or warm water to loosen it up.
A strong egg taste can result from overcooking the curd or not straining it properly. To remedy this, ensure you remove the curd from the heat as soon as it thickens and strain it through a fine-mesh strainer after adding the butter to remove any cooked egg bits.
Yes, you can scale the lemon curd recipe according to your needs. If doubling or halving the recipe, make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly. A larger batch may take slightly longer to cook, while a smaller batch may cook faster. Keep a close eye on the curd's consistency to achieve the perfect texture.
Dry and crumbly cookies can result from over-mixing the dough or using too much flour. To avoid this, be sure to measure your flour accurately using a kitchen scale or the spoon-and-level method. Additionally, mix the dough until just combined to prevent overworking it, which can lead to a drier texture. You can also try adding a tablespoon or two of milk or coconut milk to the dough to add moisture.
If your cookies spread too much, it may be due to using warm or softened butter in the dough. Make sure the butter is at the correct room temperature, soft but not too warm.
Baking in grams
While I provide volume measurements for the recipes on my blog, I highly suggest baking these recipes using weight. It is the most standardized and accurate way to bake. I carefully recipe test all of my recipes using a kitchen scale, not by using cups, and therefore I cannot guarantee the success of my recipes when using volume measurements.
Other refreshing recipes you may like
- Coconut Raspberry Meringue Kiss Cookies
- Coconut Key Lime Cupcakes
- Lemon Curd Meringue Cookies
- Classic Key Lime Pie With Meringue
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Coconut Lemon Bar Cookies
- ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons lemon zest about 2 large lemons
- ¼ cup (60 grams) fresh lemon juice about 2-3 large lemons
- ¼ cup (57 grams) unsalted butter cold and cubed
- 2 ¼ cups (282 grams) all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (113 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 8 oz (226 grams) package cream cheese room temperature
- 1 ½ cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 egg room temperature
- 1 egg yolk room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon Amoretti toasted coconut extract or coconut extract
- ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (120 grams) powdered sugar
- In a medium sauce pan, combine the granulated sugar and egg yolks. Whisk them together until smooth and combined. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice and whisk until combined.
- Place the pan over the stove on low-medium heat and stir constantly while it heats up. The mixture will begin to thicken and bubble. Once it begins to bubble, it should be done. If you have a thermometer, it should be about 160F.
- Remove from the heat and add the cubed butter. Stir until the butter has completely melted and the mixture is combined.
- Strain the lemon curd into a bowl and get rid of the lemon zest. Cover it with cling wrap/tin foil that is placed directly onto the curd. This will prevent a film on the top of the lemon curd from forming. Let it cool at room temperature while making the cookies.
- Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese together on medium-high speed until smooth and no lumps remain. With the mixer on low-medium speed, stream in the granulated sugar and beat on medium-high speed until combined and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add the egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract, and coconut extract and mix on medium speed until combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until a dough forms, scraping down the bottoms and sides of the bowl as necessary. It will be thick and sticky.
- Fill a small bowl with granulated sugar and another small bowl with powdered sugar.
- Using a large cookie scoop, approximately 3 tablespoons, scoop the cookie dough and immediately place it in the granulated sugar. Toss to coat - immediately placing the scooped cookie dough into the granulated sugar will prevent the dough from sticking to your hands.
- Roll the dough into a ball with your hands and toss in the powdered sugar - coat it generously. Place on the lined baking sheet, spacing the cookies about 3 inches apart. The cookies will spread in the oven.
- Using a rounded tablespoon, press the bottom of the tablespoon into each cookie until it forms a round indent. Place a heaping teaspoon of curd into the indent. Bake the cookies for 11-13 minutes until the cookies are set and the curd is bubbling up. It will set when the cookies are cooling.
- Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Dust with additional powdered sugar if desired. Enjoy!
Tried this recipe? Make sure to rate and review and tag @sturbridgebakery on Instagram!