These coconut lemon bar cookies have a chewy & buttery coconut cookie with a rich lemon curd filling. They are incredibly flavorful, refreshing, and there is no dough chilling!
This post is sponsored by Amoretti. All opinions are my own - thank you for supporting the brands that make Sturbridge Bakery possible!
These cookies are great any time of year. The lemon & coconut flavors are perfect for the summer time. However, lemons are technically a winter citrus, making these cookies in season all throughout the year!
Why you will love these coconut lemon bar cookies
- Homemade lemon curd. Lemon curd is so easy to make at home and it's 1000x better than store-bought. I stand by this strongly.
- Great flavor. The coconut flavor from the extract, zesty lemon curd, and buttery cookie base make an amazing flavor combination.
- Year-round dessert. The lemon & coconut give off a tropical summer vibe, but lemons are a winter citrus, making this dessert in season all year round!
- No dough chilling. This recipe doesn't require any dough chilling time! They come together easy & bake for only 11-12 minutes in the oven.
- All purpose flour: the structural base of the cookie, offering a tender and soft texture.
- Cornstarch: cornstarch in cookies makes them so chewy & soft!
- Baking powder: baking powder is the leavening agent in this recipe, giving the cookies the perfect airy rise.
- Unsalted butter: makes the cookies buttery & rich with a great crumb. Unsalted butter is also used in the lemon curd, making it thicker, rich & creamy.
- Cream cheese: adds moisture & a slight tang to the cookie.
- Granulated sugar: granulated sugar sweetens the cookies and lemon curd.
- Eggs: adds to the structure & moisture of the cookies while also binding ingredients together. Egg yolks are also used as a thickening agent in the curd.
- Coconut extract: I used Amoretti's Toasted Coconut Extract for the best coconut flavor in these cookies.
- Lemons: lemon zest & juice are used for that bright & zesty lemon flavor in the curd.
See recipe card for the full list of ingredients & their quantities.
How to make coconut lemon bar cookies
- 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 & 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. Measuring flour accurately is crucial in achieving the right consistency and not drying out your cookies. If you don't have a scale, spoon the flour into a measuring cup and level it off with a knife. This prevents the flour from being too densely packed.
- Room temperature ingredients. Make sure your butter, eggs, and other dairy ingredients are at room temperature before starting. Room temperature ingredients blend more easily, resulting in a better mixed dough & 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 on your baking sheet so they have room to spread, even if this means you have to bake in multiple batches.
Absolutely! While homemade lemon curd is fresher & has better flavor, you can use store-bought lemon curd as a convenient alternative.
When stored in an airtight container, these cookies will stay fresh for up to 3-4 days at room temperature. For longer storage, refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to three months.
Feel free to experiment with different extracts & flavors to customize the cookies to your taste. Almond extract would be an excellent alternative/addition. If you don't like coconut, you can also omit the extract.
Absolutely! You can make the lemon curd up to 3-4 days in advance and store it in the refrigerator. 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.
If your lemon curd is runny, it might not have cooked enough to thicken properly. Cook the curd over low-medium heat and stir constantly until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Additionally, strain the curd to remove any undercooked bits, which can cause the runny texture.
Baking in grams
I rely on gram measurements when testing recipes because they offer the highest level of accuracy (and less cleanup!). Unlike volume measurements, which can vary, grams provide a reliable and consistent standard. I carefully test all of my recipes using this kitchen scale, therefore I cannot guarantee the outcome when using volume measurements. However, volume measurements are available in the recipe card.
Other recipes to try
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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!