Orange Coconut Bars

Yum! Why are bars so delicious? I really like lemon bars but decided to use the fruits of Farm Fresh and try an orange version of the classic Lemon bar. I made them for a friend’s birthday and since it was at a wine bar we needed something portable and bite sized. I had most ingredients on hand so that made the recipe decision much more simple.
The bars are fairly straight forward, they have a pecan crust and an orange juice, zest and coconut filling. I sprinkled them with powdered sugar and they looked really pretty. They keep well in the fridge if you need to make them in advance. I used part sweetened coconut and part shaved coconut. I liked the combination. It didn’t get too sweet which was one of my worries had I used all sweetened coconut. The orange flavor was mild enough that the pecan crust came through.
Our birthday girl loved them (though she seems to enjoy my baking). I got a lot of good comments from the tasters as well and think that these will make the repeat list. The original recipe actually suggests these might be good for breakfast… I guess they are not super sweet and would probably work, but I suggest making them as an hors d’oeuvres instead.

Orange Coconut Bars
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Biggest Book of Cookies

1/2 C all purpose flour
1/4 C sugar
1/4 C butter
1/2 C finely chopped pecans

2 eggs
3/4 C sugar
2 T flour
1 1/2 tsp orange zest
3 T orange juice (about 1 1/2 juicy oranges)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 C sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 C flaked unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350˚. In the bowl of a food processor grind the nuts until finely chopped but not paste, add the 1/2 cup flour and 1/4 cup sugar and pulse a few times. Then add the butter and pulse until you get pea sized crumbs. Press into the bottom of an 8×8 inch pan. I like to line it with foil which makes it cleaner and easier to get out. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden.

To make the filling, combine sugar, eggs, juice, zest and baking powder. Pour into the baked crust and return to the oven for about 20 more minutes. The edges will be light brown the the center set. Cool in pan on a wire rack. At this point you can refrigerate the whole pan for 1 hour which will make it easy to get the bars out. Pull out the bars, peel off the foil, and cut into squares. I made tiny 1 inch squares but you can make 16 bars by cutting the pan in half and then into 8 segments. I also prefer to slice off just a small amount of the edge because it tends to brown more than the rest. Dust with powdered sugar if you like.
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