Mango Lemon Bars With Coconut Crust

The weekend was so much fun! but here it is, Monday again.

It’s 4 am and the alarm goes off, waking my 2 sleepy kids and my husband (who has a trip to take). Looking outside, I can see a drizzle of rain. My shoulders slump.

What could possibly help my Monday morning blues?

And then, I remembered:  the mango lemon bars we made yesterday! Just thinking about them made my mouth immediately pucker up with anticipation. That flaky coconut crust, the lemon zest and the vanilla bean tempted me. Oh, how they tempted.

Luckily, we had about a dozen left in the fridge from our weekend family get together, so my entire family got to kick our crappy week off with a sweet treat for breakfast. Changes your attitude right away, let me tell you. Especially the kids.

The mango lemon bar recipe below brings back images of my completely tropical life in Hawaii, growing up. Mangos, lemons and coconut have just the right amount of tartness and sweetness to make these bars a special treat any day. When I was a kid, we used to eat them on rainy days, too.

This version is simple to make and perfect for taking to people’s houses or to a school function. They have the sweet luscious taste of mangoes and the tartness of lemons, riding on a crispy-crunchy bed of toasted coconut. Yum!

They also contain nutrients and vitamin C. Yep, that’s right: I’m selling you a dessert that will protect your family from colds and flu (hehe)!

Depending on the size of your crowd, you may want to make a double batch of these. Or keep a few in the fridge, for a rainy day.

Directions

First you will need to line a square glass pan 13 x 9″” with parchment paper. Next, we will make the crust.

lemons

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 3/4 cups coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt.

Filling

  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup cubed mango
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • sprinkle of salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • parchment paper

Directions

The Crust

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Mix the crust in a medium bowl.
  3. Put the crust mixture into a baking dish.
  4. Spread the mixture mashing it down firmly into the bottom of the dish.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes until its golden.
  6. Remove and let it cool before cutting.
  7. Now turn the heat up to 350 on the oven.

The Filling

  1. Put the other items into a blender.
  2. Pulse it until its smooth.
  3. Pour the filling over the pre-baked crust.
  4. Bake 20 minutes until almost set in the center.
  5. Remove from the oven and let it cool for fifteen minutes before cutting.

Variations To Try

In the crust, you can make it with or without the coconut. Instead mix in a cup of macadamia nuts into the blender. After they are pulverized add them to the crust mixture. Another good thing to add to the crust is vanilla bean. Gently open it lengthwise with a knife. Scrape out the vanilla bean seeds. Add this to the crust as you are mixing it. It will add delicious flavor to the bars.

For variations on the filling, add some pineapple juice to the filling instead of or along with the lemon juice. It will make a sweeter bar but just as delicious. Or, in place of the lemon use oranges. Be sure to zest the orange peel to add more flavor to the dish. Orange also goes very well with the mangoes.

lemon bar on plate with dusting of sugar

When serving the mango lemon bars, they can be dusted lightly with powdered sugar. Or you can put a dollup of whipped cream or white frosting on top of each bar. This looks pretty at a buffet table. If you like, try cutting them into different sizes or lengths. They do not all have to be the same size. Or at parties cut them smaller and put a party pick in them.

The lesson here is simple: next time you are having a bad Monday, eat something sweet and tropical. The heat of the day will eventually turn cooler at night, and the sounds of family and friends enjoying your delights will makes the week all worth it. I promise you. Besides, tropical fruits are both delicious and good for you. 

Make your next Monday a Mango Lemon Bar day!