No-bake lemon coconut squares

One of those ‘bet you can’t eat just one’ treats!

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love it when I taste something new-to-me that’s incredible. My typical reaction is that I cannot wait to get home and try to recreate it. The inspiration for these amazing squares came when I sampled something at a market on a recent trip to Vancouver which reminded me of something I had enjoyed in Australia a few years ago. After a little experimenting in my kitchen, I’ve come up with a recipe I’m pretty excited about. For the record, I’m calling them squares even though in Australia they’d be called slices. They’re super easy to make (three cheers for no-bake treats!) and crammed with the perfect balance of tart-sweet flavour. I am quite certain this will be my new go-to item for book club, tea parties, bake sales and potlucks. I hope you like them half as much as my husband does; he may or may not have eaten half a pan of them over the past 24 hours.

Ingredients

Base:

  • 2 1/3 cups (560 mL) graham cracker crumbs (look for gluten-free graham-style crumbs if needed)
  • 1 cup (250 mL) finely shredded (desiccated) coconut
  • grated zest from one lemon
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) salted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) sweetened condensed milk

Frosting:

  • 2 cups (500 mL) icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) room temperature salted butter
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) desiccated coconut, for topping

Method

  • Line an 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20 cm) baking pan with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, combine graham crumbs, coconut and lemon zest.
  • Add melted butter and sweetened condensed milk to the graham crumb mixture and mix thoroughly until well combined.
  • Press the crumb mixture into the prepared pan and refrigerate.
  • In another bowl, make the frosting by beating together (with an electric mixer or by hand) the icing sugar, butter and lemon juice until creamy, thick and smooth.
  • Spread the frosting over the graham crumb layer then sprinkle with the extra coconut, pressing down slightly so it sticks to the frosting.
  • Place the pan back into the fridge for one hour or longer to set completely.
  • Cut into squares or bars.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week or freeze for longer storage.
  • Wrap squares in waxed paper and tie with baker’s twine for gifting.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

28 thoughts

  1. I also tried the same lemon squares from Vancouver! How would you compare the sweetness of your recipe compared to theirs?
    Thanks for the recipe! I will be making these for the holiday!

  2. I know the lemon squares you speak of, and have tried to copy them myself (with decent success!). Going to try your version!!

  3. So freaking good! Best lemon squares I’ve ever tasted! My family can’t get enough of these and because they are so easy to make, we always have them on hand if company pops by! Everybody loves them and I have to have copies of the recipe on hand because I’ve given it out so often! Thank you!!!

  4. Thank you for this recipe! Very excited to try it out. I believe I know what lemon bars you are talking about. This company travels to the one of a kind show in Toronto and every year I buy their product and vow to try and figure it out… sounds like we are talking about the same company and I’m thrilled to have a ready made recipe to try out and adapt for my husbands allergies. Thank you thank you thank you!

  5. Omg this is crazy! I literally clicked your recipe because it looks just like “the lemon square” in Vancouver and then I read you based it off of THEM!! How crazy! Yours look identical, Hope they taste the same!! I live here in Vancouver but theirs are crazy expensive and they’re far from the suburbs! Thanks!!

  6. Just stumbled onto this. The people who own Lemon Square are friends of mine. Their squares are so good! I will make these and compare 🙂 Still gotta support my pals though!

  7. I’m excited to try your recipe! You specify salted butter in the icing. For the base, do you use salted or unsalted butter? Thanks!

    1. Great question – thanks for catching my omission. I have updated the recipe to say salted butter for the base. I tend to use that most often (omitting adding additional salt in most cases) as I find it’s what most people prefer to bake with since they typically have it on hand. Hope you enjoy the squares!

      1. Thank you, Paula! I just made them. They tasted good, but the base was totally crumbly and didn’t set. Not sure if that has happened to anyone else. Do you have any tips for me?

        1. I’m glad you liked the taste but am sorry to hear you had troubles getting the base to set. Not sure what to suggest – whenever something like that happens to me, I always suspect I have not measured as accurately as I should have. Another thought: perhaps your coconut was more dried out than is typical? That’s definitely a possibility as you are the first person out of tens of thousands who’ve engaged with this recipe to have an issue. Suggest perhaps crumbling the current squares and serving over ice cream or frozen yogurt, then buying a new package of coconut (check the expiry date in the store) and trying again!

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