MAKES: About a dozen squares

TIME: About 1 hour

Tangy and sweet, with a tropical twist from the coconut, this variation on gooey lemon bars is incredibly easy to prepare. Be sure not to overbake them; they’re done when the edges are firming up and the middle is still a bit soft and jiggly. Rotate the pan as they bake if they are cooking unevenly. To make a bigger batch, double the recipe and use a 9 — 13-inch pan.

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus a little for greasing the pan

13/4 cups sugar

Pinch salt

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons grated or finely minced lime zest

3 eggs

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350В°F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan.

Use an electric mixer to cream the butter with 1/4 cup of the sugar and the salt. Stir in 1 cup of the flour and the zest. This mixture will be quite dry; press it into the greased pan and bake for 20 minutes, no longer; it should just be turning golden Remove from the oven and cool slightly.

Beat together the eggs, lime juice, and remaining 11/2 cups sugar until lightened and thick. Mix in the remaining 3 tablespoons flour and the baking soda. Pour over the crust, sprinkle with the coconut, and bake until firm on the edges but still a little soft and jiggly in the middle, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into squares. Serve immediately or store, covered and refrigerated, for up to 2 days.

Variations

Lemon-Rosemary Bars. A sophisticated flavor that’s great after a rich meal: Substitute lemon juice and zest for the lime and add 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves (or lavender if you can find it). Omit the coconut. Proceed with the recipe and sprinkle with confectioners sugar before serving.

Mango Bars. Tropical and tangy; use ripe, juicy mango here: Add 1/4 cup mango pure and reduce the lime juice to 2 teaspoons. Omit or keep the shredded coconut as you prefer.

Buttermilk Bars. Creamy, mildly sour, and really simple: Substitute 1/4 cup buttermilk for the lime juice and zest. Omit the coconut.