What a busy few days here! Yesterday was such a special day. One of my students from my first year of teaching stopped by on his way home from college! I cannot believe I am that old! For his visit around lunch time, I made homemade pizza again (brave of me, huh? :) ) using Gina's pizza dough recipe. I couldn't let the sweet fella go home on an empty stomach now could I? I also took a dessert recipe I found a few days ago on www.dulcedough.com (The photos there were beautiful!) and put my own spin on it by adding coconut. (I've thought of some other variations, but I haven't tried them yet.) I must have been feeling mighty brave! I thought I would share the recipe with you. I like to call my version of the recipe
Creamy Lemon Coconut Bars
Ingredients: 1 lemon cake mix
1/2 c. oil
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
1/3 - 1/2 c. sugar (The original recipe only calls for 1/3 c. sugar)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest, optional (Not listed as optional in the original recipe)
2/3 c. coconut (My addition)
Mix dry cake mix, 1 egg, and oil until crumbly, reserve 1cup.
Press remaining mixture lightly into an ungreased 9 X 13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. ( Don't tell anyone you forgot to reserve 1 cup of the mixture causing you to pull a hot dish out of the oven five minutes into the baking process, quickly scoop out a cup of the mixture, re-spread the mixture, and then quickly pop it back into the oven! LOL!)
Beat cream cheese, 1 egg, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest until smooth. (I didn't use zest. I don't zest anything unless I have organic fruit. I wish I could find more organic fruits and veggies!)
Spread the cream cheese mixture over the baked layer. Lightly sprinkle a small amount of reserved mixture over the top. On top of that, sprinkle the coconut, and then sprinkle the remainder of the reserved crumb mixture over the top for the final layer.
Bake for an additional 15-18 minutes.
Cool completely before cutting into bars. Enjoy!
After talking with a family member who cannot eat lemon, I came up with a few variations. One is to use a yellow cake mix and change the lemon juice to any imitation flavor you like. Another is to use either a yellow cake mix or strawberry cake mix and in the cream cheese mixture, use mashed strawberries that have been sweetened with a little sugar. Let me know if you try one of these or any other variations before I do!
I leave you with a shot of the sky at sunset after the wonderful day. May your day be blessed!