Lemon Coconut Gooey Butter Bars

Ooey gooey butter bars. Say it with me. Ooey gooey butter bars. They sound ooey, gooey, good, right? Nicole of the food blog “Brown Sugar – a city girl making cooking look sexy” describes her Lemon Coconut Gooey Butter Bars recipe as “stupid good”. But there’s nothing “stupid” about this recipe. In fact, it’s genius. And delicious. And oh, so, ooey gooey! And… maybe even a little bit sexy. (Can I say that?!)

Nicole states that she got her idea from Paula Deen’s ooey gooey bars, but has added a twist: lemon and coconut. Mmm. Two of my favorites! Good job, Nicole! A different take on sweet and sour. I like it!

Lemons are a small citrus, seemingly native to Asia (although the exact origins are unknown, but lemons are thought to have first grown in northeast India, northern Burma or possibly China). Lemons first entered Europe, in southern Italy, around the first century AD but were not widely cultivated at that time. The first substantial cultivation occurred in Genoa during the 15th century and lemons were then introduced to the Americas by Christopher Columbus in 1493 (thanks, Chris!). Their juices are used for culinary and non-culinary purposes worldwide, both for cooking and cleaning. The distinctive sour taste of lemons comes from the citric acid, which is also a great cleaning aide. While there are many plants that taste or smell similar to lemons, such as certain cultivars of basil, lemon balm and lemongrass, it is important to note that these items cannot be used as a substitution in this recipe.

Coconuts are a slightly “newer” discovery, with the first historical description appearing around 545 AD. The Portuguese first found this fruit (that’s right, despite its odd appearance, the coconut is actually a fruit) in India but its origin is still the subject of debate. While there is argument for the coconut originating in the Americas, similarly there is argument for the coconut originating in the Indo-Pacific region. (Wherever they originated from, I'm glad they found their way to North America!) Coconuts, like lemons, have both culinary and non-culinary uses – nearly the entire plant (from root to fruit) can be utilized. A common, popular use is in beauty products as a moisturizer. But we aren’t using the sweetened coconut or coconut extract to rub on our bodies in this butter bar recipe! Or, at least, I’m not…

So, Nicole lays out her recipe in three easy steps: crust, filling and topping. You may be overwhelmed by the list of ingredients, but many of these are items we can usually find in our cupboards. To make it easier, her Lemon Coconut Gooey Butter Bars recipe calls for yellow cake mix. Nicole: you’re my kind of gal, making it simpler for those of us without the culinary prowess of yourself and Paula Deen! Oh, and just in case you’re tempted: I wouldn’t recommend substituting ReaLemon for a real lemon. Treat yourself. You’re worth it.

Learn MORE / Get RECIPE at Brown Sugar Mama

To help with slow website load, we have put all photos for this article here: View photo gallery.