(WTNH) - The Naptime Chef whips up a springtime treat.
Lemon Coconut Squares with Shortbread Crust
Naptime Stopwatch: 15 minutes prep time, 35 minutes bake time
Makes 2 dozen squares
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more as needed for the pan
11/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, sifted and divided, plus more as needed for the pan
11/2 cups packed light brown sugar, divided
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
11/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup confectioners' sugar
Juice of 1 medium lemon
1. Preheat the oven to 275ºF. Butter and flour a 13 x 9-inch baking dish and set aside.
2. To make the bars: In a mixing bowl, combine the butter, 11/2 cups flour, and 1/2 cup brown sugar and work together with your hands until a crumble begins to form. Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared baking pan and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned.
3. While the crust is baking, make the filling: In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, remaining 1 cup brown sugar, coconut, the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour, baking soda, vanilla, and salt. Using a wooden spoon, stir the ingredients until everything is combined.
4. When the crust has finished baking, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 350ºF.
5. Spread the coconut filling evenly over the cooled crust. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until the coconut is golden brown and the top is set.
6. While the coconut filling is baking, make the glaze: In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter, confectioners' sugar, and lemon juice until completely smooth.
7. When the bars have finished baking, remove them from the oven and drizzle the top evenly with the glaze while the bars are still warm. The glaze will sink into the squares and seem to disappear from sight. This is exactly what you want!
8. Allow the bars to cool in the pan uncovered for 1 hour, then cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 2 hours, until they are set. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve.
Make-Ahead Tips: These are ideal to make at least a few hours before you want to serve them since they need time to cool and set. Once ready they travel very well and will stay fresh for several days in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
Asparagus with Feta Vinaigrette
Naptime Stopwatch: 10 minutes cook time, 10 minutes prep time
Makes 4 servings
11/4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
2 pounds fresh asparagus
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
2 tablespoons good-quality olive oil
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
1. Fill a medium saucepan or deep sauté pan with water halfway up the sides and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add 1 teaspoon of salt to the water.
2. While the water is coming to a boil, prepare an ice bath in a large bowl and set aside.
3. Trim the asparagus by snapping off the tough bottom of each stalk where it naturally breaks when bent. Add the asparagus to the boiling water and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the asparagus is tender enough to be speared through with a fork. Drain the water and plunge the hot asparagus into the ice bath for 30 seconds. Remove the asparagus and drain on a clean kitchen towel.
4. While the asparagus is cooking, whisk together the vinegar and mustard in a small bowl, then add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper and allow the salt to dissolve. Pour the olive oil in a thin stream into the mustard mixture, whisking constantly until everything is fully emulsified. Fold the crumbled feta into the dressing with a rubber spatula and set aside. If the dressing separates a little, stir it together again before serving.
5. Place the asparagus in a serving bowl or plate and evenly drizzle with the vinaigrette; toss lightly with a spoon or fork to make sure all of the asparagus is coated. Serve immediately.
Make-Ahead Tips: The asparagus can be blanched a few hours in advance. The feta vinaigrette can also be made up to a day ahead of time. When you are ready to serve the dish, simply bring the asparagus to room temperature and bring everything together as outlined in Step 5.
Kelsey Banfield will be discussing and signing her new book, "The Naptime Chef," at the Westport J McLaughlin store located at 1026 Post Road East on Thursday, March 29 from 6-8 p.m.
Learn more at www.thenaptimechef.com
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