Toasted coconut-cream cheese bars
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup (or more if desired) shredded coconut (not toasted)
½ ts sea salt
1 large egg
1 ts pure vanilla extract
Cream cheese filling
8 ounces cream cheese, room temp
1 large egg yolk
½ cup toasted coconut
Pinch of salt
Cook notes: This bakes up very fast, so please check it at the 30 minute mark. These are very crispy bars. I’ve said that you need half the dough for the bottom and the other half for the top (crumb topping) but you may need a little more dough for the bottom than just half. It might be a nice addition to add some toasted pecans or walnuts to the cream cheese mixture.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease up a 8 or 9-inch square baking pan with butter. If you feel safer using parchment paper, then go ahead and butter up your pan then line with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl mix the cream cheese, egg yolk, toasted coconut and salt until well combined; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt.
With a pastry cutter, fork or your hands, cut up butter and mix in with the flour mixture until you have large coarse-like crumbs. No need to over work.
In a small bowl, beat the egg and vanilla extract. Add this into the flour mixture and mix until it all just comes together.
Divide dough in half. Take one half and place in pan. Wet your fingers to smooth out the dough and make sure to get all the corners.
Take the cream cheese mixture and place over the dough. Keep the cream cheese mixture at least ½ inch away from the edges; this way nothing will seep out as it bakes.
Take the other half of the dough and crumble on the top, do not pat down. Just crumble as you would a crumb cake. Take the untoasted coconut and sprinkle over top (optional but wonderful).
Bake until topping is deep golden brown; which should be about 30 - 45 minutes.
Let cool completely in pan. Run a sharp knife around edges to help loosen it up. Then using a spatula to help you lift it out, place on cutting board and finish slicing.
Should make about 10-12 small bars.