lemon coconut squares and a new series

. . .

I am a worrier. As in: I think I have a crippling anxiety-disease that is taking over my life. To be honest, worrying takes up more time in my day than anything else now, which I’m thinking can’t be normal. Actually, I’m worrying that it can’t be normal.

So, because among my worries is the fear that I’ll eventually run out of things to tell you about, I bring to you a new series: Crap Movita Worries About. This should provide years of material, and perhaps bring us a little closer together. At the very least, it should make you feel better about yourself. The first instalment in this series is: Structurally Centred Worries.

Our kitchen floor is about to collapse. 2.0 says it is not. He insists on pointing out that because he went to school for building technology, he has some expertise in the area. I’ve checked at kitchen level and at basement level, and can’t find any real proof to show 2.0, so now I’m on the hunt for some sort of floor-sag measuring tool. I’ve also been checking to see if any of my neighbours have fallen through their kitchen floors – as many of our houses were built at the same time. So far, no luck.

My bathtub is in a bathroom that wasn’t originally built with the house. It was an addition to the second floor made years before we moved in. I’m not convinced that the weight of the water and my devastatingly beautiful body were accounted for by the contractor, and I don’t want to plummet to the ground – naked – in the tub. So now I only take showers.

2.0 and I have been considering a move. We’re even thinking about building a house. But I’m going to need proof that the contractors are accounting for the weight of everything we own – including the piano and three cats – before I’ll approve any plans. Otherwise, everything we own will have to be arranged in the basement. We will need very strong, very level kitchen floors. And I would also like extra beams under the bathtub so I can finally have a nice soak after a day of worrying at work. But I’m worried that the builder won’t take my concerns seriously.

The building where I teach is very, very old. People at work say, “this building survived the Halifax Explosion – nothing’s going to take this sucker down!” But I figure if it survived the explosion, it’s more than likely that it can’t survive much more. I often teach on the second floor. I’m not sure if the weight of a dozen dancers, the piano, an accompanist and myself has been accounted for. The building wasn’t built with such use in mind, and might collapse as a result. Also, when I’m laying under a piano in the basement (post-collapse), will I be able to tell the rescue workers to check on my cats? Do rescue workers do that sort of thing? And will the mice that live at the Conservatory chew on my hair while I’m waiting to be rescued?

Now, here’s something – when I’m baking, I don’t worry. I mean, sure, I could fall through the kitchen floor, but it’s hard to think about that when you’re focused on icing consistency. So, as you head into the long weekend, I give you these squares. These lemony squares might take your mind off your worries for a little while. They are perfect for spring, and suitable for a tea party if you’re into that sort of thing. They have a light base topped with a lemony-coconut layer, which is then topped with a lemony frosting. They are light, sweet and tart all at the same time – as any lemon dessert should be. I like my lemon desserts with a little zing – but you could dial back on the lemon if you so desire. I also recommend cutting the pan into small squares. That way you’ll look very ladylike at your tea party. Even if you eat 27 of ’em.

. . .

Lemon Coconut Bars – adapted slightly from Company’s Coming 150 Delicious Squares, Jean Paré – print and bake in a structurally sound environment

Yields about 36 small squares – more or less depending desired serving size.

For base:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes

For lemony layer:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For icing:

  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar (icing sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 8 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (more or less to taste)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 9 inch square baking pan with parchment paper. I like to have the sides of the pan covered with the paper as well.

To make the base:

Combine the flour, sugar and butter in a bowl, using your fingers to rub the ingredients together until the mixture becomes mealy. Dump the mixture into the prepared pan, and press down evenly. Bake for 20 minutes.

To make the lemony layer:

Just before the base is ready to come out of the oven, prepare the middle layer. In a medium sized bowl, beat the eggs slightly. Stir in the lemon juice, sugar, flour, baking powder, coconut and salt. Spread the mixture over the base layer when it has finished baking, and then return the pan to the oven. Do not let the base cool before putting the lemon layer on – spread the lemon/coconut mixture over the base as soon as it comes out of the oven, and put back in the hot oven right away. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until set in the centre and light brown in colour. Allow to cool in pan on a wire rack completely before icing.

To make the icing:

Combine the confectioner’s sugar, butter and 4 teaspoons of the lemon juice in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on low speed. Add the next 4 teaspoons of lemon juice gradually, and then mix on medium speed until no lumps of butter or sugar remain, scraping down the sides and bottom of bowl as necessary. Spread on the cooled squares and allow to set.

Cut into small squares to serve.


  1. thekalechronicles on April 5, 2012 at 11:22 am

    I don’t know, Movita — the weight of the icing might make the squares collapse — think I’ll take mine plain, just in case…

    • movita beaucoup on April 9, 2012 at 10:16 am

      Good point. And always better to be safe than sorry… though, the icing is really good. Perhaps get rid of the base?

  2. tedsart on April 5, 2012 at 11:23 am

    I love your blog. Your bit about worrying, I resemble that. I also like to bake stuff. I’m going to try the lemoncoconut squres. keep it up.

  3. Carla Williams on April 5, 2012 at 11:26 am

    so funny!! These look gorgeous, going to have to give them a go. p.s. get onto bakery story and you won’t have time to worry about anything else!

    • movita beaucoup on April 9, 2012 at 10:17 am

      Uh, Bakery Story was one of the first apps I downloaded! I’m totally OBSESSED!

  4. emmalina73 on April 5, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Aside from the fact that these look so delicious I won’t need to wash my floor tonight due to the amount of drool cleansing it (drool is hygienic yes?), I agree that worrying about structural soundness is perfectly valid. What if, after so many years of use, this is the day it finally says “Oh whatever” and collapses. Or am I talking about myself?

    Whatevs I think you should totally build a house or (give it some thought) move into mine which has super reinforced flooring on all levels. I double checked, small appliances are surprisingly heavy.

    • movita beaucoup on April 9, 2012 at 10:20 am

      I just knew your house would be structurally sound! Genius! Perhaps we could have a wing in your house. Or add one on. Heck, we could start one of those compound things. I’ll be the leader. We’ll be worshipping icing…

  5. stirandstitch on April 5, 2012 at 11:47 am

    good old jean pare! those squares look lovely and the icing makes me want to eat one right now. i bet a lime version would be tasty, too.

  6. annewoodman on April 5, 2012 at 11:52 am

    I think worrying about unsupportive flooring is completely valid. When I’ve had insomnia and woken up at 3 a.m., I’m sure flooring registers along with: a spontaneously combusting dryer, freak tornado, collapsing roof and invisible rats or mice (nibbling my hair is now added). I’m glad that you offer sugar to soothe our worries.

    • movita beaucoup on April 9, 2012 at 10:21 am

      I hadn’t thought about freak tornados. Unlikely where I live, but still… I’ve added to the list!

  7. cardsbymo on April 5, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Movita you are a hoot! I worry about stuff a lot too but, I have developed a rating system for my worries. If it is something I can do something about I allow myself to worry and I try to find a solution. If it is something beyond my control I decide that I am a fatalist and whatever is meant to happen will happen and to hell with worrying. (Of course if you worrying is really taking up most of your day you should speak with your doctor about possible anxiety disorder.)

    • movita beaucoup on April 9, 2012 at 10:22 am

      This seems to logical for a worrier. I mean, solutions? Then what would I have to worry about? HOW WOULD I SPEND MY DAYS?

  8. cravingsofalunatic on April 5, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    I think you’re totally justified. I mean if you think it’s sinking then it must be sinking. That’s proof enough for me. You can tell 2.0 I said so. He must fix it immediately. And no one wants to plummet in their bathtub. I think that’s a universal worry. I say stick with showers and wear a bathing suit every day just in case. Cuz you just never know.

    Oh and gorgeous squares. Lemon=good, coconut=good, lemon+coconut=good squared!

    • movita beaucoup on April 9, 2012 at 10:22 am

      Just so you know, I’m going to start wearing a bathing suit 24/7.

  9. The Neighbour on April 5, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    Oh Movita, your worry is going to make me worry. If it is any consolation, our kitchen floor hasn’t plummeted into the basement, and this is AFTER there had been a fire in our kitchen and the kitchen being re-done (and NO, I didn’t start the fire, this was 20-30 years ago). If you are really concerned with a floor sagging, get some marbles or even some of 2.0s golf balls, and let them loose – if there is a low point, they will all travel there.
    I can’t speak to your 2nd floor bathtub, and after years of watching shows like Holmes on Holmes, I am slightly paranoid about contractors and sub-contractors doing their jobs correctly.
    But, if your worry about worrying is worrying you, perhaps see your family doctor, there are some wonderful drugs out there to help with that 🙂

    • movita beaucoup on April 9, 2012 at 10:25 am

      Well, though you might not feel better now, I am feeling completely reassured. I mean, if your kitchen is still holding up after a fire, then my kitchen (probably built by the same construction crew) should be just fine! I wonder what they were cooking when they started that fire? Donuts? Do you think they were deep frying DONUTS? Cuz they would be totally worth the fire risk.

      Also, Mike Holmes has caused me a great deal of stress.

  10. juanitascocina on April 5, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    I’m a worrier too.

    And thanks to this post, I’ll now be worrying about you. Geez! Thanks for that!

    You’ve sort of made up for it by offering me lemon bars. And I DO have everything to make them. I’ll let you know if the lemon bars act like Xanex and make Jen happy again after all of this extra worry I’ve got.


    I need a bloody mary.

    • movita beaucoup on April 9, 2012 at 10:26 am

      Now you’re thinking: lemon bars + Xanex + bloody mary = less worry. That’s what I was supposed to take from that, right?

  11. Amrita (Beetle's Kitchen Escapades) on April 5, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    This is like you read my mind! Not about the worrying…because sometimes I *wonder* whether I worry too little…but that’s only a fleeting thought so that’s about as much worrying that happens in my head. You know why? Because I get distracted by other things like food AND these lemon bars. I was thinking about making lemon bars tomorrow since I’ve been craving them and now you’ve saved me the trouble of looking for a recipe. Yay! And I’ll make them for the most awesome tea parties I have with my dog because that way I don’t have to share any of the goodies. Double bonus!

    • movita beaucoup on April 9, 2012 at 12:45 pm

      Uh, I’d watch out for the dog. Sometimes they force you to share…

  12. Cinnamon&Thyme on April 6, 2012 at 3:58 am

    I am so glad I found your blog. I could totally relate to your first few sentences :D. And this new section, love it.
    Speaking of the floor, sometimes I worry about ceiling too :), so you are not alone in this.

    Thank you for your recipe. And safe baking :).

    • movita beaucoup on April 9, 2012 at 10:27 am

      Aaaaaaand now I’m worried about the ceiling…

  13. Eggton on April 7, 2012 at 11:45 am

    You should totally build a house. Just think of the possibilities. You could figure out where all the good light will be and then have the contractors insert perfectly rustic tables into the light for perfect photographs. You could build your own kitchen with secret storage spaces so that 2.0 doesn’t find and eat all the stuff you make. You could also build specially-designed cat places for Ebony and Niles, PLUS a chocolate room PLUS a guest room for Scott and me, with a doggie door for T-dog. And the best part is that you could channel ALL your anxiety into why the contractors aren’t running on schedule and why it’s costing double what they said it would. Perfect!

    • movita beaucoup on April 9, 2012 at 12:48 pm

      Brilliant! I’m going to forward this information to 2.0. Since he claims he went to school for this sort of thing, I’m thinking he can design the house with these suggestions in mind. This is going to be the best house ever! (Especially the chocolate room!)

  14. shannon on April 7, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    first, i want these squares. oddly enough, i have never done a lemon/coconut thing. lemon things, yes. coconut things, yes. but not together, and now i’m excited for what could be an epic flavor success.

    second, i worry all the time about running out of things to talk about. in life, really…like at small parties, or in line when someone happens to strike up a conversation, or on the blog. somehow i doubt you’ll run out of things, but if you do, let me know. we’ll come up with something.

    in the meantime, i may be face-first in lemon coconut squares.

    • movita beaucoup on April 9, 2012 at 12:51 pm

      Actually, it has just occurred to me that if I run out of things to talk about on my blog, I’ll just talk about your blog.

      I love it when a plan comes together.

  15. Kita (@passthesushi) on April 12, 2012 at 12:43 am

    I am so excited that met you via the interwebs today. I made sure to check Kims site for her Burning Down the Kitchen today and read it top to bottom. Then I came over hear, totally related to crashing and burning on the ice to never return to it as a child (though I never got to do ballet – but I did make a killer billy goat in out non-ice version of Thee Billy Goats Gruff), read your about page, and am laughing my way through this one for countless reasons. I am positive someone would at least offer to check on the cats. 🙂 Nice meeting you. I’ll be back for seconds.

    • movita beaucoup on April 12, 2012 at 9:14 am

      Dear Kita,

      I’ve been reading your blog for ages. I am treating this comment as an invitation to be your best friend. I’m assuming that was your intent.


      • Kita (@passthesushi) on April 12, 2012 at 9:26 am

        The role of BFF is welcome and accepted, just don’t ask if we can have makeover parties and paint each others nails. So can’t fit that into the schedule right now and don’t want to get anyone’s expectations too high.
        Sorry it took me so long to stop by your blog but I am totally digging it.

  16. mellissa @ ibreatheimhungry on April 12, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Just came over from Cravings of a Lunatic and I totally love your blog! Kim was right on, you are hilarious! I can relate to the worrying about everything and ahem, I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news but I do in fact know someone who fell through their kitchen floor into the basement! You’ll be happy to know she survived with only minor injuries – though the PTSD remains. Come to think of it I may have to send her your lemon squares recipe to take the edge off… I tell my hubs all the time that it’s not paranoid if this crap actually happens! And yes, I too cannot relax in a bath due to the certainty that it WILL crash through the floor! Don’t even get me started on hotels with pools on the roof! Not happening, ever! 🙂

    • movita beaucoup on April 15, 2012 at 6:59 am

      This is… not good news. I can’t believe she fell through her kitchen floor! (That being said, I’ve got a strong argument now.)

      There’s an urban legend around Halifax that one of the buildings downtown forgot to account for the weight of the water when designing a roof-top pool. I’m figuring this happens all the time… eeps!

  17. Lynne Knowlton on April 15, 2012 at 12:06 am

    I think you are the best thing that ever happened to the blogging world. Yup. Best thing. You are REAL. You are honest. You rock out loud. I will follow you to the moon and back again, even if you run out of things to say. I will wait. I am a patient gal. I love you,little miss Movita dancer gal. {not in a stalker weird-ish way}..in a fellow blogger love kinda way. I get it. You hang in there.

    I am loving this new swing on posts too. You go girl ! Roll with it. We are all behind you, cheering you on.

    Lynne xx

    • movita beaucoup on April 15, 2012 at 7:00 am

      Aw, Lynne! I loves ya. And I loves knowing that you’ve got my back… xox

  18. spree on April 16, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    If I don’t hear from you or see a post from you in the next four days, Movita, I’ll come find you wherever you are, whatever floor you have fallen through, whatever may have landed on your dear body. And if anybody be chewing on your hair, I will bite off their tails! I promise you too that your cats will be well cared for! (even though I don’t exactly love cats, I DO love you!!)
    Xoxo (leave me a plate of those lemon bars, will you?)

    • movita beaucoup on April 17, 2012 at 9:56 am

      Okay, this makes me feel a lot better. I will leave you some lemon bars in the dining room – it seems quite structurally secure there. Sometimes the cats jump up on the table, but I’ll tell them not to lick all the icing off…

  19. movita beaucoup on June 2, 2015 at 7:27 am

    Comments on this post are now closed as it was published in April 2012. Happy baking!