Gluten-Free Lemon Bars

Low-Carb Lemon Bars
Low-Carb Lemon Bars. Richard Jung/Getty Images
Total Time 65 min
Prep 30 min, Cook 35 min
Yield 12 squares (262 calories each)

There are two kinds of lemon bars in this world. First are the bright yellow ones that usually have a lot of lemon and a lot of sugar (as much as 3 1/2 cups of sugar for a 13 X 9-inch pan of lemon bars!). Then there are lemon bars with a lighter yellow hue, such as this one. These dessert bars have the addition of milk or cream, which mellows the bright lemon color. The milk or cream rounds out the sharpness of the lemon, requiring less sugar in the recipe while maintaining plenty of lemon flavor. 

Fresh lemon juice is much better than bottled for this recipe (and in general), and the zest of the lemon adds a lot more flavor. Plus, these lemon bars feature an almond flour crust making them gluten-free. But don't think you will feel deprived—this is a rich dessert sure to satisfy an lemon lover.

Ingredients

  • Crust
  • 1 3/4 cups almond flour (the kind without almond skins ground into it)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold, unsalted butter
  • Filling
  • 2/3 to 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 5 lemons)
  • Enough water to make a total of 1 1/4 cups liquid when added to the lemon juice 
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons lemon zest (a microplane grater works best for this)
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more for garnish if desired
  • Granulated sugar to taste
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • Dash of salt

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Prepare a 13 X 9-inch pan—either butter it very well, or line it with greased parchment paper or foil. 
  3. For the crust, put the almond flour, powdered sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the lumps are gone. Alternatively, use a bowl and whisk.
  4. Cut the cold butter into medium cubes (16 cubes is about right). Add a few at a time to the mixture, either pulsing the food processor or, if mixing by hand, using a pastry blender or two table knives. Blend until the mixture looks like a crumbly meal.
  1. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Smooth with your hand until crust is even, then press until firm.
  2. Bake until just golden brown, about 15 minutes, but start checking at 10 minutes, as once it starts to brown it goes quickly. Remove the pan, then turn the oven down to 300 F.
  3. Cool the crust at room temperature for a few minutes, and then pop it into the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes, until firm (but not completely cold).
  4. For the filling, mix all the ingredients in a blender, and pour over the crust.
  5. Bake until the filling is just set (the center should barely jiggle when you gently shake the pan). This should take about 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and cool until room temperature, then place in the refrigerator and chill completely before cutting (at least 2 hours). If you like, sprinkle additional powdered sugar over the top (sift through a sieve).

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