Perfect Lemon & Coconut Bars

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I am sorry. I know it’s only Monday. And you are probably at work, trying to focus on numbers, stats, calculations and other important things. And here we come stealing your attention with the most delicious lemon bar recipe ever. So if I were you I would probably stop reading now. I mean it, stop now. Before I tell you that they are gluten free. And dairy free. And very quick and easy to make. Did I mention they are crazy delicious? Sorry. Get back to work now.

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The thing is that we have always loved lemon pie and lemon bars, but when you try to make them healthier – without the flour, sugar and butter – you often loose all that is good and gooey about them. So instead of making a traditional gluten free pie crust, we did something else this time. Our crust is more similar to a coconut macaroon, sweetened with maple syrup and then flattened out and pre baked. It’s perfect – sticky, sweet and gooey. And then topped with a rather tart lemon filling and powdered with … no, not powdered sugar, but coconut flour. Yep, it looks strikingly similar! But if you prefer it sweeter you can of course use powdered sugar instead.

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Lemon-bar-traditionalists might be concerned with how we tweaked this recipe. Claiming that they won’t taste like original lemon bars anymore. But they do, they really do. Sure, they have their own twist. But they still have everything that is good about a lemon bar. They are in fact better.

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A fair amount of people have been asking us about the backgrounds that we use in our photos. I took a behind the scenes photo of some them on my instagram. We often use a few different matte stone boards, wooden planks or old metal sheets. For your information, the huge stone board that we used in these photos is not my friend anymore. I was going to put it back after we used it and dropped it on my big toe! It broke. Ouch. Well, at least we got some good photos …

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Lemon & Coconut Bars
Makes around 40 pieces

This is a quite big batch, you could easily half the recipe. Also, the filling is a little more tart than standard. We think it is perfect, but if you know that you are sensitive either add more maple syrup or use a little less lemon juice.

Crust
5 tbsp (75 g) coconut oil
3 tbsp maple syrup
2 cups/480 ml (200 g) shredded coconut (unsweetened)

1 cup/240 ml (100 g) almond flour
1 pinch sea salt
2 egg whites (save the yolks for the lemon curd)

Filling
3 eggs + 2 egg yolks
6 tbsp maple syrup
1/3 cup / 80 ml lemon juice + 1 tbsp zest (around 2 lemons)
1/3 cup / 80 ml  (35 g) almond flour

Dust with 3 tbsp coconut flour (or powdered sugar)

Set the oven to 350°F (175°C). Melt coconut oil in a sauce pan on low/medium heat. Add maple syrup, shredded coconut, almond flour and salt. Stir around until everything is combined. Remove from the heat. Crack two eggs, save the egg yolks for later and add the whites to the sauce pan while stirring. Keep stirring for about a minute. The mixture should be quite sticky now. Line a 12×8 inch (30×20 cm baking dish with baking paper and pour the coconut mixture into it. Use your hands, a spatula or the backside of a spoon to flatten it out. Press it down firmly so it becomes quite compact. Bake for 10-12 minutes and then remove it from the oven. Meanwhile, start preparing the filling.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs + the 2 egg yolks with an electric mixer until frothy. Add the rest of the ingredients. Beat for two more minutes. Pour the mixture over the baked crust in the baking dish. Bake for around 16-19 minutes or until edges are light brown and center is set. Let cool for at least 10-15 minutes before slicing up the bars. You always want to dig in immediately, but it is much easier to eat after it is set. Cut into roughly 1 x 2-inch (3 x 6 cm) rectangles. Dust with coconut flour or powdered sugar. Enjoy!

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162 Comments

  • These came out even better than I hoped! I subbed coconut flour for one cup of the shredded coconut, added a third egg white, and used a couple extra tablespoons of lemon juice. The crust was ever so slightly crumbly, so when I make again I'll keep the coconut flour to 1/2 cup or add one more egg white to crust. I also used a 9x9 pan and baked both the crust and the curd for a couple extra minutes. The thicker bar is great. Make sure you let them cool for a loooong time and maybe even refrigerate before cutting.
  • Iryna
    Just made these - they are lovely! wanted to use up the fresh coconut scrapings I had in the fridge, but was bit apprehensive that the moisture in the scrapings would tip the liquid balance, but it din't. flavour is fresh and citrusy, coconut base has a good crumb. Topping is a bit eggy for my taste, so next time will try to cut one egg out. all in all, a very good recipe - will definitely make again. Thank you for sharing!
  • diana
    Hey David and Luise, DO u think i can u use this recipe also as a Lemontarte? I did it already and loved them. Or do u think it won't work?
  • Pamela
    This recipe looks delicious! Is there though anyway I could remove/substitute the eggs?
  • Marina Hamam
    The lemon mix gets really líquid... Its normal? Or should I try again?
  • brigitte
    Hello! It did not work at all! although I scrupulously followed the instructions and ingredients, the crust was actually a bit thick and absorbed completly the curd..so disappointed.. it ended up in coconut bar with an after taste of lemon..and dry on the following day.. Arghhh :) I have to try again! my mouth was so watery just of the pictures!
  • Alex
    Hi! I was wondering if I could use shredded coconut I used previously to make coconut milk ? Do you think that I could replace almond flour with mixed sunflower seeds? Or maybe another flour would be better? Please answer quickly because I can't wait to make these bars.
  • Hi David! This looks scrumptious, nice and tasty recipe. People who are really concerned about their health may go for this recipe like me . Thanks for sharing with us .
  • Debbie
    Best lemon bars ever! We love them! Would be great if the recipe had a print option. I tried printing but only the whole lot of comments printed
  • Kate
    I made these, and they tasted delicious. They did however get a little brown on top and formed a bit of a 'skin'. I was able to peel it off quite easily and they looked perfect after that, and a dusting of coconut flour.
  • Sara
    Wow!I made these for a party and they were a hit! Many had gluten intolerance,lactose intolerance, and even won over my husband for the low carb content! This could possibly be the most perfect dessert recipe ever!
  • Maya
    These are delicious. The first time I made them they came out perfectly, the second time I probably put them a little too high up in the oven because they were quite brown with little bubbles on top. I used honey but might try agave next time, as well as using a little less, they are well sweet for my taste.
  • jen
    hi there! I am SO looking forward to making (and eating) these lemon bars! if I used whole wheat flour instead of almond flour, would it still use the same measurements? thanks! xx
    • Maya
      Did they come out well? I wouldn't recommend substituting wheat flour as the end result would be much drier, almond gives it a nice gooeyness.
  • These are totally scrumptious so have reblogged them!
  • Jessie
    I agree Shannon the base was the best I have tasted and will use this for other pastry where they require bases, the filling didn't work so I used lemon curd unfortunately needed to use sugar. Do you have recipe for lemon curd without the sugar. Will keep trying.
  • Robyn
    I like the crust, but I have to say the lemon part was unfortunately chewy and glutinous in texture. Not good at all! I like the idea of a healthier lemon bar, but it is nothing like the curd-like texture of more tradition recipes with butter in the filling. Perhaps they were over-cooked, although I took them out after 16 mins.
  • Sanne Oda Møller
    Vil lige gøre jer opmærksom på at der i dessert appen mangler der citronskal, der står kun saft på ingredienslisten.
  • Zozo
    Just made it, I halved the recipe and I used less maple syrup for the filling - but it was amazing, I'm gonna do that again. Thank you!
  • yao
    I tried this recipe simply because I realized I had all the ingredientes needed at home (this is to say: the recipe is so simple!), and it turned out to be a big success. Thank you! I have to admit that I had never heard of Lemon Bars (I'm Chinese, so not so familiar with western desserts), therefore I have no idea how the way they taste and look differs from the traditional ones. In fact, I think that all the lemon bars I have in the future (anywehre) will be compared to the very first one I had today from my own kitchen.
  • shannon
    These lemon bars tasted delicious - I love the tangy flavour of the filling against the the rich, coconutty base - but the recipe proportions were out. I had too much base and not enough filling, which is a shame as the balance of flavour was wrong in the end result. If I made them again, I'd double the filling.

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