Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars

I could go on and on about my love for all things lemon and lime. While I do love lemon and lime desserts, I rarely seem to make them. There are the lime cookies and lemon lavender shortbread. Oh… and the strawberry lemon muffins. Maybe I have more than I thought….

I digress. I received a recipe in my inbox for lemon bars. Now I love lemon and lime, but The Hero doesn’t (how can we seriously be married?!). And since I’ve been doing so well controlling myself for the last month, I was torn between making these bars and enjoying the tart sweetness I miss and simply imagining how wonderful it would be and save it for a girls’ night in. Of course I made them, but I decided to share them with the neighbors so that I didn’t eat the whole pan by myself.

What I love about the recipe is I can do everything in the food processor. That’s like a 457% decrease in post-baking clean up. Who doesn’t love that? In an effort to reduce the bad fat and inject some goodness back into the recipe, I swapped out some of the butter for margarine and avocado and ⅓ of the flour for ground oats. The changes were great.

Lemon Bars
adapted from The Baker Chick

For the crust:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup ground oats
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbl unsalted butter
  • 2 tbl margarine
  • 2 oz (about ¼ cup) ripe avocado

For the filling

  • 1 small-to-medium-sized lemon (about 4½ ounces, or about 3″ long)
  • 1 to 1½ cups sugar (I used 1½, but thinking about only using 1 next time )
  • 2 tbl unsalted butter
  • 2 tbl margarine
  • 2 oz (about ¼ cup) ripe avocado
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Place a rack in middle of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut two 12″ lengths of parchment paper, and trim each to fit the bottom of an 8″ square baking pan. Press the first sheet into the bottom and up the sides of your pan in one direction, then use the second sheet to line the rest of the pan, running it perpendicular to the first sheet. Lightly spray the exposed parts of parchment. Set the pan aside.

Make the crust. Blend the flour, oats, sugar, and salt together in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter, margarine and avocado and pulse until the mixture resembles crumbs.  Turn the dough crumbs into the prepared baking pan and press the dough evenly across the bottom and about ½ inch up the sides. Prick the dough all over with a fork and bake for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Should any parts bubble up, gently prick them again with a fork. Leave the oven on.

Make the filling. Cut the lemon into thin rings and discard the seeds. Toss the lemon rounds in the food processor bowl. Add the sugar and run the machine until the lemon is thoroughly puréed, about 2 minutes. Add the butter, margarine and avocado and pulse until the mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, cornstarch and salt and pulse again until the mixture is combined.

Pour the lemon mixture over the crust and bake for 30 minutes or until the filling is set, jiggles slightly and is slightly golden.

Let the pan cool completely on a wire rack or in the fridge. Run a butter knife around the outside of the parchment paper to make no sides are stuck, then gently lift the bars out of the pan and cut into squares.

Lemon Bars

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