This past weekend was absolutely gorgeous. We are talking walk in the park, sundress, and bar-b-q beautiful. And to top it off we had the perfect summer-friendly festivities to help us celebrate.
A dear friend of ours graduated law school (Congrats!!!) and another friend celebrated his birthday. Naturally, both of them threw a bar-b-q to celebrate, because... why not?
Anyways, the warm weather and the barbecues put me in the mood for something sweet, light and refreshing. I saw TexanErin's recipe for Paleo Lemon Squares on Pinterest and got inspired to take a stab at them. This was my first go at lemon bars... Ever... and I think they turned out quite nicely! I love Erin's idea to use desiccated coconut instead of powdered sugar on top! I updated the recipe a bit to exclude all eggs. I used honey and dates instead of maple syrup, and a mixture of cashews, coconut cream and turmeric instead of egg. The turmeric gives a nice yellow color and doesn't distort the flavor. It is also super good for you! Double Win. So these become a vegan, dairy free, grain fee, refined sugar free version of the classical dessert. The cashews in the filling make them taste somewhat like little mini-lemon cheesecakes. Yum!!
They were a hit at the party so I hope you like them, too! I think they will be a perfect accompaniment to the upcoming Memorial day festivities!
How about you? What desserts do you like to make to bring to a bar-b-q? And what are you excited about making for this Memorial Day weekend?
Enjoy and happy Summer!!
- almond meal - should be coarsely ground, 1 cup
- hazelnut flour, 1/4 cup (can absolutely sub with almond flour if you don't have hazelnut)
- coconut flakes, 1/2 cup
- coconut oil, 1/4 cup
- honey, 1 tbsp
- cashews, soaked, 1 cup
- dates, soaked, 6
- water reserved from dates, 1/4 cup
- meyer lemons, whole, 2
- lemon juice, fresh squeezed, 3/4 cup
- tapioca starch, 1 tbsp
- lemon essential oils, 3 drops
- turmeric, 1/2 tsp
- ginger powder, 1 dash
- coconut cream, 1/4 cup
- desiccated coconut, ~ 2tbsp
- food processor
- pan 9x13
- mix all dry ingredients together
- blend the softened coconut oil and the honey together until well combined. make sure not to melt the coconut oil. (picture below)
- blend all ingredients together and press evenly into a 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Then remove from oven and set aside
- de-seed the meyer lemons and quarter
- mix all ingredients (including the 2 full meyer lemons, skin and all) in the food processor until combined. Blend until there is a smooth creamy consistency, about 5-7 minute in my food processor
Put it all together:
- pour the filling onto the pre-baked crust and spread evenly.
- bake at 350 for 25-27 minutes or until set in the middle
- remove and cool completely
- lightly sprinkle the desiccated coconut on top and place in fridge until ready to enjoy
- slice into squares
- serve and enjoy!
This is the desired consistency of the coconut oil after you mix in the honey. It should blend well but not be melted
Some Notes and Tips:
- the coconut cream is the top part of the can after a can separates. It is thick and creamy and perfect for these types of desserts.
- turmeric is super good for you and super yellow! If you want a milder color, just tone down the amount of turmeric. I think you would be fine adding 1/2 the amount I used here
- the cashews and dates should be pre-soaked. The cashews take about 4 hours and the dates about 2 hours. Both can soak overnight as well. Just put the desired amount in water and set out. This makes both ingredients creamier when you throw them in the food processor
- i used primarily Meyer lemons for the juice, but mixed in regular lemons as well. You could use any type of lemon as long as it is fresh juice 🙂