Better than before: Lemon squares with tiny twists to make them as delicious as any — but a bit healthier too
Tart and tasty as the classic, with tweaks that will make this updated recipe your new go-to
Maybe you never thought about making healthier lemon squares. I mean they have fruit right in them to begin with! But, fine, they often have a lot of butter and sugar too. This recipe aims to make this perennial favourite a little better than the one you knew before, letting Greek yogurt provide some of that richness and honey some of the sweetness.
Watch how it comes together here, and check out the recipe to make it at holiday baking time, for summer potlucks, or, really, any time.
Candied lemon slices and peels for garnish (Optional):
- 2 lemons
- ½ cup honey
- ¾ cup organic sugar
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tbsp lemon zest
- ½ cup coconut oil, solid
- ¼ cup honey
- ½ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup lemon zest
- ¼ cup orange juice
- ¾ cup honey
- 2 egg yolks, whisked
- 2 ½ packets gelatin powder
- 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
If preparing garnishes, make them one day in advance (they will need to dry overnight). Wash lemons. Cut one lemon in half, then slice each half into thin rounds, and the other into thin half-moon slices. Peel the remaining lemon and then julien the peel. Bring 1 cup of water to a rolling boil then add the lemon peel slivers. Remove pot from heat and let sit for 2 minutes to remove bitterness from the peel. Remove from pot with a spider or slotted spoon and transfer to a small sheet tray or plate. In another pot, bring 2 cups of water and ½ cup honey to a boil. Once boiled, reduce heat to low, add lemon pieces and simmer (do not boil) for 1 hour. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and place on wire rack to cool off and dry.
In a bowl with ½ cup organic sugar, toss lemon pieces until coated in sugar and return to rack to dry. The sugar tends to hold in moisture and clump together so add in remaining sugar as needed until all lemon pieces are coated. Let dry for 24 hrs or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Grease an 8 x 8 inch pan and line with parchment paper.
In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, salt, lemon zest and whisk until combined. Add in the coconut oil, honey and mix with a spoon or hands until small lumps form. Transfer into the prepared pan and press with fingers or small pallet knife until crust is evenly distributed and packed. Bake for 20 minutes. The crust should be golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool at room temperature.
While the crust is baking, prepare the lemon curd. To a small saucepan over medium heat, slowly whisk in lemon juice and zest, orange juice, honey and whisked egg yolks. Whisk until combined and add in gelatin packets, sprinkling lightly while whisking mixture to avoid lumps. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium and cook for 1 minute. Remove curd from heat, transfer to a medium sized bowl and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. The curd should start to thicken and set. At this point, add in the yogurt and stir until combined. Spread on top of your cooled crust and chill for 40-50 minutes in the fridge until the curd has completely set and is firm to the touch.
Remove lemon bars from baking tray, slice into squares and garnish with candied lemon slices.