Lemon bars are the perfect buttery, sweet and tart dessert! Taste so sinful, you won’t believe they’re only 101 calories each!
Gooey, soft and custard-textured lemon curd bakes on top of a soft and buttery shortbread cookie crust, with HALF the amount of butter compared to most Lemon Bars recipes! Using a secret weapon I have on hand in my kitchen cupboard for these type of craving emergencies, these lemon bars are incredible!
Best Lemon Bar Recipe
Also known as lemon squares, these Lemon Bars have the perfect ratio of lemon-custard and melt-in-your-mouth cookie in every bite. Buttery, tart, sweet squares of joy, with the perfect amounts of lemon and sugar without adding too many calories, while the addition of butter AND apple sauce together creates a delicate cookie base that TASTES like a sinful dessert!
How To Make Lemon Bars
Like most of the desserts on this blog of mine, these lemon bars are so easy to make. In fact, you’re 3 easy steps away from the dessert you’ve ever made:
- Bake your cookie base — as mentioned above I use a combination of apple sauce and butter to cut down on calories. You can use all butter if you wish and leave out the apple sauce. It will not effect the end result.
- Whisk your lemon curd filling while the cookie base is in the oven.
- Pour the curd straight over the base while it’s still hot — this helps the curd cook faster in the oven without having to warm the base up again.
With the trials and errors (flat-out failures) over the years of trying to get the calories down on desserts, the one main tip I have for this recipe is do not use a granulated sweetener in place of the caster sugar in the lemon filling. The sweetener just creates a ‘layer’ of bitter-tasting sweetener granules in the middle and tastes awful when biting into them. Powdered sweetener works a lot better to cut the calories down even more if you need too, but I have to say that caster sugar (or super fine sugar) works better and melts right through the curd.
Then, bake your lemon bars until they are just set and perfectly golden!
Waiting for these to cool down is absolute TORTURE but so worth it! When cutting through them, the lemon sticks to your knife and you just know these are going to be so deliciously gooey and extremely addictive. So, it’s REALLY convenient that they’re only 101 calories. Believe me.
Dust on powdered sugar (or sweetener) over the top and be prepared for your minds to be blown into a million pieces.
Looking for more easy desserts? Try these!
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- 4 tablespoons light or reduced fat butter, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened apple sauce
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar (or powdered sweetener)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (plain flour)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch (corn flour)
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 3 extra large eggs
- 1 cup superfine or caster sugar (or powdered sweetener)*
- 1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (from 2-3 lemons)
- 2 tablespoons plain | all-purpose flour
- 2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar (or powdered sweetener)
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a 8x8-inch pan with parchment paper; set aside.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine together the butter, apple sauce, sugar (or sweetener), flour and cornstarch. Using a fork or your hands, blend ingredients together until sandy in consistency.
Pour into lined pan and press down evenly to form a base; bake for 20 minutes, or until firm and slightly golden.
While the base is baking, whisk the filling ingredients until well combined. As soon as the base comes out of the oven, give the filling one more whisk and pour the filling over the base.
Return to the oven and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, or until just set.
Allow to cool for an hour before refrigerating for about 2 hours. Dust with confectioners, powdered or icing sugar (or powdered sweetener).
Cut into 20 squares and serve.
*Do not use a granulated sweetener in place of the caster sugar in the lemon filling. The sweetener just creates a 'layer' of granules in the middle somewhere, and tastes AWFUL when biting into them. Powdered sweetener works better if you need to cut the calories down even more.
If baking in a 9-inch pan, the layers will be slightly thinner.
Nutritional information is based on the ingredients I have used.
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